To become a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you may have to leave the U.S. and return to your country of origin. This is especially true if you entered the country unlawfully. Even if you entered on a valid visa and are still operating legally within the U.S., you may have to return to your country for various reasons. If you apply for permanent residence outside of the U.S., it is called consular processing. However, you should be aware that if you go back to your country of origin, you may be barred from re-entering the U.S. for a significant amount of time.


  • Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility)
  • Form I-601A (Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver)
  • Form I-912 (if the applicant cannot afford fees)


  • Form I-601 – $930
  • Form I-601A – $630

Requirements to Get Barred

The following requirements will cause you to be barred from the U.S.

  • 3-year bar — Continuous unlawful presence in the U.S. for 180 days, but no longer than a year
  • 10-year bar — Continuous unlawful presence in the U.S. for 1 year or more

The only way that you can re-enter the country and avoid the bars is by getting a waiver for the bar, which you apply for by filling out either Form I-601 or I-601A.

  • I-601: The Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility allows you to get around the bars and lets you re-enter the U.S. to get a green card. Learn more about Form I-601 here.
  • I-601A: Form I-601A can help you avoid leaving the U.S. and lets you stay in the country while waiting for your green card. To file this form, you must be directly related to a U.S. citizen (spouse, child, parent).

Extreme Hardship

In both cases, you must establish that extreme hardship would be caused to an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident by your absence from the U.S. Examples of an applicant relative's extreme hardship include, but are not limited to:

  • Being diagnosed with a major medical condition
  • Taking care of another ill relative who needs constant medical care
  • The applicant is the primary caregiver for children and the other parent will not let children return to the applicant's country of origin
  • An immediate relative of the applicant cannot speak the native language of the applicant's country of origin and cannot go with the applicant because of it
  • No job/life opportunities in country of origin
  • Applicant does not have enough money to return to country of origin

Note: Not all waivers will be approved. Also, you must submit the waiver to a consulate officer in your country of origin or a USCIS office within the U.S. However, the waiver will more than likely be processed faster in a consulate in your country of origin.

Do You Need Help Re-entering the U.S.?

Contact the immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Salmon-Haas if you want to live in the San Antonio area and you need a waiver of re-entry. Our team can help build you a case which can work towards giving you the results you want.

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