Should you enter the United States without subjecting yourself to inspection at the border you may have heard that you can obtain a green card and remain in the United States by marrying a U.S. citizen. This is simply false. Depending on how long you have been in the United States without proper documentation/inspection you are likely subject to a 3 or 10 year ban. To gain legal status based on your marriage you must return to your country, apply for the appropriate visa and wait out the 3 or 10 year ban before re-entering the United States (unless you had a previous immigrant petition filed on your behalf prior to December 30, 2001). Please note that these bars apply not only to people who came to the U.S. illegally and then leave the U.S. (to apply overseas with or without full knowledge of these bars), but also to those who have been out-of-status on their visas (came legally) and then leave the U.S. before getting a green card (the departure is the key, if no departure then no bar).
Despite the harsh rules described above, there is a way to overcome this imposition. Congress put in place an exception known as the “hardship waiver.” Despite the existence of this waiver, the definition of hardship is a tremendous obstacle to overcome but is possible with proper documentation and under the right circumstances.
Miller|Conway, Goose Creek lawyers and South Carolina immigration attorneys are here to assist you with your immigration needs.