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Many waivers exist which allow immigrants who have violations or criminal convictions to still obtain residency and avoid deportation.  

The following is summary for the more common waivers under the INA:

Cancellation of Removal

Cancellation removal is a waiver available to lawful permanent residents and non-lawful permanent residents.  For lawful permanent residents, cancellation is most commonly used when the individual has been convicted of a removable offense.  For non-lawful permanent residents, cancellation can be granted if the individual shows physical presence for 10 years, good moral conduct and that removal would cause exceptional and extreme unusual hardship to a US citizen immediate relative.


212(c) is a waiver for criminal offenses.  This waiver requires that the person have pled guilty to a crime that would have made them removable prior to April 1, 1997.  The person must also have continuously resided in the United States for a period of seven years and must have had lawful permanent residency for at least five years.   


212(h) has three components.  They may be used to avoid immigration problems resulting from conviction for a crime of moral turpitude, prostitution, and offenses involving possession of marijuana.
  • The 15-year waiver is available to immigrants whose offense occurred more than 15 years before applying for residency, who do not threaten the US with their presence, and who have rehabilitated since the crime.   
  • The extreme hardship waiver allows immigrants who are the spouse, parent, son or daughter of a green card holder or United States citizen to obtain a green card if they can show that their removal would cause extreme hardship for their family member.  
  • The battered spouse/child waiver allows persons who have been the victim of abuse to obtain a green card notwithstanding criminal activity.


212(i) provides a waiver for misrepresentation, fraud or omitting material information when entering the United States.  A person who has gained entry to the US or obtained a visa or other benefit through fraud or misrepresentation may obtain a green card if they can show that their removal would cause extreme hardship to a spouse or parent who is a green card holder or United States citizen.