Will I have a chance at re-entering the US legally if I am currently here illegally and move back to whereI was born?

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

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Will I have a chance at re-entering the US legally if I am currently here illegally and move back to whereI was born?

When I was a child my parents brought me to America illegally. I am now 17 years old and I do not want to be an illegal alien all my life. I am thinking about all my options and have decided to go back to where I was born before I turn 18 years old and re-enter the US legally. Is this possible or will I still be banned due to the choices my parents have made?

Asked on February 15, 2012 under Immigration Law, New York


SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, as long as you depart the US before you turn 18, you will not have accrued unlawful presence time in the US that would make you ineligible for any immigration benefits within the US.  YOu should leave and then try to reenter lawfully.  Keep in mind, however, that entering lawfully is not a simple buying a ticket and getting a visa to enter. You have to prove to the satisfaction of the consular officer at the US Consulate in your home country that you should be granted a visa to enter the US by showing that you have substantial ties to your home country, etc (if you are trying to get a visitor's visa). That will be, of course, rather difficult if you have been living in the US for the past 17 years and your family is all here.  However, if a member of your family can petition you for a relative petition or you can try to get a student visa based on admittance to US college or university, that may have some better chance.

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