An I-212 application is an application for readmission to the United States after being legally deported, or removed. Be aware that illegal reentry after deportation or removal is a federal crime pursuant to INA 276. The penalty includes imprisonment of up to 2 years, or 10 years if the past removal was based on a conviction for 3 or more misdemeanors involving drugs, crimes against the person, or both, of a felony (other than an aggravated felony, for which the penalty can be 20 years).
Those who have opted for voluntary departure are not exempted from having to file the I-212 application for readmission. Note that foreign nationals are subjected to inadmissibility bars after being previously expelled. There is a 5-year bar for a first offender (including those subjected to an order of expedited removal), a 10-year bar for aliens ordered removed after a removal order20 years for a second or subsequent removal, and a permanent bar for removal based on conviction of an “aggravated felony.” If the bar time has passed, the I-212 is not necessary.
How do I Qualify?
Unlike the I-601 waiver, the I-212 application has no specific prerequisites, such as a qualifying relative. These waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis. The standard is discretionary, however, case law (Matter of Tin, 14 I&N Dec. 371 (RC 1974)) provides that the following factors are to be considered, where the favorable factors should outweigh the unfavorable factors:
(1) The basis for deportation
(2) Recency of deportation
(3) Length of residence in the U.S. (can only be a positive factor if residence was legal)
(4) Moral character of the applicant
(5) His respect for law and order
(6) Evidence of reformation and rehabilitation
(7) Family responsibilities of applicant
(8) Inadmissibility to the U.S. under other sections of law
(9) Hardship involved to himself and others
(10) The need for his services (employment) in the U.S.