Waivers for Immigrants who have been Convicted of a Crime

What is a section 212(c) waiver of deportation or inadmissibility for convictions before 1997?

212(c) waiver: Prior to 1996, this was the most common form of relief from deportation or inadmissibility available to legal permanent residents (LPR) who had been convicted of a crime. In 1996, Congress eliminated this form of relief and replaced it with cancellation of removal discussed below, check the Ly Lawyers crime statistics for further information

Am I eligible for a 212(c) waiver?

You may qualify for 212(c) waiver if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are an LPR and pled guilty to a crime (including an aggravated felony but not including a firearm offense) before April 24, 1996.
  • You have lived in the US for 7 years;
  • The positive factors in your life outweigh the negative ones; Note that if you served a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more for one or more aggravated felony convictions, you may be ineligible for 212(c) relief.
  • You cannot have previously been granted cancellation of removal or waiver under 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
  • You cannot be a terrorist, crewman, or exchange visitor;

Once you satisfy these requirements, the judge must decide if the positive factors in your life outweigh the negative factors before s/he can grant relief. For help assessing whether you are eligible for this form of waiver, contact our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys for a free consultation.


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What is a section 212(d) waiver of inadmissibility for nonimmigrant visa applicants?

Section § 212(d)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act waives virtually all grounds of inadmissibility for non-immigrants including health, criminal, prostitution, smuggling, and unlawful presence. The only grounds of inadmissibility not waived are certain security-related grounds related to espionage, sabotage, genocide, and Nazi Persecution.

Therefore, this waiver is available to the vast majority of inadmissible individuals. The 212(d)(3) waiver must be anchored to a nonimmigrant visa, such as a tourist, student, H-1B or L visa. This waiver is important because it includes few statutory grounds of ineligibility. It could be used to obtain admission on a nonimmigrant visa for an applicant who had previously been deported from the United States. It is within the discretion of the Attorney General to grant or deny the waiver.

For assistance with applying for your waiver, contact our immigration lawyers at JCS Immigration and Visa Services or  at (213) 738-8700.

Eligibility for a 212(d)(3) Waiver

The Board of Immigration Appeals has listed three criteria for determining whether to approve or deny a Section 212(d)(3) waiver:

  • The risk of harm to society if the applicant is admitted
  • The seriousness of the applicant’s prior immigration law, or criminal law violations, if any
  • The reasons for wishing to enter the U.S.

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