Unlawful Presence Bars & Waivers
Helping You Return to the United States
In 1996, the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Responsibility Act (IIRARA) established bars set for a certain period of time, whereby an individual who was in the United States illegally and left the country would be barred from reentering the United States for three years, for ten years, or permanently.
The act is meant to punish individuals for staying in the United States illegally and protect national security to some degree, but there are many instances where this bar is unrealistic and would very negatively affect the lives of those involved for no just reason. For these, waivers may be available.
How the Bar Is Determined
The length of the bar is determined by how long the individual has been in the United States illegally before departing the country. This unlawful period starts when say a temporary visa expires, or, if entry was illegal in the first place, it would start right then.
The differences between the three-year, ten-year, and permanent ban are as follows:
- Three-year bar: given to those in the United States illegally more than 6 months but less than 12
- Ten-year bar: given to those in the United States illegally for 12 months or longer
- Permanent bar: unlike the previous two, these cannot be waived once they are given
This bar stars the moment that the illegal immigrant leaves the country. Often, they leave the United States to travel to a consulate or embassy in an effort to establish U.S. citizenship, but the bar can begin anyway upon the moment of that departure. This determination can be unfair and unwarranted.
Obtaining Your Waiver to the Bar of Re-Entry
The main reason waivers exist for these is for the possible circumstance that barring an individual from the United States for a period of 3-10 years would drastically diminish the lives of his or her family. The legal term for this is what we call “extreme hardship”, and it needs to be proven for the waiver.
Extreme hardship could be shown if the bar would devastatingly interfere with any of the following:
- Education – losing the opportunity, interrupting a program, etc.
- Health – lack of availability in home country, urgency of condition, etc.
- Financial considerations – decline in standard of living, future employability, etc.
- Personal considerations – ties to the community, loss of close relatives or spouses, etc.
These factors can be easily shown in a court of law, and with the help of a New Jersey immigration attorney, you may be able to waive that bar and avoid 10 years of separation from your life in the U.S. Call our offices today at (800) 909-8129 to get started with a consultation.