The Permanent Bar for Illegal Entry and Unlawful Presence

In addition to the three and ten-year bars described above, a separate and more serious provision punishes certain people who’ve entered the U.S. illegally. If illegal entrants spend a total of one year’s unlawful time in the U.S. or are ordered deported by an Immigration judge (even after spending less than one year in the U.S.), and they then leave and return or attempt to return to the United States illegally, they become permanently inadmissible. This so called permanent bar is found at I.N.A. §212(a)(9)(C), 8 U.S.C. §1182(a)(9)(C).

Unlike the three and ten-year Time Bars, you can accumulate a year’s unlawful time through various short stays- your unlawful time doesn’t have to be continuous to count against you. Like the three and ten-year bars, however, no unlawful time before April 1, 1997 (the date the law took effect) counts.

There is a waiver you can request if you’re otherwise eligible for a green card, but only after a full ten years have passed since leaving the U.S. However, the law is different in cases of Battered Spouses of U.S. Citizens (VAWA). Please contact our office for your free consultations with an experienced immigration lawyer.

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