Can I File for a Marriage Green Card If I’ve Been Deported in the Past?
Immigration regulations offer different pathways for acquiring citizenship, including a green card or immigrant visa through marriage. For deportees seeking to return to the U.S. early, a waiver of inadmissibility may be the solution. However, the path to a waiver is often arduous, as deportees are typically considered "inadmissible" and may require several years outside the U.S. to be eligible for re-entry. If an individual who married a U.S. citizen and had a green card or immigrant visa is deported, the process of returning becomes more challenging. Nevertheless, waivers of admissibility are available depending on the case's circumstances. A deportation order requires individuals to collect additional proof that the marriage is genuine and not an endeavor to obtain immigration benefits, establishing evidence of linkage to the U.S. or proof of reform since the deportation. Overall, while leaving the U.S. often leads to barriers to re-entry, there are paths available for finding a way back. An experienced immigration attorney can provide valuable guidance in navigating these complicated processes, ensuring that all documents are submitted on time and correctly to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). What remains important is that immigrants act early to protect their legal rights and achieve their desired outcome.
Why People Get Deported
Whether an individual holds a green card or visa, certain situations can trigger deportation. These situations can include both violent and non-violent criminal activities called "deportable offenses." The consequences for crimes of this nature may result in removal proceedings, rendering a person inadmissible to return to the country or obtain citizenship.
Here are the types of offenses that can trigger deportation:
- Aggravated Felonies: Federal felonies and state-level felonies which can qualify as deportable offenses are aggravated felonies. The list includes serious crimes such as drug trafficking, murder, rape, kidnapping, racketeering, and child pornography. Other aggravated felonies include fraud, tax evasion with amounts involving more than $10,000, and money laundering over $10,000.
- Crimes of Moral Turpitude: Moral turpitude refers to actions that greatly violate local community morals. Criminal acts such as robbery, theft, mayhem, incest, and spousal or child abuse can be classified as crimes of moral turpitude. Controlled substances and animal fighting also make the list.
- Drug Crimes: Immigrants can be subject to deportation for drug-related crimes such as possession or distribution of illicit drugs. Also, drug addicts or drug abusers can be subject to deportation proceedings.
- Other Circumstances: Individuals can also be deported for other circumstances. This includes failure to meet permanent residency conditions, firearm crimes, fraud, inadmissibility at the border, and smuggling. Immigrants must be aware that immigration violations can have serious repercussions, impacting their future status in the U.S.
Navigating immigration matters requires knowledge and skills highly specialized in its field. Having the support of an experienced immigration attorney can make a difference in achieving your desired outcome.
How Long Will a Deported Immigrant Be Inadmissible?
Inadmissibility guidelines designate a specified period for which a deportee is prohibited from legally re-entering the U.S. following deportation. To ensure you understand your immigration status, consulting an immigration attorney with experience in deportation law is key. In some cases, specific circumstances can result in different periods of inadmissibility. For example, individuals who left the U.S. during an active order of removal, or were deported for deportable offenses, are ineligible for ten years after departure.
Readmission options include:
- Reapplying for a Visa: Individuals who wish to reapply for a visa after deportation may fill out Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, not all applicants are eligible for re-entry, especially those previously convicted of felonies. In addition to Form I-212, applicants must include evidence of good moral character, records of lawful stay in the U.S., and court records from previous deportation proceedings.
- Submitting a Waiver of Inadmissibility: If deportees were deported because of felony convictions or unlawful presence in the U.S., Form I-212 might not provide enough information to process their return. Individuals may need to file the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601). This form can potentially remove the cause for deportation. If married to a U.S. citizen, the immigrant would qualify as an "immediate relative" under U.S. immigration laws. In such instances, a waiver of inadmissibility might be feasible. However, immigrants have to satisfy the government that their inadmissibility grounds merit waiver.
Navigating the complexities of immigration law necessitates skilled assistance from an immigration lawyer experienced in deportation matters. An attorney can assist with procedural requirements, meticulous paperwork, and gathering the necessary documentation required to maximize the likelihood of a successful result.
Immigration and Naturalization Legal Assistance
Applying for both Form I-212 and Form I-601 might be necessary for a deportee planning to re-enter the U.S. by marrying an American citizen. Immigrants need to provide a compelling reason for why they should return following deportation. To guide you through this process, it is best to consult with a family immigration attorney who can provide insight into the law and your options regarding re-entry. Call (843) 800-2750 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.