Steps for Filing an I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for U.S. Admission

If you need to file Form I-212 to request "permission to reapply" for a visa to enter the U.S. after having been deported (removed) and thus having become "inadmissible," these five basic steps will help guide you through the process.

If you are a foreign national who has been deported (removed) from the United States, it's likely that you have thus become "inadmissible," or ineligible to reenter the United States, at least for a period of years. In such a situation, if you have a basis upon which to apply for a new U.S. visa or green card, your best hope is ordinarily to file Form I-212, by which you would request "permission to reapply" for a visa to enter the United States.

Without obtaining this permission, your U.S. visa or green card application will likely be rejected without a second look. (Consulates will make exceptions, however, for some applicants seeking nonimmigrant, temporary visas; get in touch with your nearest U.S. consulate to find out more.)

These five steps will help guide you through the application process:

  1. complete the I-212 application form
  2. gather and submit documentation
  3. file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility
  4. pay the government filing fee, and
  5. submit the I-212 and I-601 applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Step One: Completing USCIS's I-212 Application Form

The first step in filing USCIS Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States, is filling out the form itself. It can be downloaded from the USCIS website. This guidance refers to the 4/01/2024 version of the form.

Part 1: Information About You

In this section, you provide your basic personal information, name, date, place of birth, address, and so on. You will also enter your alien registration number (A#), Social Security number (if any) and other numbers that the Department of Homeland Security or USCIS associate with you. (If you don't have a "U.S. Online Account Number," don't worry; you would only have one if you submitted certain types of immigration applications and registered on the USCIS website.)

You must also enter any names that you have used or have ever been known by in public, including nicknames and aliases. You're also asked to be specific about which consulate (city and country) or USCIS office you intend to apply for a visa through or have filed an immigration application with.

Part 2: Reasons You Are Filing Form I-212

This section is used to determine the underlying basis of your removal from the United States, the number of times you were removed, and the date you last departed the United States.

You'll need to answer Questions 1 through 4 if you were stopped upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry and were immediately sent back to your home country, or placed in removal proceedings but treated as an "arriving alien" and later ordered removed.

Answer Questions 5 through 7 if instead you were physically within the United States when arrested or placed into immigration court proceedings and you were treated as a deportable alien.

Questions 8 through 17 are meant to inquire as to whether you compounded your unlawful behavior with reentry after deportation. Consult an attorney if these seem to apply to you.

Part 3: Reasons for Your Request for Permission to Reapply.

This form does not, by itself, give you direct permission for U.S. entry. You will need a separate basis to be allowed into the country. Here, you must indicate the type of visa application you intend to file in order to return to the United States, your reasons for requesting permission to reapply, and any U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent, and children in the United States.

Part 4: Biographic Information

Enter information about your race, ethnicity, and physical appearance (for tracking and security purposes).

Part 5: Additional Information If Filing With CBP

This asks for more personal information about address and employment history and family members. But only applicants who wish to enter the United States without a visa (because they're not normally required to obtain one, most likely based on which country they're from) need to file with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) via its online portal.

Part 6: Applicant's Contact Information, Certification, and Signature.

This is where you sign and date the form and provide basic personal contact information. By signing the form, you are certifying under penalty of perjury that its contents and the evidence submitted are "true and correct to the best of your knowledge and abilities." Providing false information is a crime. So, at this point go back and review the form. Check each section to make sure you filled in all of the requested information and that the information is correct. If unsure as to the accuracy of the information on your form, you might want to seek assistance from an experienced immigration attorney. If you are sure the information is correct, sign the form.

Part 7: Interpreter's Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

If a professional helped you understand the English on the form, that person's information, promise to tell the truth, and signature need to go here.

Part 8: Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing This Application, If Other Than the Applicant

If you were assisted in preparing your form, the person must provide personal information and declare that you requested help filling out the form, that you provided the information entered, and that the person has not knowingly withheld any information.

Part 9: Additional Information

Use this section to enter information that didn't fit elsewhere on Form I-212.

Step Two: Gathering Documentation to Support the I-212 Request

When you submit your Form I-212, you must also include all paperwork and correspondence relating to your removal or last date of departure, and documentation of your relationship to anyone you listed as a relative, such as birth and marriage certificates. If the relative is a U.S. citizen, provide proof of the person's citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport. If your relative is a lawful permanent resident, you will need to include a copy of the person's green card, date and place of birth, alien number, and date and place of admission to the U.S. You should send copies of all documents and retain the originals.

In addition to the basic documentation above, you must submit as much evidence as possible demonstrating why your application should be approved. Consulting an immigration attorney will significantly improve your chances for approval by helping you to gather appropriate and sufficient documentation.

Step Three: Preparing Form I-601 Application for a Waiver of Inadmissibility

If you were deported from the United States and wish to apply for a permanent resident visa, you will likely also need to submit Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. Form I-212 only gives you permission to apply for a visa. Form I-601 is used to request forgiveness for the underlying cause for your deportation, such as a crime of moral turpitude. See Filing an I-601 Application for a Waiver in Your Immigration Case.

Step Four: Paying the USCIS Filing Fee

When filing your application, you must include the nonrefundable filing fee. The fee is $1,075 (as of April 1, 2024).

It's always wise to check the USCIS website before filing to ensure the fee is current. The website will also give you payment instructions. In most cases you can pay either by check or money order drawn from a U.S. bank or by credit card, using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

Step Five: Filing the I-212 Application

Where to file Form I-212 depends on the reason you are inadmissible to the United States and your current location. You will file with either U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), or USCIS.

Determine which location is applicable to you using by checking the USCIS web page for Form I-212. If you are represented, your attorney will determine the proper filing location for you.

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