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Understanding 212(h) Waivers

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Understanding 212(h) Waivers

The immigration system in the United States has a number of requirements for anyone wishing to enter the country through asylum status, a work visa, or even eventually citizenship. One of the most important requirements for immigrants is that they do not have a criminal past. However, having a criminal record does not automatically bar someone from seeking the status they want. 

A 212(h) waiver is sometimes available for immigrants that would otherwise be considered inadmissible to enter the country based on a criminal conviction. If you have a criminal record and still want to enter the country, it is important to understand what these waivers are, and if you are eligible.

212(h) Waivers

If you are already in the United States but do not have legal immigration status due to a criminal history, you may be eligible for a 212(h) waiver. If you have a green card and fear losing it due to a criminal offense, a 212 (h) waiver can also help you maintain your immigration status. These waivers are available to applicants that have been convicted of certain crimes, which include the following:

  • Solicitation or prostitution
  • An offense of marijuana possession for no more than 30 grams
  • A criminal conviction for two or more crimes for which the combined sentence was at least five years
  • Crimes involving moral turpitude
  • Being involved in serious criminal activity but the prosecution granted immunity

Immigration law in the United States allows for the rejection or revocation of legal status when a person has been convicted for the above criminal offenses. However, a 212(h) waiver can help these same individuals remain in the country.

Grounds for a 212(h) Waiver

There are several grounds for obtaining a 212(h) waiver, including:

  • Battered spouse waivers: If the applicant has been subjected to extreme cruelty or battery by their spouse or parent that is a United States citizen, they can file a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petition. If that petition is approved but the applicant still faces issues due to criminal activity, they can apply for a 212(h) waiver.
  • Extreme hardship waivers: Individuals that can demonstrate that denial of entry into the country would cause extreme hardship to a family member that has citizenship, they can apply for a 212(h) waiver.
  • 15-year waivers: When a person is deemed inadmissible due to criminal activity that took place over 15 years ago, and they can show they have been rehabilitated, they may apply for a 212(h) waiver.

While a 212(h) waiver may provide a second chance for many immigrants wishing to remain in the country, the process is complex. An Illinois immigration lawyer can help you through it and give you the best chance of success.

Our Illinois Immigration Lawyers are Here to Help

If you wish to enter or remain in the country, our Chicago immigration lawyers at Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC are here to help. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys to learn more about how we can help.

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