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Understanding 212(c) Waivers

In cases where a lawful permanent resident has been convicted of a criminal offense in the United States, and is facing removal proceedings initiated by officers of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the alien may be eligible for discretionary relief under section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) – which was repealed in 1997 – currently covers “lawful permanent residents who pleaded guilty to a crime before April 1, 1997” (emphasis added).

An alien who has resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for a minimum of seven consecutive years can apply discretionary relief through a 212(c) waiver by filing the I-191 “Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)”.

However, before applying the alien must substantiate that he had a lawful unrelinquished domicile in the United States for at least seven years prior to filing this waiver and the nature of his or her crime must meet certain requirements. Not all crimes qualify and the area of criminal immigration law is constantly changing, so be sure to have your criminal record evaluated by an attorney first.

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Immigration law can be complicated and this article does not exhaust all the facts regarding 212(c) waivers. These issues can be extremely complex, and a single misstep could potentially lead to a deportation or other immigration penalties. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Call our law firm to consult with an immigration attorney today at: (949) 478-4936.