If your status in the United States is unlawful, it is understandable that you would feel concern and even fear for your fate. Whether your visa or green card expired or you never had documentation in the first place, the government expects foreigners to abide by the rules of immigration or face the consequences of removal.
In order to obtain a valid status, you must return to your own country and begin the immigration process. Unfortunately, if you have been in the U.S. longer than a year without lawful residency, immigration authorities will place a 10-year ban on your return. This means 10 years separated from your job, education, home and loved ones in Texas. However, there is another option for which you may qualify.
How do I qualify for a waiver?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services makes exceptions in some cases where an extreme hardship would exist because of a ban on re-entry into the United States. In other words, the government will waive your 10-year ban if you are eligible based on the hardships that would exist for your family if you were unable to return to them because of the re-admission ban.
To qualify, you have to prove your family will suffer extreme hardships due to your separation. It is expected that you and your family would endure some typical difficulties because of the re-entry ban, such as losing your job, having to pack up your family and return to your homeland, or leaving them behind and enduring the separation, even from your small children. These consequences alone will not win you a waiver from the USCIS. Extreme hardships may include a combination of any of the following:
- You have a relative in poor health, making it impossible for him or her to travel.
- Your relative depends on you to care for him or her.
- You are the main source of income for your loved ones, including paying their debts.
- Your homeland is in a state of war, extreme poverty or political unrest.
- Your parents are aging and may not survive until the end of your ban.
Every situation is different, and the USCIS examines each set of circumstances individually before making a determination. The more factors that exist to create a hardship, the better the chances that the USCIS will approve your application for a waiver. However, if you have a criminal history or are facing removal because of fraud or other unlawful acts, you may have more of a challenge. At any time you face issues with your immigration status, you have the right to seek legal assistance.