If you are a foreign national who has been deported from the U.S., then you may be wondering if it is possible to come back to the country at all. The answer, unfortunately, is not simple. Many factors go into determining whether or not someone can reenter the U.S., and there's no one-size-fits-all solution for those who have been deported before - each person will need to look at their own unique situation to figure out what they need to do next!
But don't worry - we're going to break down the process for you, and help you figure out what your options are after being deported from the U.S. so that you can make an informed decision about how to move forward!
First of all, it's important to know what was the basis of your deportation in the first place. The reason for deportation is usually (but not always) one of four grounds.
You were inadmissible when you either entered the U.S. or adjusted your status (got a green card), or you violated the terms of your immigration status.
You were charged and convicted with any of the numerous criminal offenses that can result in deportability or removability.
You failed to register with the immigration authorities when required, or falsified documents
You appeared to be a threat to U.S. security.
The easiest way to tell which grounds applied to you would be to check any documents issued by the Court or ICE in conjunction with your deportation.
Some waivers are available to a foreign national who has been deported from the U.S., but there is no waiver for those inadmissible on security-related grounds.
If you were removed because of an aggravated felony, you are likely barred from re-entry to the U.S. for 20 years. IIf you were removed for a lesser charge, it may be five or ten years before you can apply for a waiver. The seriousness of the grounds for removal impacts the likelihood of approval for a waiver.
Individuals who have been removed from the United States are inadmissible for a specified period of time. Departing while they have an order in effect also makes them inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Additionally, individuals who are removed from the U.S. and attempt to return without authorization will be inadmissible if they:
were removed from the United States, or
had been unlawfully present in the United States for more than a year, in the aggregate.
Foreign nationals may be subject to different reentry restrictions, based in part on the reason for the deportation and how many times they were previously deported. For each removal, the consequences become more severe.
Typically you will be waiting for the following time periods:
- Individuals ordered removed in an expedited removal proceeding
- Individuals removed through removal proceedings initiated upon the alien's arrival in the U.S.
- Individuals ordered removed after a removal hearing before an Immigration Judge
- Individuals who departed the U.S. while an order of removal was pending
Individuals ordered removed more than once
Permanent Bar on Admissibility
Individuals who have been convicted of an aggravated felony. For Immigration purposes, an aggravated felony is defined as murder, terrorism, espionage, any drug trafficking offense (other than a single offense involving possession of thirty grams or less of marijuana for personal use), incest, and child endangerment. Aliens who have been convicted of two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentences were five years or more.
- Individuals who have been found to have made a false claim to US Citizenship.
- Individuals who have been found to have committed marriage fraud for immigration purposes.
- Individuals who reenter the U.S. (illegally) after having been deported (removed)
Following deportation, individuals often must file Form I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal. Though it is not impossible to return to the U.S. after being deported, you must file Form I-212 before the expiration of a required waiting time to be granted entry again.
As part of your application, you will need to provide all paperwork, evidence, and correspondence related to your removal. You also need to submit documentation of your relationship to anyone listed as a relative on the application. Documentation such as birth and marriage certificates will be needed to prove your relationship. If the person you're trying to reunite with is a U.S. citizen, include proof of citizenship such as his or her naturalization certificate or birth certificate.
If you are a foreign national who has been deported from the U.S., then you may also need to submit Form I-601 which is an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility as well as other forms, depending on your individual case. The I-212 and the I-601 are two very different forms that do two very different things to benefit you in your attempts to return to the United States. Form I-212 removes prior removal restrictions, but Form I-601 may be needed to waive the grounds for removal themselves.
For applicants applying while abroad, Form I-601 should be filed with the American Consul processing the visa application. You can also get Form I-601 - Application for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability filed with the local office which has jurisdiction over your place of residence before you depart.
As you can see, if you are a foreign national who has been deported from the U.S., it may be possible to come back to the country at all. The exact methods and procedures are, unfortunately, not simple. Many factors go into determining whether or not someone can reenter the U.S., and in most cases, no one knows for sure what will happen until they try.
Fortunately, there are some steps that people can take to increase their chances of being allowed back into the United States after deportation. These options require careful planning and legal representation by an experienced immigration attorney. The more often you try and fail the more difficult it becomes to convince USCIS or the Department of State to allow you to return.