Your Options If Your Spouse Is Deported (Removed) From the U.S.

Because deportation is a somewhat final procedure, in which the person is removed from the United States, it can be difficult to get someone back into the country legally. However, it is not impossible.

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and your husband or wife has been deported from the United States because of an immigration-related issue or conflict with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (UCSIS), you might be wondering how you can help to get your spouse back into the United States.

Because deportation is a somewhat final procedure, in which the person is removed from the United States, it can be difficult to get someone back into the country legally. However, it is not impossible.

Helping a Deported Spouse to Return

People who are deported from the United States are normally made to leave because they either had no right to be in the country in the first place, or because they violated the terms of their visa, green card, or other immigration status.

For instance, the person might have been here after having entered the U.S. without inspection (perhaps by crossing the border illegally). Or the person might have been arrested and convicted of a crime, or been suspected of being involved in terrorist or drug activity.

Deportation for a Crime or Security Violation Is Tough to Overcome

If your spouse was deported because of the commission of a serious crime or a felony or terrorist activity, there probably is going to be little you can do, if anything, to help; at least, not without waiting until many years have gone by.

However, if your spouse was deported due to being in the country unlawfully, you might have some options.

Deportation for Unlawful Presence Could Eventually Be Overcome

Someone who is deported from the U.S. for being here illegally is ordinarily not permitted to simply return. Instead, there is a waiting period; and of course, the person would need a valid reason upon which to request U.S. entry (a visa or green card). Presumably your marriage could provide that, unless you've tried it before and this was for some reason denied.

How long it must be until the person's return is going to depend on the reason for the removal. Also, under one of the grounds of "inadmissibility" found in the immigration laws, anyone age 18 or over who stays unlawfully in the U.S. for 180 days or more and then leaves is barred from returning for three years; and those who stay unlawfully for a year or more are not permitted to return for ten years.

Getting a "Waiver of Inadmissibility"

The first step to getting your spouse back into the United States after deportation is to determine whether your spouse is theoretically eligible for U.S. entry; again, perhaps based on marriage to you, assuming you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; and if so, whether he or she is eligible for a waiver of the various bars to re-entry that may apply.

In other words, you and/or your spouse will need to take steps to get special permission for a return to the U.S. after deportation. The government forms are used to obtain such permission include the I-601 waiver of inadmissibility and the I-212, which seeks permission to apply for re-entry into the U.S. after having been deported.

However, a great deal more than filling out forms is required for this. Expect to have to provide proof that the deported spouse deserves special treatment, and that the U.S. family will suffer hardship without it.

See an Immigration Attorney

When trying to help a deported spouse, the assistance of a good lawyer is highly recommended. Your lawyer will help you work through the complicated legal process. It might cost thousands of dollars to have one of these waivers successfully argued, but if your spouse has been sent out of the country, you want to have the best possible chance of helping him or her to return in a timely fashion.

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