One common reason people do not have legal status in the United States is because they have overstayed their visas. Visas expire, and on the date of expiration, if you are still in the country without receiving an extension or adjustment, the government will consider you unlawfully present. After 180 days, penalties begin to kick in.
Inadmissibility is the main consequence of overstaying a visa or being otherwise unlawfully present. If you did not apply for an adjustment of your status before the expiration of your visa, you now face a dilemma.
The re-entry ban can prevent you from getting a visa
Most immigrants must go through a U.S. consulate or embassy in a foreign country to get an immigration visa. Leaving the country to get your visa becomes more challenging because you can face a three or 10-year ban from re-entry for overstaying on an expired visa.
In the past, immigrants had to wait until they appeared at the consulate for their interview before requesting a waiver of inadmissibility. Thankfully for immigrants, the federal government changed that law. Now, provided that you have no other factors preventing you from re-entry, you may qualify for a provisional waiver of your re-entry ban before you leave the country.
Applying for a waiver
As with any immigration process, the steps to obtaining a provisional waiver are complex, and failing to fulfill the requirements can jeopardize your chances of bypassing the ban.
Some factors to keep in mind when applying for a waiver include:
- Being at least 17
- Applying while in the United States
- Having already begun the process to obtain your visa
- Proving that your unlawful presence is the only deterrent to your readmission to the United States
- Demonstrating that any absence during your ban from re-entry will be an extreme hardship for your spouse or parent who is lawfully in Colorado
There are other requirements for a provisional waiver that you may need assistance to complete. You do not want to take the chance that your application for a waiver contains omission or errors. Seeking legal help when applying for your waiver as well as throughout the visa process can improve your chances of obtaining legal residency.