What to do if F1 visa approved but no number available and I have been living in the US illegally?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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What to do if F1 visa approved but no number available and I have been living in the US illegally?

My F1 visa was approved 2 years ago but I have been living in the US illegally (with family, not working) for almost 2 years. When my number becomes available, will I be denied because of this? Should I go back now and avoid being deported?

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Immigration Law, Georgia


SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have been in the US unlawfully (overstayed your original authorized period of stay), there is no way under the current immigration laws for you to change status or adjust status within the US EXCEPT through a valid, bona fide marriage to a US citizen. Any other options have to be consular processed at the US Embassy/Consulate in your home country. However, please keep in mind that if you have been unlawfully present for more than 365 days, as soon as you depart the US, you automatically trigger a 10 year bar to reentry, which can only be waived if you are able to prove extreme hardship to a US citizen spouse, and this is rather difficult in most cases.

Whatever you decide, you should consider a discussion or a consultation with a qualified immigration attorney prior to taking any steps, especially before departing the US.

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