U.S. deportation law is based on the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you violate this law by, for example, overstaying your visa or committing a serious crime, the United States may seek to deport you to your home country. Although it is difficult to re-enter the United States after you are deported, in some cases it is possible.
You Will Be Blacklisted
Once you are deported, the United States will bar you from returning on an immigrant visa for 5, 10, or 20 years. The length of time you remain on the blacklist depends on the circumstances surrounding your deportation. In most cases, you will be barred for 10 years. A 20-year bar may apply under certain circumstances - if you were deported for a second time, for example. You may still be eligible to apply for a temporary non-immigrant visa.
Special Permission to Re-Enter
To apply for admission to the U.S. as an immigrant while the bar is still in effect, you must complete Form I-212. Form I-212 is your request that the U.S. government lift the bar early. You will also need to submit documents that support your case. For example, if you show documentation that you have family responsibilities in the United States, the U.S. might lift the bar.
This documentation must be submitted to a consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The consular officer will send it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for a decision. Under certain circumstances, you can submit Form I-212 directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. If the decision is positive, you may apply for a visa.
Show "Extreme Hardship"
If you are deported for certain reasons, such as for being unlawfully present in the United States or for committing a serious crime, Form I-212 will not be enough to get you back into the United States. You must also show that being denied entry would cause "extreme hardship" to close relative, such as a spouse, parent, or child, who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Extreme hardship to yourself will not be considered. You must submit both Form I-212 and Form I-601 to a U.S. embassy or consulate. Then, you must attend an interview with a U.S. consular officer.
Illegal Re-Entry is a Crime
If you are deported and you later re-enter the U.S. illegally, such as by sneaking across the border, you can be charged with a crime. If you have no previous criminal record, you can still be imprisoned for up to two years. If you do have a previous criminal record, you can be imprisoned for up to 20 years, depending on the seriousness of your previous crimes.
A Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding re-entry after deportation is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an immigration lawyer.