USCIS Releases Updated Edition of Form I-191

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a new version of the Form I-191, Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The new edition of the Form I-191 is dated 09/20/16. Despite issuing this new edition of the form, the USCIS will continue to accept previous editions of the form. The edition date for the Form I-191 may be found on the bottom left corner of both the Form I-191 itself and the Form I-191 instructions.

The Form I-191 is a limited-use form for certain lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to seek relief under the now-repealed section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 212(c) allowed certain LPRs to be admitted to the United States notwithstanding certain criminal convictions. Although the provision was repealed by the U.S. Congress on April 1, 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court held in INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289 [PDF version] that the old section 212(c) was still available to LPRs who pled guilty to a crime prior to the effective repeal date of the old section 212(c). In the Matter of Abdelghany, 26 I&N Dec. 254 (BIA 2014) [PDF version], The BIA extended the class of LPRs eligible for section 212(c) relief to those who were convicted following a trial held before April 1, 1997 [see Form Instructions].

The Form I-191 is filed with the USCIS, unless the applicant is in immigration proceedings, in which case it is filed before the immigration court. The filing fee is $550.00.

The eligibility requirements for relief under the old section 212(c) are complicated not only because of the requirement that the plea or conviction must have occurred prior to April 1, 1997, but also because the rules for section 212(c) relief are different depending on when the plea or conviction occurred prior to April 1, 1997. An LPR charged with removability or deportability should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney for a full evaluation of his or her situation and potentially available options.