I am German and now I live in Europe. I entered United States on December 5th of 2013 under the Visa Waiver Program/ESTA that allows you to remain in the US for 3 months as a tourist. I overstayed, remaining the US for more than 3 years, until January of 2016. I got married there on January 3, 2016, and left the country four days later. My husband is a US citizen.

Now I want to immigrate. I want to go back to study or work (get a Green Card). If that is too complicated, I would rather just go to study.

How and what can I do to emigrate?

1 Answer 1


Since you left the US after accruing more than 1 year of "unlawful presence", you triggered a 10-year ban, which will end in January 2026. (Not sure why you left the US. If you stayed in the US after marriage, you would have been eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status in the US to become a permanent resident with no problems.)

Your husband can still petition you to immigrate, but you won't be able to get the immigrant visa until the ban is over or you get a waiver. If you want to immigrate within the next 8-9 years, you would need to get an immigrant waiver for this ban, which requires you to demonstrate "extreme hardship" to your spouse or parent who is a US citizen or permanent resident (probably just your US citizen spouse, assuming your parents don't have any US status) if you cannot be in the US. "Extreme hardship" is pretty hard to show.

Even entering the US as a nonimmigrant during the ban requires a nonimmigrant waiver, which is decided by the officer adjudicating your visa. (You are no longer eligible to use the Visa Waiver Program since you overstayed the VWP in the past, so you need to get a visa.) However, given that you have a US citizen spouse living in the US, it would be difficult for you to overcome immigrant intent to get a visitor or student visa anyway (regardless of the ban).

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