Your Options if Your Spouse is Deported (Removed) From the U.S.

If your spouse has been deported from the United States because of an immigration-related issue or conflict with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (UCSIS), you may be wondering how you can help to get your spouse back into the United States after deportation (removal). Because deportation is a somewhat final procedure during which the person is forcibly removed from the United States, it can be a difficult process to get someone back into the country legally. However, it is not impossible.

Helping a Deported Spouse

People who are deported from the United States are normally made to leave because they either had no right to be in the country in the first place, or because they violated the terms of their visa, green card, or other immigration status. For instance, they may have been here after having entered the U.S. without inspection (perhaps by crossing the border illegally). Or they may have been arrested and convicted of a crime or been suspected of being involved in terrorist or drug activity. If your spouse was deported because of the commission of a serious crime or a felony or terrorist activity, there probably is going to be very little you can do to help. However, if your spouse was deported due to being in the country unlawfully, you may have some options.

After you are deported from the USA for being in the country illegally, you are generally not permitted to simply return to the US. Instead, there is a waiting period. The ban on how long it must be until your return is going to depend on the length reason for your removal. Also, under one of the grounds of “inadmissibility” found in the immigration laws, anyone age 18 or over who stays unlawfully in the U.S. for 180 days or more and then leaves is barred from returning for three years; and those who stay unlawfully for a year or more are not permitted to return for ten years.

Getting a “Waiver of Inadmissibility”

This usually means the first step to getting your spouse back into the United States after deportation is to determine whether your spouse is theoretically eligible for U.S. entry (perhaps based on marriage to you, if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident); and if so, whether he or she is eligible for a waiver of the various bars to re-entry that may apply. In other words, you and/or your spouse will need to take steps to get special permission for your spouse to return to the US after deportation. Forms that may be used to obtain such permission include the I-601 or I-212, which, respectively, are waivers of inadmissibility and a form seeking permission to apply for re-entry into the U.S. after having been deported.

These forms generally require exceptional circumstances that may or may not exist in your situation. For instance, you or your spouse may argue that a hardship or other problem will result for the individual or his or her family as a result of the deportation. A good example of why a waiver might be granted is if the couple is expecting a child, and the woman is being deported to a country where she might not be able to get proper medical care for her newborn.

If you and your spouse are not in a situation like this, there are other options you can pursue to bring your spouse back to the United States after a deportation. Be aware, however, that these procedures are complicated and can take several years, even with the help of a lawyer. You can, of course, attempt to file these or other waivers yourself. However, there is a chance that a waiver will not be approved since after the U.S. government has gone through the expense of having a person deported, and held hearings at which it determined that the person had no right to remain in the United States, it is generally not eager to open the doors to allow that individual in again. This is especially true if your spouse was deported for the commission of a crime or terrorist activity.

See an Immigration Attorney

When trying to help a deported spouse, the assistance of a good lawyer is highly recommended. Your lawyer will help you work through the complicated legal process and cover all of the necessary bases. It may cost thousands of dollars to have one of these waivers successfully argued in court, but if your spouse has been sent out of the country, you want to have the best possible chance of helping him or her to return in a timely fashion, so a lawyer is worth the additional expense.