Immigration regulations include a variety of grounds of inadmissibility, or reasons not to allow a foreign national to enter the country. Some of these have to do with criminal history, health risks, and security concerns (i.e. terrorism), and others are utilized as administrative penalties for aliens who have previously disobeyed immigration laws.

The type of prohibition that we most often see is the ten-year bar—a foreign national who accrues more than one year of unlawful presence is barred from re-entry for ten years upon leaving the country. It does not matter if the alien left the country voluntarily, on voluntary departure, or was deported.

Some grounds of inadmissibility can be waived, meaning that an alien can ask an exception to be made for him or her. The ten-year bar is one such ground, and our Nevada immigration law offices are experienced with earning waivers for our clients.

Most frequently, we do I-601 waivers for aliens who are married to a U.S. citizen and, if not for their previous unlawful presence, could enter the country immediately on a marriage visa. It is not possible to get a waiver for unlawful presence if you have previously incurred the ten-year bar and entered the country again while it was still in effect. In other words, immigrants with multiple illegal entries are unlikely to be eligible.

UPDATE: Provisional Waivers

UPDATE: Provisional Waivers allow those eligible for an I-601 Waiver to apply here in the United States prior to an appointment at the U.S. Consulate in one’s country of origin with an expedited wait time and appointment. Under the provisional waiver, an applicant is allowed to remain in the United States pending approval of the Waiver or Pardon.

President Barack Obama used the power of an Executive Order late in 2012 which directed United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work with the U.S. State Department and various U.S. Consulates throughout the world to allow for the expediting of adjudication of the waiver prior to departing for one’s home country to seek readmission as a lawful permanent resident or Green Card holder.

In order to apply for this provisional waiver, one must be eligible for an I-601 Waiver (see sections below and above) through a showing that there would be extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent. However, unlike the regular waiver, which has existed since 2008, one is only eligible for the provisional waiver if they have only one unlawful entry (entry without inspection-EWI) and must be a person of good moral character (having no criminal record).

The requirement for good moral character is a strict one meaning that even a DUI or Petty Theft conviction, which would not adversely affect an applicant applying for the standard waiver created in 2008, would make one ineligible for the provisional waiver. The benefits of the provisional waiver are a shorter wait time as well as the opportunity for the applicant to wait for approval in the United States rather than having to travel to their home country to await approval.

Part of the justification President Obama had for creating the provisional waiver in 2012 was that, with the increased numbers of waiver applicants created by the standard waiver, wait times in one’s home country increased from one week in March of 2008 to about an 8 month wait at present. Therefore, President Obama responded by directing the USCIS Service Center here in the U.S. to adjudicate the waiver while the applicant waited in the U.S. to lessen the risk factor and shorten the time of waiting abroad for approval.

Perhaps the most advantageous benefit of the provisional waiver over that of the waiver created in 2008 is that the applicant gains provisional approval before departing the U.S. and incurring the 10-year bar of re-entry. It is a provisional approval only so the applicant should retain experienced immigration counsel to submit a legal brief and extensive documentation proving “extreme hardship” to the U.S. citizen relative in order to expedite one’s return to the United States.

To determine if you qualify for the Provisional or Standard Waiver and Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Residence (also known as a Green Card) call our attorneys at (702) 836-9003 in Las Vegas or Southern Nevada or at (775) 826-2099 in Reno, Carson City, Incline Village or Northern Nevada. We are also available toll free at 877-626-3771.

Lawful Permanent Residence for Spouse of USC Who Arrived or Entered without Visa or Illegally

Our law firm has represented many families where one family member is an illegal alien. We have obtained their lawful permanent residence despite the fact that they cannot adjust status in the United States because of an illegal entry.

To be eligible the person who entered without inspection (EWI) must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a person of good moral character with only 1 illegal entry;
  2. Be married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident;
  3. Have a good record of employment in the United States;
  4. Be willing to travel to Juarez Mexico to the U.S Consulate and remain in Mexico pending the approval of a green card.

Our attorney has obtained lawful residence for his clients, who are allowed reentry upon approval in nearly 100 petitions in the last 18 months. His success rate is based upon very careful screening of those who may be eligible and careful preparation of the legal documents required for approval.

In addition, Mr Carrico is with you every step of the way until you are granted permanent residence (Green Card) and are allowed reentry into the United States.

The following are examples of successful waiver petitions in which our clients are now lawfully residing in the United States They were al approved in the fall of 2010. We have not identified the clients by name so as to protect their privacy.

"Julio" left the U.S. by voluntary departure in early in 2010 to apply for his green card. His wife "Carla", a U.S. citizen cared for their two young boys while he was waiting for his waiver appointment in Mexico. We were able to prove medical hardship as Carla suffers from depression and significant physical symptoms. Fortunately she has good medical coverage in the U.S. so we showed that she would lose these benefits if she chose to live in Mexico with Julio were he denied his waiver.

Carla had put her education on hold with the Community College until she was able to make sure her husband returned to the United States with his papers. We were able to prove emotional hardship to her were he not permitted reentry.

"Rosa" accrued unlawful presence in the United States from January 2005 till she voluntarily departed from the United States on December 2008. She and her spouse had filed a waiver petition without our assistance and Rosa had been denied initially and had been separated from her husband for 2 years before retaining Mr. Carrico.

They had met in Mexico while he was visiting family, married several months later and rather than wait for an immigrant visa he brought his wife here illegally. Our hardship legal brief focused on the emotional hardship Rosa's husband had suffered because of the 2 year separation from his wife and children who were also U.S. citizens.

A quick reading of these examples may lead one to conclude that these approvals are straight forward. However be aware in 2010 the U.S. Consulate in Juarez was only approving 1/3 of the petitions filed with them. Our firms record is 95% approvals.
It is important to know that leaving the country for a waiver or pardon involves a risk of being unable to return. Before leaving the country it is important that you consult with an immigration lawyer who can advise you on the strength of your case.

Case Study #1 Link button

Linda, married to a U.S. army veteran with medical disabilities and veterans benefits were married in 2002 while they were in their late 20‘s. After his discharge from military service he was employed by another federal agency. They had met in Arizona where he had been stationed and where she had entered the U.S. without a visa at the age of 25 and was studying to be a nurse. Her husband is enrolled in college part time while he works.

We argued hardship related to his being denied an education as a veteran and his possible loss of veterans benefits were he to live in Mexico, as well as his inability to support his wife and raise a family in Mexico. We submitted an 8 page brief and records of his physical injuries in service to his country, proof of his ongoing medical treatment at the veterans hospital, current proof of employment and both of their school records showing they were both enrolled in college.

Linda attended her waiver interview 3 weeks after her initial interview at the U.S. consulate and was able to return to the United States the next day as a permanent resident.

Case Study #2 Link button

Jose in his early 40’s was an illegal alien for 10 years when he applied for permanent residence by his U.S. citizen wife who had naturalized in 2005. She had been a lawful permanent resident for 23 years. She was born in El Salvador; he in Mexico. She was employed while he had recently been laid off. She had two children from a previous marriage. They each have children themselves so she was a grandmother of two She presented medical records for various health problems and had good medical coverage from her employer.

One element of hardship to her was the fact that she had never lived in her husband’s home country of Mexico and would not therefore be likely to be employable there. We argued it would be hardship for her to be either separated from her husband for 10 years or chose to move with him and not be able to live in the same area as her children and grand children. She had just purchased a condominium and would have to leave it were her husband denied the waiver and not be able to help her with the mortgage.

We presented an 8 page legal brief with 14 exhibits in support of her hardship were he denied. Jose was in Mexico about 3 weeks before his waiver was approved and he returned to the United States with his green card.


In addition to having such a Qualifying Relative, the foreign national must also be able to demonstrate that that relative would suffer extreme hardship if the alien were not allowed to return to the United States. This is a difficult standard to prove, and overall statistics from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico show that only about 50% of waivers are approved the first time, and another 30% of those left over are approved within 12-15 months.

Our experienced Nevada immigration attorney and staff carefully select strong applicants and work with them to put together the strongest case possible to maximize the likelihood of an approval. Contact our immigration offices today for a free consultation on your case.

Factors Affecting Approval of an I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility Link button

245(i) – Adjustment of Status for Certain Illegal Immigrants Link button