Frequently Asked Questions On Immigration
Back to Home Country for Immigration Visa?
Q. I came to US from China on a C-1 transit visa in 1996. Last month, I married a US citizen. My lawyer says that I have to go back to the home country to get my immigrant visa because I entered on a C-1 visa. If I leave the US, the lawyer says the INS would bar me from reentry for 10 years. My wife and I are expecting a baby in three months. If I decide not to go back to China, will the INS deport me? Will my marriage to a citizen at least protect me from deportation?
A. Don't give up on getting an immigrant visa. It's true that C-1 transit visa entrants can't get an immigrant visa interview in the US, even those who marry US citizens. The exception to that rule is for people who started immigrant cases by Jan. 14, 1998. Your lawyer is also correct that when you leave the US, you'll face a 10-year bar to reentry. however, since you are married to a US citizen you qualify for a waiver of the bar. To get the waiver, you must prove that your wife will suffer extreme hardship if you do not get your visa. Given that you and your wife will soon have a baby, you have a good chance of getting the waiver. One problem for you is that the INS won't consider the waiver until you apply for your visa at a US consulate in China. Once you apply for the waiver, you'd have to say abroad until the INS grants the waiver. That could take a year or more. As for your fear of deportation, while your marriage to a US citizen won't protect you, nothing in your letter leads me to think that you are in immediate danger.
(By Alan Wernick)
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