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What Are the Requirements for Getting Form I-212 Approved in Arizona?

Getting approval for a Form I-212 application can still mean denial of a visa application, and people must apply for I-212 waivers from abroad because they cannot apply while they are in the United States. When a person is subject to deportation or removal from the United States, they will face a bar from reentering the country for a certain amount of time, and even if they apply for a visa at either a United States embassy or consulate overseas and get the visa application approved, they can still face prohibition from reentering the United States.


When Form I-212 is Required

Form I-212 is for all foreign nationals who are inadmissible under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 212(a)(9)(A) or § 212(a)(9)(C). These laws both relate to aliens who had the previous removal.

INA § 212(a)(9)(A)(i) establishes that arriving aliens, meaning any alien who was ordered to be removed under section 1225(b)(1) or at the end of proceedings under section 1229a initiated upon their arrival in the United States and who seeks admission again within five years of the date of a removal (or within 20 years when there is a second or subsequent removal or at any time in the case of an alien who receives an aggravated felony conviction) will be inadmissible. Under INA § 212(a)(9)(A)(ii), other aliens not described in clause (i) who were ordered removed under section 1229a of this title or any other legal provision, or departed the United States while a removal order was outstanding, and are seeking admission within 10 years of the date of their departure or removal (or within 20 years of this date in the case of a second or subsequent removal or at any time for aliens with aggravated felony convictions) will also be inadmissible.

INA § 212(a)(9)(C)(i) relates to aliens who were unlawfully present after previous immigration violations. In general, this includes all aliens who were unlawfully present in the United States for an aggregate period of over one year, or was ordered removed under section 1225(b)(1), section 1229a, or any other legal provision, and who entered or attempted to reenter the United States without being admitted and are now inadmissible.

Both of these statutes do have certain exceptions. INA § 212(a)(9)(A)(iii) provides that INA § 212(a)(9)(A)(i) and INA § 212(a)(9)(A)(ii) will not apply to aliens seeking admission within a period if, prior to the date of their reembarkation at some place outside the United States or attempt to gain admission from the foreign contiguous territory, the Attorney General consents to the alien’s reapplying for admission.

INA § 212(a)(9)(C)(ii) establishes that INA § 212(a)(9)(C)(i) will not apply to an alien who is seeking admission over 10 years after the date of their last departure from the United States if, prior to their reembarkation at some place outside the United States or attempt to gain readmission from a foreign contiguous territory, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security consents to their reapplying for admission. INA § 212(a)(9)(C)(iii) further provides for the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive applications of INA § 212(a)(9)(C)(i) in the cases of aliens who are Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners when there is a connection between an alien’s battering or subjection to extreme cruelty and their removal, departure from the United States, or reentry into the United States; or any attempted reentry into the United States.


I-212 Deportation and Bars to ReEntry

USCIS can order that certain foreign national who was deported or ordered removed not reapply or be readmitted to the United States for certain periods of time, which are generally as follows:

  • Five years if you were summarily excluded from the United States, meaning that upon arrival in the country, you were found ineligible for entry, and were then sent immediately back to your home country by an immigration official without an opportunity to apply for a hearing before an immigration judge through expedited removal
  • Five years if deportation proceedings against you were instituted immediately upon your arrival in the United States and you were subsequently ordered deported
  • 10 years if you faced a removal order after removal proceedings or departed while a removal order was outstanding
  • 10 years if you were in the United States unlawfully for more than one year or were ordered removed and reentered the United States without inspection or admission
  • 20 years if you were ordered removed for a second time or you were deported twice or multiple times
  • Permanent lifetime ban if you committed an aggravated felony
  • Permanent lifetime ban if you attempt to reenter the United States illegally after amassing over one year of unlawful presence after April 1, 1997, and left the United States for any reason
  • Permanent lifetime ban if you attempt to reenter the United States illegally after being ordered deported

A deportation or removal order can result in a bar from reentering the United States, but there is also another bar that is based on certain conduct and may render you inadmissible to the United States which could result in a separate reentry bar. You could be able to apply for a waiver of this type of bar by filing USCIS Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, or Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.

Achieving an I-601 or I-601A waiver will not operate as an I-212 waiver, so you still must get approval for both your I-601 or I-601A and I-212 applications to be eligible before you can even apply for a visa to enter the United States. An I-212 waiver intends to remove bars based on deportation, but the I-601 and I-601A waivers are for removing bars based on certain conduct leading to the initial deportation.

Some aliens will not be able to return to the United States during a period of inadmissibility even when they file Form I-212, Form I-601, or Form I-601A. Possible reasons could include:

  • Failure to show up for any deportation hearing
  • Claiming to be a United States citizen when an alien is not such
  • Trying to reenter the United States within 10 years of first deportation or within 20 years of a second deportation
  • Aggravated felony convictions
  • Polygamy;
  • Submission of frivolous applications for asylum
  • Renouncing United States citizenship for tax avoidance purposes


Winning an I-212 Waiver Case

An I-212 waiver will be discretionary, meaning that United States immigration authorities do not have an obligation to provide you with one, no matter how persuasive your application might be. You should still ensure your application is as persuasive as possible to have the best chance of gaining admission.

Important factors officers take into account in these cases can include the amount of time that has passed since you were deported, with the longer being the better. Commission of any criminal acts, either inside or outside the country, will also be an important factor.

Other common factors in these decisions may include:

  • When a reentry bar is based on a criminal act, whether there is now evidence of rehabilitation efforts
  • How long an alien resided in the United States and how much of that time was in legal status
  • Whether an alien has close family members currently residing in the United States
  • Whether an alien has family responsibilities in the United States
  • Whether the denial of an alien’s application will cause undue hardship to their United States citizen or permanent resident relatives, their employer, or themselves.
  • When an alien has valuable professional or vocational skills, the degree of need for such skills in the United States
  • Whether an alien demonstrates good moral character inside or outside the United States
  • Whether allowing an alien to reenter the United States would harm the safety or welfare of the nation
  • Whether an alien is inadmissible for reasons other than the reasons that an I-212 waiver could cure
  • Whether an alien will be eligible for permanent residence soon after an I-212 waiver is granted
  • An alien’s economic status, especially they appear to be in poverty and likely to rely on public assistance to survive
  • Whether an alien worked illegally while in the United States


The chances of winning an I-212 waiver case will be best when a foreign national backs up everything they say with documentary evidence. Some of the kinds of evidence a foreign national may need to provide can include:

  • Proof that they would be eligible (or would likely be eligible) for a United States visa if their I-212 application is approved
  • Notarized affidavits from credible witnesses, attesting to a foreign national’s good moral character, or to unusual hardships that the alien, their family, or their employer could face if they are not readmitted, as well as other positive and specific statements about them
  • Evidence of family members residing in the United States, including certified copies of birth and marriage certificates
  • Medical records and psychological evaluations relevant to the case
  • Evidence of any financial impact of separation from family in the United States
  • Police clearance reports showing that an alien has not committed any crimes
  • Any evidence of rehabilitation when an alien has been convicted of a crime either inside or outside the United States
  • Various employment records
  • Professional qualifications such as professional licenses
  • Tax returns
  • Media  reports on the conditions of the country where an alien and their family would have to live life if their I-212 waiver application is denied


Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Phoenix Immigration Attorney

If you or your loved one needs help filing a Form I-212 or otherwise gaining reentry into the United States, you cannot look past the importance of retaining legal counsel. Diamondback Legal is a Phoenix-based law firm that represents clients from all over Arizona and many other states in the country who need help gaining lawful admission to the United States.

Our Phoenix immigration attorney handles both family-based and employment-based immigration cases, and we know how to help people present the strongest possible cases so they are able to earn the approval they so desperately need. You can call us at (602) 755-3199 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our Phoenix immigration attorney so we can thoroughly review your case and outline all of the legal steps you can take to earn the desired result for your case.

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