Originally introduced in 1952, the Immigration and Nationality Act consolidates a myriad of provisions around immigration law into a comprehensive document. More specifically, section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act lays out the grounds for determining whether a period spent in the United States by a non-citizen is unlawful or not. The criteria established in this section can have implications for current residents in many parts of America, including Illinois.
The criteria for unlawful presence
According to section 212(a)(9)(B), any period of unauthorized stay in the United States, or stay without being paroled or otherwise admitted, qualifies as a period of “unlawful presence.” In addition, this section clarifies the conditions under which certain periods of unlawful stay render a person inadmissible for future immigration.
Specifically, those determined to have had an unlawful presence of between 180 days and one year are judged inadmissible for immigration if seeking admission to the United States within three years of departure. Furthermore, those with an unlawful stay of greater than one year are inadmissible for a period of one full decade after departure.
Notably, the period of unlawful stay used in this criteria is cumulative. In other words, a person who has an unlawful presence in the United States for six months during one year and another six months during a different year has accrued an unlawful presence totaling 12 months.
Determining whether the criteria applies to you
If found to be inadmissible, you will have trouble obtaining a visa or otherwise entering the United States. Furthermore, you will need to obtain a waiver if you are seeking to adjust your immigration status. Fortunately, the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility is available to those seeking to reenter the United States or stay after a period of unlawful presence.
A qualified immigration attorney can guide you through the process of navigating these complex forms and giving your application the best chance to succeed.