December 13, 2010: Going Abroad to Marry Boyfriend, Can She Bring Him Back?

Going Abroad to Marry Boyfriend, Can She Bring Him Back?

My boyfriend came to the United States when he was 8 years old with his Mom on a visa. They overstayed the visa and he recently moved back to his country almost a year ago. I am soon going to his country and we’re going to get married. Will I be able to get him back here so that we can be together?
— Anonymous

There are several things that need to be considered. If he overstayed his visa and voluntarily left the United States without any deportation proceedings, then he may be able to return to the United States after giving full disclosure of this fact and being issued a visa by the United States Embassy in his country. That would be the best case scenario.

Or, he may be subject to the 3 or 10 year bar from reentering the United States depending on whether he accrued any unlawful presence when he was in the United States. He would have begun accruing unlawful presence when he turned 18 years old. If he left the United States before he turned 18, then he did not accrue any unlawful presence and he is not subject to a statutory bar from reentering.

If he has more than 1 year of unlawful presence, then he is subject to the 10 year bar and will need a waiver of that bar before he can enter the United States based on, for example, an immigrant visa based on his marriage to a United States citizen spouse. The waiver will require you to prove that you will suffer extreme hardship if your husband is not in the United States. This scenario becomes more complicated if there was a final order of deportation ordered against him by an immigration judge and/or if he has certain criminal convictions.

It may be wise for you to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before filing any paperwork with the immigration authorities.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys