Nearly two decades ago, Congress enacted a law that prevents certain aliens from obtaining legal permanent residence for a designated time period if they were unlawfully present in the United States for a certain amount of time and then abandoned the country, unless they acquire a waiver.
The form for obtaining this waiver is the I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, which would have to be accompanied by evidence proving that the alien’s absence would cause his or her spouse to suffer “extreme hardship” unless the alien was granted the waiver.
Individuals who have accumulated 180 or more days of unlawful presence in the U.S. after April 1, 1997, and have left the country are banned from returning to the country for a minimum of three years. Other individuals who have accumulated a year or more of unlawful presence after April 1, 1997, and have left the country are banned from returning to the United States for a period of ten years. Aliens who have come back into the United States illegally, including those who were previously deported without obtaining a waiver, must wait outside the country for a minimum of ten years before they can apply for a waiver.
Individuals who have committed any kind of fraud are barred for life from the United States and can only avoid this if they acquire a waiver.
“Unlawful presence” is a very complex term, as well as “extreme hardship” and requires careful understanding, which 718 La Migra can help you with.