Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a phone consultation, video conference or in-person meeting is appropriate for your situation.

Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a phone consultation, video conference or in-person meeting is appropriate for your situation.

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Understanding how the 3 and 10 year bars affect you

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2021 | Blog, Green Card |

Immigration law prevents return to the U.S. if an immigrant leaves the country. These laws apply in Illinois and around the country. There are the three- and ten-year bars.

Caught in the middle of immigration law

Many individuals looking to get a green card find themselves stuck in a conundrum. Under current law, the immigrant must leave the United States to apply for the card. But once they’ve left U.S. soil, they cannot reenter for some time.

This can be detrimental to anyone who’s set up a life here. Family, employment, all go out the window when you’re not allowed to return. So, an individual has to make a difficult decision: stay in the country illegally or risk losing any life they’ve built.

How do the three- and ten-year bars work?

Part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, the three- and ten-year bars enforce re-entry restrictions on immigrants with an “unlawful presence.”

There is no clear definition of unlawful presence in the statutes. There are general guidelines though. Anyone who enters the country without inspection or overstays an authorized period accrues unlawful presence.

An individual with over 180 days and less than a year has an unlawful presence. He or she can be barred for three years. A person with over a year cannot return for ten years under immigration law.

Can one waive the action?

If a visa applicant is the child or spouse of a lawful permanent resident or the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen, they may be eligible. But the applicant will need to prove that getting barred would end in exceptional hardship to the parent or spouse. The impact on the immigrant’s children is not a consideration.

Issues remain despite a series of additions to the three- and ten-year bar regulations. Family members subject to these restrictions need to be aware of how to manage the obstacles without breaking existing laws.

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