In many cases, yes- the applicant would need to fill out immigration Form I-212, “Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal”.  The form can be obtained through U.S. immigration authorities and should be submitted to the appropriate agency. 

Those who have left the U.S. through voluntary departure will also need to file an I-212 form if they wish to be re-admitted into the country.  There is usually a bar or waiting period after the person is deported before they can submit the I-212.  These are:

  • 5-year bar for first-time offenders, including those subjected to an expedited removal, and for those removed upon their arrival in the U.S.
  • 10-year bar for aliens removed after a removal hearing while in the U.S.;
  • 20-year bar for aliens removed more than once; and
  • Permanent bar for removal based on a conviction for an aggravated felony

So, for example, a person who was removed after being subjected to a removal hearing while in the U.S. will have to wait for 10 years before they can file a form I-212 for readmission.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Form I-212?

There are no set eligibility requirements for Form I-212:  Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  This is because each deportation/removal case is different, and there are different factors involved with each applicant.  Some of the factors that are considered by the immigration judge may include:

  • The reason for the previous deportation(s)
  • How recently the deportation/removal occurred
  • How long the applicant resided in the U.S. (a positive factor only if the residence was not illegal)
  • The applicant’s moral character and respect for law and order
  • Evidence that the applicant has been reformed or rehabilitated (such as completion of a rehabilitation program)
  • The applicant’s family responsibilities
  • The applicant’s inadmissibility under different sections of U.S. law
  • Hardships experienced by the applicant
  • Whether the applicant is needed for services or employment in the U.S.

All of these factors will be weighed when the application is reviewed.  It is usually necessary for the applicant to attend an immigration hearing for further questioning and review.  There may also be waiting periods (at least 3-4 months) and fees when the application is filed.

What are the Penalties for Illegal Reentry into the U.S.?

The penalties for improper or illegal reentry into the U.S. after deportation can include:

  • Federal criminal charges
  • Heavy monetary fines
  • Imprisonment:
    • Up to 2 years for first time offenses; or
    • Up to ten years if the previous removal was based on a felony, or conviction for 3 or more misdemeanors involving crimes against the person or drug crimes; or
    • Up to 20 years if the previous removal was based on an aggravated felony

Therefore it’s important that the person seeking reentry into the U.S. after deportation file the I-212 and follow all the various requirements.  Failure to do so will negatively affect the person’s ability to enter into the U.S. in the future.

How Can a Lawyer Help with Readmission in to the U.S. after Deportation?

While being readmitted into the U.S. after removal can be difficult, it’s not impossible.  You may wish to hire an immigration lawyer for assistance with filing the Form I-212.  There are many requirements associated with the form, and the applicant will likely have to attend one or more hearings after applying.  An experienced immigration attorney can provide you with legal advice and keep you informed of any changes to immigration laws.