Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal

If you have been previously deported or otherwise removed from the United States, you may be ineligible for future admission into the United States. If you are ineligible for admission, you are considered “inadmissible.” Because admissibility is a prerequisite for lawful permanent residence and many nonimmigrant classifications, you may desire to find a way to overcome your inadmissibility grounds.

This article will describe when noncitizens may use Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal, to overcome their inadmissibility grounds and obtain “consent to reapply” to the United States. Filing Form I-212 does not guarantee a future admission into the United States, but it does begin the process of you regaining the ability to be admissible.

Relevant Inadmissibility Grounds

The Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) describes a variety of circumstances that make a noncitizen inadmissible. There are two relevant inadmissibility grounds that may be excused by filing Form I-212.

  1. INA § 212(a)(9)(A) bars admission after a removal order is executed.
  2. INA § 212(a)(9)(C) bars admission after a noncitizen has re-entered unlawfully after (1) a prior order of removal or (2) accruing more than one year of unlawful presence in the United States.

If you are inadmissible under either of these grounds, you will be barred from being admitted into the United States until certain time periods and conditions are met. You will need “consent to reapply” in order to be admitted into the United States in the future. Through Form I-212, you may overcome your inadmissibility grounds and be eligible to gain lawful entry into the United States.

Form I-212 Uses

As noted above, there are two inadmissibility grounds that may be overcome by requesting consent to reapply through Form I-212.

Inadmissibility due to INA § 212(a)(9)(A): Removal Order

Form I-212 may be used if you have been physically removed from the United States, either pursuant to a removal order or while a removal order is pending. If you have been removed under these circumstances, you typically must wait a certain period of time before you can be admissible. There are three possible time bars:

  1. If you have been expeditiously removed, you must wait 5 years before seeking admission.
  2. If you have been ordered removed by an immigration judge, you must wait 10 years before seeking admission.
  3. If you have been convicted of an aggravated felony or have been ordered removed multiple times, you must wait 20 years before seeking admission.

Rather than waiting for the applicable 5, 10, or 20-year periods, you may file Form I-212. A granted Form I-212 excuses the time bar and permits you to seek admission in the United States without satisfying the requisite waiting period.

Inadmissibility due to INA § 212(a)(9)(C): Unlawful Re-entry

If you have entered the United States without inspection after an order of removal or after accumulating more than one year of unlawful presence, you will face a “permanent bar” from admission. This bar does not have an associated waiting period because it is intended to be permanent. Filing Form I-212 is the only way to overcome the permanent bar.

Certain conditions must be met before you may file Form I-212 and overcome the permanent bar. You must reside outside the United States and wait at least 10 years after your last departure from the United States before filing Form I-212. If you satisfy both of those conditions, you may use Form I-212 to request consent to reapply, effectively overcoming the otherwise permanent bar. Please note that Form I-212 does not waive the required 10 year wait period for this inadmissibility ground.

Consequences of Not Obtaining Consent to Reapply

If you fail to obtain consent to reapply before returning to the United States, you may face severe immigration consequences. These consequences include a reinstatement of your removal order, a criminal prosecution, or a permanent bar from admission.

Filing Form I-212

If you are seeking consent to re-enter the United States, you should file Form I-212 while residing outside the United States. Form I-212 should be completed and filed the appropriate immigration officials. The appropriate immigration official varies based on your specific situation and may either be U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), a United States consulate, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), or an immigration court.

If you have remained in the United States despite having been ordered to remove, you may file Form I-212 prior to departing the United States. If your Form I-212 is approved while you are still in the United States, the approval remains conditional until you have been deported or otherwise removed. Conditional approvals are also revocable.

If you are inadmissible pursuant to INA § 212(a)(9)(A) because you have been physically removed after having a removal order entered, then you do not need to file Form I-212 if your inadmissibility time period has expired. Form I-212 is only beneficial to you if you desire to seek admission to the United States while your time bar is still pending.

On the other hand, if you are inadmissible pursuant to INA § 212(a)(9)(C) because of a prior unlawful re-entry, then you must file Form I-212 because your permanent bar never expires.

Discretionary Factors Considered with Form I-212

Various factors will be considered in determining whether you should be eligible to reapply for admission.

Positive factors include:

  • Hardship to your family members or employers who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
  • Good moral character
  • Family ties in the United States
  • Criminal convictions
  • Reformation and rehabilitation
  • Previous duration of lawful presence in the United States

Negative factors include:

  • Repeated violations of immigration law
  • Bad moral character
  • Likelihood you will become a public charge
  • Fraudulent marriage to obtain an immigration benefit
  • Unauthorized employment

The relevant immigration official or judge will weigh these factors against each other to determine whether you merit a favorable exercise of their discretion.

Request a Consultation about Form I-212

Resources on Permission to Reapply After Deportation or Removal

We provide the following resources for the prospective applicant on Form I-212.

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