We’re New Frontier Immigration Law and we are here to explain three ways that your entry was lawful, but maybe all this time you thought it was an illegal entry.
A lot of people come to the firm, week after week, and we ask them if they entered the country with or without permission. People usually say they entered “illegally.” However, about half the time, we find that people didn’t enter illegally, they only think they did. If you entered with permission, it’s possible that your entry was completely legal. Our immigration lawyers can advocate for you.
How to Determine if You Entered the U.S. Legally
If you entered the U.S. illegally multiple times after April 1, 1997, then you’re usually subject to what’s called the permanent bar, but this is not always the case. The permanent bar means you must be outside the U.S. for 10 consecutive years before your U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident relative can petition for you to seek a Green Card. Maybe all this time, though, your entrance was legal after all. We can determine if your entrance was legal if it happened in one of the following ways:
Having Used Someone Else’s Documents
People always say “I entered illegally because I used someone else’s documents” or “I borrowed a friend’s lawful permanent resident card. We looked alike. I showed it to the officer. They didn’t really ask any questions and then they let me come in because they believed I was that person.”
This is technically a legal entry, though fraudulent. You came through the Port of Entry, you presented someone else’s documents, you were “inspected”, and you were allowed to enter. This is considered a lawful entry.
Waved Through by Car
You went through the checkpoint sitting in the car and the border patrol officer asked for an ID from the driver. Maybe the driver said, “yes everyone is a citizen,” and the officer did not question it, waiving you through in a car. This is considered a lawful entry.
Waved Through by Other Means
What if you were on a bus? Perhaps then you were waived through, making your entrance legal. The same is true if you’re in line to speak with an officer they do not ask to see any documentation. If you were told you can enter, your entrance is probably legal.
For a free legal consultation, call (623) 742-5400
What ARE Considered Illegal Entries?
Now, let’s discuss illegal entries. If you climb through the mountains through a secret road to get into the United States and no one saw you, or no border patrol agents were able to inspect you or waive you through, it is an illegal entry.
Some people cross through bodies of water, such as the Rio Grande. When you don’t go through the Port of Entry or you climb under the border fence, that’s an unlawful entry. This is what is considered “entering without inspection” and considered an unlawful entry.
How New Frontier Immigration Law Can Help You Remain in the U.S. Legally
Our firm can help you understand whether or not you entered the United States legally. There is also much more we can do to help you, including:
- Listening to the details of your case to understand how you entered the country
- Answering any questions you have about your status
- Helping you apply for permanent residency status
- Explaining the laws that apply to your case
- Filling out paperwork for you and submitting it on time
- Helping your family remain in the United States if this applies to your case
Immigration law can be complicated. You may feel lost after entering the United States, whether your entrance was legal or illegal. No matter the details of your case, our team at New Frontier Immigration Law may be able to help you.
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What Are Your Options for Fixing Your Status Permanently?
You have options for fixing your status after entering the United States. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you can:
- Find out if you are able to apply for a Green Card
- File an immigrant petition, if applicable to your case
- File Form I-485, the application to register for permanent status or adjust your current status
- Attend an interview and provide additional information about yourself, if necessary
Our firm can help you through this process.
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Reach Out to Us Today to Learn More About Fixing Your Status After a Legal Entry
We hope that this has been helpful, and hopefully, now you realize that maybe you did not enter without permission. There are lots of ways you could have entered legally. Even if you believe you entered the United States illegally, you may have been here legally all along.
Instead of wondering about your status, call us. We will spend lots of time visiting with you so that we can help decide what your options are for fixing your status. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a strategy session!