Some think that marriage to a U.S. citizen and other family relationships will automatically result in access to a green card, but there are barriers that may prevent or delay these family members from becoming lawful permanent residents. Among these barriers are the “three- and ten-year bars.” If an immigrant has been in the United States illegally and then left the country, sometimes they are barred from reentry by such bars. A bar can cause a barrier to obtaining a green card even when married to a U.S. citizen or another family member of that citizen. Many people who qualify for green cards based on their relationships to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relatives when leaving the U.S. to obtain their green card find themselves in a very complicated situation. They must leave the country to apply for their green card overseas, however when they leave they are barred from re-entering the U.S. for three or ten years.
The United States Department of Homeland Security can waive the bar if an applicant can establish that extreme hardship would result to a spouse or parent if the applicant is not permitted to reenter. Hardship to the immigrant himself or his children is not a factor. Waivers are possible but can be difficult to obtain. Additionally, an appeal of a denied waiver can take up to 28 months or longer before adjudication.
Examples of extreme hardship include:
- Your spouse or parent has a medical condition and depends on you for care.
- Your spouse or parent is financially dependent on you and you will not be able to provide adequate support from overseas.
- Your spouse or parent has financial debts in the United States and cannot pay them without your assistance.
- Your spouse or parent has another sick family member and will be unable to care for that person without your support.
Extreme hardship is determined by an analysis of the totality of the circumstances affecting the U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative who filed the petition. Generally considered factors are family ties, age, health, financial impact and home country conditions. You will be required to provide evidence of the extreme hardship. First your qualifying relative must provide a personal statement discussing the hardship and stating the anticipated effects of your absence. You should also consider submitting a personal statement to support the arguments made by your qualifying relative.
Usually applicants must apply for the waiver from outside of the United States and may have to wait a long time for approval. Sometimes Immigrants have to choose between leaving the country and taking the risk they might not be able to return, or remaining in the country illegally. This can result in substantial family hardship before reentry.
Contact Our New York City Immigration Lawyers
Our law firm can explain all the opportunities and risks associated with consular processing, and help you through the entire procedure, moreover, discuss whether this is a good option. For an initial consultation with a skilled immigration lawyer, contact the Law Office of Cheryl R. David in New York.