Entering the United States illegally can result in significant immigration and even criminal consequences. However, if you are married or related to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident
(green card holder) then you may be able to apply for a type of legal forgiveness known as an unlawful presence waiver. If you or a loved one entered the United States illegally, call us at
(815) 289-3209 to discuss your legal options with a Rockford immigration lawyer.
When you enter the United States illegally, you start to accrue “unlawful presence” which can result in the following immigration consequences:
If you stay for over 180 days, then you may be deported and banned from returning to the U.S. for three years.
- If you stay for over one year, then you may be deported and banned from returning to the U.S. for ten years.
However, even if you entered the United States without immigration papers and have triggered an “unlawful presence bar” there are still ways to get a green card and eventually become a U.S.
An unlawful presence waiver is basically a legal forgiveness for having entered the U.S. illegally. Traditionally, if you wanted to apply for an unlawful presence waiver, you had to apply for
immigration papers, go back to your home country for an interview at the U.S. consulate, and then finally apply for an unlawful presence waiver. If the immigration officer denied your waiver,
then you were stuck and had no legal way of returning to the United States.
Many families were understandably hesitant to go through this risky process. Fortunately, President Obama issued an executive order that created a new procedure for families to apply for an
unlawful presence waiver without all of the uncertainty and time spent apart from family.
Starting March 4, 2013, individuals have been able to apply for the I-601a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver without having to leave the United States. Once you receive an approval of the
unlawful presence waiver, you still have to return to your home country for an interview at the U.S. consulate. However, you can return with peace-of-mind from knowing that the immigration
officer cannot refuse to let you come back to the U.S. because of your unlawful presence.
In order to be eligible to apply for an unlawful presence waiver, you must be either:
Married to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (green card holder);
- Parent of a U.S. citizen;
- Child of a U.S. citizen; or
- Unmarried son or daughter of a legal permanent resident.
In addition to being married or related to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent, you must be:
At least 17 years old when you apply;
- Physically present in the United States when you apply;
- Otherwise admissible to the United States. In other words, you cannot simultaneously be seeking a waiver for any other grounds of inadmissibility such as a waiver for having committed certain
crimes while in the United States; and
- Able to prove that if the waiver is not granted, your U.S. relative will suffer extreme hardship.
At the Law Office of Adrian Murati, our Rockford immigration law firm can help you determine if you are eligible to apply for a provisional waiver and help you through the application process.
Convincing the U.S. government to forgive you for entering the United States illegally is not easy. In order to obtain an unlawful presence waiver, you must provide compelling reasons for the
U.S. government to let you legally stay in the United States. Since unlawful presence waivers are a discretionary form of relief, there are no appeals if your application is denied. Make sure you
do it right the first time by calling us at (815) 289-3209 to discuss your case with a Rockford immigration lawyer.