Everything You Need to Know about the I-212 Waiver

Updated on January 7, 2024

At a Glance

  • Form I-212 is an application for permission to reapply for admission into the U.S. after deportation or removal.
  • The form must be filed with the Department of Homeland Security, and approval does not guarantee admission.
  • Processing time is typically 6 to 12 months, and a $930 filing fee applies. Proof of extreme hardship may be required.

People get deported from the U.S. for all sorts of reasons. Some commit crimes or violate the immigration laws of the country, while others are unable to obey a visa’s terms. After being removed from the U.S., you will be unable to enter the country for 5, 1o, or 20 years, although some are permanently barred.

However, if you meet the U.S. visa requirements despite being barred, you can try filing the I-212 Waiver if you’re still inadmissible. What is this waiver, though? Here is a little guide to Form I-212.

What Is Form I-212?

Form I-212: Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission Into the United States After Deportation or Removal allows foreigners to get a waiver. If someone has been deported and cannot return to the U.S. for a certain period but otherwise meets all the U.S. visa requirements, they can file this form to ask for consent or permission to reapply.

Until your I-212 form has been filed and gets approval, you cannot come back to the United States. The form has to be filed with the Department of Homeland Security.

However, it is important to know that this waiver does not guarantee U.S. admission. It’s merely a way to ask for permission to apply for U.S. admission with an adjustment of status, immigrant visa, or nonimmigrant visa.

Who Needs Form I-212?

Nonimmigrants and immigrants who are inadmissible to the U.S. under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 212(a)(9)(A) or (C) can file this form. This means that you must have been either removed from the country or you decided to leave the U.S. after you were given an order of removal.

How to Fill Out Form I-212?

Form I-212: Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission Into the United States After Deportation or Removal can be filed with different departments and institutions. That being said, you can file it with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

You can choose who to file with based on your current location and your preferred method of entering the country.

The form can be downloaded for free from the USCIS platform. Here’s a breakdown of the filing process:

  1. If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen, then you will have to submit Form I-130, which is the Petition for Alien Relatives.
  2. You should wait for the petition to be approved. If you receive approval, the lawyer will then reach out to the National Visa Center (NVC). He or she will also submit some documentation.
  3. The U.S. embassy or consulate in the country of the foreign national will then be contacted by the NVC. This is in order to schedule a visa interview.
  4. For several days, the foreign national will have to go to the foreign country. There, they will have to go through an immigration exam.
  5. Once the interview is completed, a letter will be sent to the foreign national. It will tell them about USCIS Form I-212 and how to file it.
  6. Then, the foreign national will have to file the form with the chosen institution or department. Bear in mind that if you choose the USCIS, it can take between 6 and 12 months to get a decision regarding the application.
  7. In case of approval for the waiver, the foreign national has the right to reschedule a U.S. embassy/consulate interview and get their travel document.
  8. Lastly, in 1-3 months after entering the United States, the foreigner will obtain a Green Card or Permanent Resident Card.

But how exactly do you complete the I-212 form? Here are some instructions:

  1. Part 1 will focus on your personal information. This means you will have to offer your full legal name, as well as your alien registration number if you have any, your physical and mailing address, potential other names you’ve used, your place of birth, nationality or country of citizenship, gender, USCIS online account number, and other details.
  2. In part 2, you’ll have to offer details on why you are filing Form I-212, to begin with.
  3. Part 3 will be about your reasons for requesting permission to reapply.
  4. Next, part 4 comes with requests for biographic information, like your height, weight, hair color, eye color, and so on.
  5. If you are filing with CBP, Part 5 will ask for some extra information like your address and employment history among others.
  6. Part 6 will include the statement of the applicant, a declaration, certification, and your contact information and signature.
  7. Part 7 should be completed by your interpreter if you have any, while part 8 is for people who helped prepare your application.
  8. Lastly, part 9 will be meant for additional information when the space provided in other sections was not enough.

Make sure to type this form or print it in black ink. It should be clear so the authorities can read the information correctly. Make sure to offer complete and accurate answers.

Also, if you think that some questions cannot be answered in your situation, you can print or type “N/A” as long as there are no instructions that state otherwise.

Form I-212 Fees

The filing fee for Form I-212 is $930. You should know that no matter what happens with your application, you cannot get this sum back.

Form I-212 Processing Time

The processing of the application will usually take between 6 and 12 months if you file with the USCIS. After that, you can schedule another interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign country to get your visa. Then, you can go to the U.S. and get a Green Card in 1-3 months.

Form I-212 FAQ

If you still have questions regarding the I-212 waiver, here are some commonly asked ones with answers.

Why do so many I-212 waiver cases get denied?

A lot of I-212 waiver cases are denied because you must prove “extreme hardship”, which is not that easy. Basically, the INA doesn’t offer details about what qualifies as extreme hardship – this means that many applicants don’t know what they should submit as proof.

Can I apply for the I-212 Waiver, if I re-entered the U.S. after being removed/deported?

Unfortunately, you cannot return to the U.S. if you try to enter or do it after you were deported or ordered removed. Doing this will make you inadmissible permanently. If you want to apply for any relief or waiver for entering the country, you’ll have to wait at least 10 years.

Is it a guarantee that I can return to the U.S. after I obtain an I-212 Waiver?

No, it’s not. With the I-212 waiver, you’re simply asking for permission to reapply for U.S. admission. In some cases, applicants may still be inadmissible, so the waiver will not be granted.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the I-212 Waiver?

The I-212 waiver, also known as the Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal, is a legal document that allows individuals who have been deported or removed from the U.S. to apply for re-entry before the required waiting period is over.

Who needs an I-212 Waiver?

An I-212 waiver is needed by individuals who have been:

  1. Deported or removed from the U.S. and wish to return before the mandatory waiting period expires.
  2. Denied re-entry to the U.S. because of previous removals or unlawful presence.

What are the eligibility criteria for an I-212 Waiver?

Eligibility criteria include:

  1. Having been deported or removed from the U.S.
  2. Demonstrating that your admission to the U.S. would not be detrimental to the country.
  3. Meeting specific conditions based on your deportation or removal circumstances.

How do I apply for an I-212 Waiver?

To apply for an I-212 waiver, you must:

  1. Complete Form I-212.
  2. Provide supporting documents showing why you should be allowed to reapply for admission.
  3. Submit the application to the appropriate U.S. immigration office or consulate.

What factors does USCIS consider in approving an I-212 Waiver?

USCIS considers various factors, including:

  1. The reason for deportation or removal.
  2. Length of time spent in the U.S.
  3. Moral character of the applicant.
  4. Family ties within the U.S.
  5. Hardship to yourself or U.S. citizen relatives if the waiver is not granted.

Is legal representation necessary for filing an I-212 Waiver?

While legal representation is not mandatory, the process can be complex, and having an immigration attorney can increase the chances of a successful application.

How long does it take to process an I-212 Waiver?

The processing time for an I-212 waiver varies depending on the individual case and the workload of the reviewing USCIS office or consulate.

Can an I-212 Waiver be denied, and what can be done if it is?

An I-212 waiver can be denied if the applicant fails to meet the eligibility criteria or convince USCIS of their admissibility. If denied, the applicant can reapply with additional evidence or consider other legal avenues.

What is the difference between an I-212 Waiver and an I-601 Waiver?

The I-212 waiver is specifically for individuals seeking permission to reapply for admission after deportation or removal, whereas the I-601 waiver is for those who are ineligible for a visa or admission due to certain grounds of inadmissibility, like unlawful presence.

Does obtaining an I-212 Waiver guarantee re-entry into the U.S.?

No, obtaining an I-212 waiver does not guarantee re-entry into the U.S. It only gives you permission to apply for a visa or admission. The final decision depends on the outcome of your visa application or admission process.

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Final Thoughts

The I-212 Waiver can be useful for some immigrants or nonimmigrants who were barred from entering the U.S. but want to obtain a Green Card and enter the country legally. Make sure to get legal help if you want to increase your chances of getting accepted.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.