When someone is deported from the United States, the federal government will typically bar the individual from re-entering the country for a certain period of time. This length of time depends on the circumstances regarding the individual’s deportation and could range anywhere from 5 to 20 years. In some cases, the ban could even be permanent. At the conclusion of the ban, the individual is eligible to reapply for admission to the United States.
In some cases, the government may allow a banned individual to re-enter the country under a visa or green card while they are considered inadmissible. There’s no over-arching rule that encompasses such exceptions, so each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Immigration officials will consider factors such as the individual’s criminal background, immigration history, family relationships, and more.
Loss of Original Qualification
As we’re discussing re-entry to the United States, keep in mind that a final removal order from a US Immigration Court is irreversible. If an immigrant is deported for violating the terms of their visa, that visa is cancelled and cannot be reinstated. Similarly, if a green card holder commits a crime that qualifies for deportation (i.e. an aggravated felony or crime of moral turpitude), the holder is no longer a lawful US resident.
If you have wrongfully received a removal order, you have 30 days to appeal the court’s decision before the order becomes final. In some cases, you can petition for a review on the grounds that there was a miscarriage of justice or new information has come to light, but these instances are rare.
How Long is a Deportee Considered Inadmissible?
In most cases, deportees are barred from reentering the United States for 10 years. The exact length will depend on the circumstances regarding the deportation, and are dictated by the Immigration and Nationality Act:
- 5-year ban – deportees are subject to a 5-year ban if they are summarily removed or deported at a US border or port of entry based upon a finding that they are inadmissible; if they are removed or deported after having been placed in removal proceedings when they first arrived in the United States; or if they failed or refused to attend or remain in an immigration court proceeding or walked out before it was over (without reasonable cause).
- 10-year ban – deportees are subject to a 10-year ban when an immigration judge issues a removal order at the conclusion of an Immigration Court hearing.
- 20-year ban – if someone is deported and attempts to reenter the US during their 10-year period of inadmissibility, an Immigration Court judge can add up to 10 additional years to the original 10-year ban.
- Permanent ban – deportees may be subject to a permanent ban from entering the United States if they are convicted of an aggravated felony; if they enter the US without permission after being deported; or if they illegally reenter the US after having previously been in the country for more than one year.
Note that while a permanent ban sounds pretty bad, you have the ability to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility after 10 years. The agent who evaluates your application will have to weigh the permanent ban against your arguments for a visa, permanent residency, or naturalization.
If you have been deported from the United States and are currently inadmissible, you may be able to apply for admission to the US as an immigrant. Certain individuals are prohibited from doing this (namely deportees who have been convicted of a serious crime such as murder), but it’s a viable option for most people. To submit your request, you’ll need to fill out USCIS Form I-212 and pay an application fee.
One of the most important aspects of Form I-212 is the list of “favorable factors” that you can list to prove your case for reentry into the United States. Examples of some favorable factors that you can list on your application include:
- Documentation of your family responsibilities, or your intent to hold family responsibilities
- Evidence of close family ties in the United States
- Evidence of your eligibility for a waiver of other inadmissibility grounds
- Evidence of your good moral character
- Evidence of your personal rehabilitation or reformation
- Evidence of your respect for law and order
- Evidence that family members who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents are experiencing hardship due to your absence from the US
- Evidence that there’s a high likelihood of your becoming a lawful permanent resident in the near future
- Evidence that you are experiencing hardship due to your absence
- Evidence that your employer is experiencing hardship due to your absence
- How long you were lawfully living in the US before you were deported
- What your immigration status was during your time in the US
It’s not enough to wishfully list these favorable factors. For your application to be successful, you’ll need to provide proof to back your claims. Valid evidence of favorable factors can include affidavits from family and friends, employment records, medical records, and birth certificates of family members.
In addition to demonstrating your favorable factors, you’ll also need to submit documents relevant to your removal proceedings when you were previously deported from the United States. If you don’t have copies of these documents, you can procure them from the applicable courts and agencies that you dealt with during your removal proceedings.
Requesting Additional Waivers
In some cases, submitting Form I-212 won’t be enough to approve your immigrant visa. If you were deported for a serious crime or for being unlawfully present in the US, you’ll need to apply for a separate waiver of the grounds of inadmissibility (Form I-601). While each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the agency is generally looking for signs of extreme hardship to a close relative (parent, spouse, child) who is a US citizen or permanent resident. Evidence of any personal extreme hardship that you’ve experienced is not applicable.
If your application for an immigrant visa or green card is denied, you may still be able to gain reentry to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa (also referred to as a temporary visa). Getting a waiver of inadmissibility is legally and procedurally easier for temporary visas such as a student or visitor visa.
Call our Immigration team at(480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.