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When is "212(c) suspension of deportation" an option?


One way for lawful permanent residents to stay in the U.S. is 212(c) suspension of deportation for lawful permanent residents.

If you are an LPR facing removal from the U.S. because of a criminal conviction that happened before April 1, 1997, you might qualify for 212(c). If approved, 212(c) means you are forgiven for your conviction, and can stay in the U.S.

When determining if you should be granted 212(c), the judge will look at factors including:

  • How many years you have been an LPR
  • Your employment history
  • Your history of paying taxes
  • Your family ties
  • Your health

One important thing about applying for 212(c) is that the judge has lots of flexibility when deciding whether to grant this benefit. Just because you can show that you meet all the requirements doesn’t mean that you will be granted this benefit.

You must show that you deserve to keep your LPR status. When determining whether you deserve to keep your LPR status, the judge will consider how remorseful you are; how many criminal convictions you have; how recent your criminal convictions are, etc. If you think you qualify and want to apply for 212(c), complete and submit Form I-191.

If you think you qualify for 212(c), hire a lawyer or accredited representative. If your application for 212(c) is granted, you can keep your residency.

This article gives an overview of using 212(c) suspension of deportation as a defense.