green card after deportation

Apply For Green Card After Deportation If Married To US Citizen

Being separated from your spouse by immigration bureaucracy is a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Unfortunately, there are many couples who are in the exact situation. So, today we’ll talk about ways to apply for a green card after deportation if you are married to the U.S. citizen.

Being deported from the U.S. is pretty serious. Not only does it mean that you will likely face a 5, 10 or 20 year bar from entering the United States. Some immigrants could also face a permanent bar on their immigration file disqualifying them from even seeking a waiver for hardship.

The circumstance of the deportation order or removal is important to your case.

Case Example:

Julian recently married his Mexican wife Rosie 6 months ago. They planned on applying for a green card for her so she can stay in the U.S. legally. Rosie entered the U.S. in 2001 with her parents when she was a child and she hasn’t left the U.S. since.

During a routine traffic stop, she was found to have no driver’s license or legal status in the U.S.. After her hearing she was ordered to be removed form the country and sent back to Mexico.

Deportation Or Removal And Bars To Entry

Whether you were deported from the US or have an order of removal, there are 4 types of bans to re-entry. It’s important that you know why you were deported or removed the United States before you can learn what options you have.

  • 5-Year Ban:
    • If you were removed or deported when you arrived at a U.S. port of entry because you were found inadmissible, or if you were removed or deported after having been placed in removal proceedings upon arrival in the U.S., you may be ineligible to return to the U.S. for 5 years.
  • 10-Year Ban:
    • If an immigration judge issued a removal order at the conclusion of your removal hearing in Immigration Court (even if you did not attend these proceedings) you may not be able to return for 10 years.
  • 20-Year Ban:
    • A permanent ban from entering the U.S. can happen if you are deported and attempted to reenter the U.S. prior to the expiration of the 10-year ban. It is possible that an immigration judge could add an additional 10 years to your original 10-year ban. As a result, having multiple removal orders can definitely result in a 20-year prohibition from entering the United States.
  • Permanent Ban:
    • If you were convicted of an aggravated felony, entered without permission after being removed, or illegally reentered the U.S. after having previously been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than one year, you may be permanently barred from entering the United States. No waivers are available for a permanent bar but there may be other options depending on your circumstances.

Waiver For Inadmissibility And Bar To Entry

Thankfully, if you are married to a U.S. citizen but were deported there is a waiver available for you to reenter the United States. There are countless couples who are in this exact situation all over the world.

A 5 or 10 year bar doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wait outside the U.S. for this entire period. If you and your U.S. citizen spouse can prove you qualify for the waiver of inadmissibility, there’s a good chance you can get a green card after deportation.

I-212 Permission To Apply For Reentry

After being removed from the U.S. (deported), you will likely need to file for permission to apply for reentry. Form I-212 is called the “Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal.

It basically asks USCIS for permission to apply for an immigrant visa based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen.

Once form I-212 is approved, you can then submit the I-130 petition as the spouse of a U.S. citizen. Things get a bit more complicated if you also have had unlawful presence in the U.S. In this case, you would also need to submit form I-601 to waive the unlawful presence time you accrued while in the U.S.

Case Example:

Marcus entered the U.S. illegally from Guatemala. He arrived over 20 years ago and has been working illegally for a construction company for 10 years. He has 2 U.S. citizen children and an American wife. Before Trump was elected, he had little to fear about his situation.

Unfortunately, one morning when he was dropping his children off at elementary school, he was detained by ICE. They quickly sent him to detention until he could face an immigration judge in court. After 6 months, he was removed from the U.S. back to Guatemala.

In this case above, Marcus may be able to apply for the I-212 waiver for permission to reapply for an immigrant visa. He will need to show that his family ties to the U.S. and good moral character. There are a lot of other evidence that should be included as well.

i-212 decision

I-601 Waiver Of Inadmissibility

The I-601 waiver asks USCIS to forgive the time you spent in the U.S. illegally. The waiver allows you to show that the U.S. spouse will face extreme hardship if you were to be denied the chance to get a green card and live in the U.S.

Remember, the I-601 waiver only allows hardship to your U.S. spouse and parents and not to your children.

If you are required to submit form I-212 and form I-601, you can submit them both at the same time but USCIS will not process the I-601 before the I-212 is approved.

Case Example:

Richard entered the U.S. on visitor visa from South Africa. He stayed for 5 years before being deported back to his home country. Before his deportation, he met and married the love of his love Rose.

His deportation was due to his unlawful presence and criminal conviction. He was detained during a routine traffic stop and when the officer found out he had a felony conviction and had no legal status in the U.S. he was promptly placed in detention and deported 4 months later.

In this case above, Richard can apply for the I-601 waiver for unlawful presence but will need to be careful with his felony conviction. If it was a violent crime such as murder it’s unlikely he will be approved.

If you aren’t sure whether your conviction will cause issues with applying for the I-601 waiver, contact a reputable immigration attorney that is familiar with your type of situation.

Multiple Illegal Entries Into The U.S.

If you have entered the U.S. or attempted to enter the U.S. illegally after your were deported, there is almost no chance to ever enter again. Even if you haven’t been caught, it’s a ticking time bomb and you won’t be able to adjust status inside the U.S. even if you are married to an American.

I know of one couple who had multiple illegal entries and the wife is not in Mexico on a 10 year bar without no option for a waiver until this time is served. In any other circumstance, USCIS provides options for couples to overcome inadmissibility but they really dislike multiple entries without inspection.

I guess USCIS sees it as a blatant disregard for immigration law.

So, I’m warning you right now that if the opportunity to reenter the U.S. illegally has come up, don’t do it! It’s best to go the legal route so that you can get your green card after deportation and live in the United States legally.

Final Thoughts On Green Card After Deportation

Now that you understand what your options are after deportation, do you feel a little better about it? It’s not going to be easy but if you understand your rights and can prove extreme hardship, you have a good chance to living legally in the United States.

The first thing you need to know is why you were deported. Then you must find out what type of bar you have on your immigration file. Once you have this information, you can either do some research and apply for a waiver yourself or you can hire an immigration attorney to do it for you.

If you decide to hire an immigration attorney, be sure to review the forms before they are submitted. I’ve seen people get denied because of a simple mistake their attorney made on the forms. It’s still your responsibility to ensure that the forms are completed correctly.

Finally, if you are denied the I-212 waiver and/or I-601 waiver, you can apply again with additional evidence. I recommend that you submit a really strong waiver case the first time. It’s hard to get the second waiver approved when the first was denied by the consular officer.

It’s not going to be easy to get a green card after deportation but if you know what needs to be submitted, then you can be approved for the waivers available.

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