You probably feel like you are trapped, unable to go and unable to stay. This is how many feel when they are in the United States illegally and want to obtain their green cards. To stay means risking deportation, but to leave means triggering the ban that will prevent you from returning for years.
If you are unlawfully present in Kentucky, it may be because you entered the country without obtaining the proper visa, or your visa has expired. From the day of its expiration, your status in the U.S. has been unlawful, and the days you remain here without legal permission began to accumulate. Now you may fear that the penalties for your overstay may be too much to risk trying to obtain that important green card.
Extended separation from loved ones
Staying in the U.S. 180 days without legal status results in a three-year ban from returning once you leave the country. If you have been here unlawfully for more than a year, the ban is 10 years. That’s a considerably long time to remain separated from your family. Nevertheless, you must leave the country because foreign nationals must first obtain an immigration visa through a U.S. consulate abroad. This is your dilemma.
However, if being unlawfully present is the only factor preventing you from readmission to the U.S., you may be eligible for a provisional waiver. This waiver will eliminate the ban from your return and allow you to continue the process of obtaining legal residency in the U.S.
Conditions for provisional waivers
Applying for a waiver is essential before you leave the U.S. to obtain your immigrant visa. This may seem like a scary prospect because it means revealing to immigration authorities that you are not a lawful resident. However, with legal assistance, you may find the benefits outweigh the risks if it means returning quickly to your family.
To be eligible for a waiver, certain conditions must exist, including:
- Being at least 17 years old
- Providing your biometrics and making your application while physically present in the U.S.
- Being the beneficiary, or the spouse or child of a beneficiary, of an approved petition for certain classes of immigrants
- Being a selectee, or the spouse or child of a selectee, for the Diversity Visa program
- Being able to prove that your absence during your readmission ban will be extremely difficult for the legal residents you leave behind
- Being under such a ban only because of your unlawful status
If you have a history of criminal activity or attempts to defraud the government, you will not be eligible for the waiver. There are additional conditions that may disqualify you, so having legal assistance from the very beginning of this process will prove valuable to your efforts at gaining legal residency in the U.S.