“My husband and I have been living in the U.S. for eight years without papers. It has been very difficult for us, especially as our children are getting older.  Our two boys are American citizens and we are very grateful for that, but we feel that we can’t stay here any longer because it is just too hard so we are going home in the spring.   I recently lost my job so it has been especially tough, financially, and without a visa it’s nearly impossible to get work in my chosen field.

“My questions – if we ever had the chance to return to the U.S. would our period of illegality here be held against us? For instance, if we were fortunate enough to win a lottery green card?  We are very friendly with a business owner who says he would gladly sponsor us for visas, so if we spend time at home would this eventually help?

“We are worried by the fact that our sons are U.S. citizens which would hurt our chances of ever getting a visa. Is this correct?”

As you’ve been living undocumented lives in the U.S. for eight years it’s understandable that you find your situation overwhelming, particularly with children involved.

But it’s best that when you leave here in the spring that you depart with knowing the facts – chief among them is that, yes, if a visa opportunity ever did arise in the future, the time that you’ve spent here undocumented would indeed prevent you from securing legal status.

Here’s the situation – those who reside in the U.S. for at least six months (180 days) without documentation but less than a year (365 days) face a three-year ban from re-entering the U.S. after they depart the country; those who have lived here for more than a year without status face a 10 year re-entry bar.

Spending an extended amount of time outside the U.S. doesn’t make those bans go away.  And yes, you make the point that you gave birth to two American kids, so it’s hard to disguise the amount of time that you were here.

If you were to win a green card through the lottery you would still be barred from returning for 10 years – 10 years after the date that you departed the U.S. The same goes for a possible visa obtained through your employer friend.

That’s the information you need to know as far as a possible return to the U.S. goes – perhaps these facts will alter your decision to leave.

Your children, of course, are American citizens who would be able to come and go at any time.  Looking way ahead into the future, when your kids turn 21 years old they will be able to sponsor you for permanent resident status. By that time, presumably, your 10 year bar would no longer apply as you would have been outside the U.S. for 10 years.

Lottery Scam

THE State Department is advising those who applied for the 2012 diversity green card lottery – the application period took place last year – to beware of scammers on the loose looking to cash in.

This is nothing new – whenever the words green card are used, one can be sure that there will always be some shadowy figures lurking in the background to take advantage.

“The Department of State … advises the public of a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to (lottery) applicants. The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters are posing as the U.S.
government in an attempt to extract payment from DV applicants,” says a release from the State Department.
Those who applied for the 2012 lottery can check the status of their application online at www.dvlottery.state.gov, as of May 1. Any other communications received from any other sources are not valid.