If you are an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. and reside in Mississippi, your green card application process can be complicated if you have violated the law in some fashion. Nonetheless, your particular situation matters, and not all immigration violations carry the same weight.
The big picture
If you came under a tourist visa, it matters how long you overstayed. And if you entered the country illegally, it also matters how long you resided as an undocumented immigrant.
The following scenarios will have an affect on your green card application:
- Whether you overstayed a nonimmigrant visa
- How many days you overstayed with a nonimmigrant visa
- If you entered the country illegally
The different penalties
There are different re-entry bars. They vary from three to 10 years. There is also a permanent bar.
You cannot stay for more than 180 days under a nonimmigrant visa or you could face a bar up to three years. And you could receive a 10-year bar if you stay for more than 365 days. Furthermore, those who entered illegally are not subjected to a re-entry bar if they leave the U.S. before the 180 days. But those who repeatedly entered the country illegally are permanently barred.
Applying for residency while in the U.S.
Those who have close relatives in the U.S. qualify for adjust status. But the close relative has to be a U.S. citizen. Someone else, who has been living in the U.S. illegally, will have to return to his country of origin and apply from there. It is not easy to obtain residency after overstaying a visa or entering illegally. But the road to obtaining U.S. residency is there. It is just a matter of starting the process.