What is a 212(c) waiver for aggravated felony, and who can benefit from it?

Answer: A 212(c) waiver is a form of relief that was historically available to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who faced deportation due to certain criminal convictions, including aggravated felonies. Although it was repealed in 1996, it still applies to specific cases based on its former provisions. Here’s an overview of the 212(c) waiver and who can benefit from it:

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Lawful Permanent Resident Status: The individual must be a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
  2. Time in the U.S.: The applicant must have maintained a lawful permanent resident status for at least seven years.
  3. Conviction Prior to Repeal: The criminal conviction must have occurred before April 24, 1996, when the waiver was repealed under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA).

Scope of the Waiver:

  • Criminal Convictions: The 212(c) waiver can be applied to waive grounds of deportability or inadmissibility related to certain criminal convictions, including aggravated felonies, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Relief from Deportation: Successfully obtaining a 212(c) waiver allows the individual to avoid deportation and remain in the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

Application Process:

  1. Filing the Application: The individual must file Form I-191, Application for Advance Permission to Return to Unrelinquished Domicile, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or present it during removal proceedings.
  2. Supporting Documentation: The application must be supported by comprehensive documentation, including proof of LPR status, evidence of residence duration, and records related to the criminal conviction.
  3. Discretionary Relief: The granting of a 212(c) waiver is discretionary, meaning the immigration judge or USCIS officer will consider various factors such as the severity of the offense, the applicant’s rehabilitation, family ties, and contributions to the community.


  • Burden of Proof: The applicant must demonstrate eligibility and present compelling reasons for why they deserve the waiver.
  • Complexity: Navigating the legal complexities of a 212(c) waiver requires a thorough understanding of immigration law and the ability to present a strong case.

Legal Assistance:

  • Importance of Legal Counsel: Given the complexity and discretionary nature of the 212(c) waiver, seeking assistance from an experienced immigration attorney is crucial. An attorney can help gather the necessary evidence, prepare the application, and represent the individual during hearings.

For a comprehensive guide on the 212(c) waiver for aggravated felonies, including detailed eligibility criteria, application steps, and real-life examples, visit this informative resource. This guide offers valuable insights to help you navigate the waiver process and understand your options. Don’t miss out on this essential information – click the link to learn more and protect your residency status!