Q: How can I return to the U.S. after being deported for a drug conviction?

Q: Dear SRW Border Lawyers,

In 1984, I was granted permanent resident status. In 2008, I was placed in removal proceedings and then removed to the Dominican Republic after serving a prison sentence for a conviction for conspiracy to distribute 300 grams or more of cocaine. I was charged as inadmissible and removable under INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) and INA § 237(a)(2) for violation (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law regulation of a state, U.S., or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance. I have been out of the country for several years now, but would like to return to the U.S. to visit my family (especially my daughter).

A: Based on the information you provided in your question, your previous drug conviction will greatly restrict your efforts to visit the United States. Drug convictions are punished severely under immigration law due to the severe negative impact that drugs have on society. That being said, for you to enter the U.S., you must first acquire a waiver for your inadmissibility under INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II). Unfortunately, your conviction bars you from ever applying for a green card again because there is no immigrant waiver available for your particular ground of inadmissibility. You will, however, be able to apply for a nonimmigrant waiver under INA § 212(d)(3)(A)(i), together with a non-immigrant visa, which will allow you to visit the U.S temporarily if approved for both. 

To learn more about the nonimmigrant visa/waiver process, please click on the INA § 212(d)(3)(A)(i) nonimmigrant waiver (applying at U.S. Consulate) tab under the “Border Solutions” drop down menu.

For further assistance, please call our office to discuss what the best strategy would be in preparing a strong nonimmigrant visa/waiver package.