Waivers in Removal Proceedings

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides certain waivers of inadmissible and/or removable offenses, which essentially "forgive" a foreign national for having committed a various offense(s) that would otherwise subject them to deportation from the U.S. These waivers have certain eligibility requirements which must be met, and the "waiving" of a particular offense is generally based upon a review of the positive and negative equities present. As with all forms of relief, eligibility requirements must be met and granting of a waiver is to a great extent left to the discretion of the Immigration Judge. A foreign national facing deportation will want to hire an experienced Immigration attorney to assist them in preparing and presenting a waiver before the Immigration Court.

212(c) waiver

Former section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allowed eligible, long-standing lawful permanent residents (green card holders) of the United States to apply for a discretionary waiver by an Immigration Judge if placed in removal proceedings. This is a waiver of certain criminal offenses, including those involving moral turpitude or certain drug trafficking offenses. The 212© waiver is available even to persons convicted of an "aggravated felony" under the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, this waiver is only available to individuals whose convictions were the result of a guilty plea occurring prior to April 24, 1996.

212(h) waiver

A waiver of certain criminal grounds of inadmissibility may be available to a person in removal under Section 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This waiver applies to forgive certain criminal offenses including crimes involving moral turpitude, multiple criminal convictions, prostitution and commercial vice and an offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

212(i) waiver

A waiver of certain grounds of fraud and/or misrepresentation is available under Section 212(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This waiver may be used to cure fraudulent representations at entry (passport photo switch) and may even apply in some instances to marriage fraud.