If you unlawfully moved to the United States, the good news is you may not have to continue to live in fear of deportation. There are options that can allow you to remain in the country legally. It is important for you to understand those options to avoid mistakes that could void your immigration rights and result in you being deported and separated from your loved ones in California.
Because you came to the country illegally, there is a disqualification period of 10 years. You are not allowed reentry as a lawful foreign national until the 10-year period is over. That may not seem like a feasible choice for your situation. Your departure could make things more challenging for your family, or you may even fear going back to your country of origin because of political and safety reasons.
601 waiver qualifications
If your reasons for not wanting to leave the country include extreme hardship for your family, there are options you may apply for a 601 waiver to help you to circumvent the 10-year re-entry ban. You must meet certain requirements and have qualifying grounds of inadmissibility circumstance to qualify for a 601 waiver. Approval is not guaranteed; decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
By hardship, you must prove you not being allowed to remain in the country would cause your spouse or kids to suffer extreme financial, social or personal hardship if you are not with them. The following circumstances are covered hardship events:
- A loss of education and training opportunities for eligible relatives.
- Special circumstances, such as cultural, social and ethnic barriers, for qualifying U.S. citizens, such as a lawful child, spouse or parent.
- Financial hardship, such as a loss of employment opportunities, income, a lower standard of living and extensive finances for the care of a special needs child or incapacitated qualifying relative.
The 601-application process requires applicants to provide statements and documentation proving the extent of hardship their departures will create. This may be challenging if you have language barriers and other circumstances that interfere with your ability to complete your application and provide all necessary supporting evidence. Many individuals find it beneficial to work with an immigration law attorney for guidance.