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Re-entry into the United States is possible after illegal entry

You came to the United States legally, and you want to bring your loved ones as well. You know that the current state of politics makes people more cautious about immigration, so you're worried about taking the steps needed to bring your family here.

Fortunately, there are several different ways to help foreign-born family members get to the United States and to obtain legal permanent resident status. Most of the time, your family member will need to come to the United States legally to apply for permanent resident status. There are a few times when you can help them obtain the status without being here legally, though.

When can you apply for reentry into the U.S. and for permanent residency if you are in the U.S. illegally now?

For those in the country illegally, there are re-entry rules that may apply. If you have been in the U.S. illegally for over 180 days, you will be able to reapply for a visa to re-enter the country after three years. If you are in the country illegally for 365 days or longer, then you may need to wait up to 10 years.

There are some other circumstances that can help reduce that wait time. For example, if you are a parent of a U.S. citizen but are in the U.S. illegally, you may be able to fight to stay in the country if you can show you need protection under the Violence Against Women Act. Spouses and children may also qualify under this act. Typically, the person who wants to obtain legal residency needs to help law enforcement as part of the deal to obtain that status.

There are other possibilities as well. If your loved one is being removed from the country or wants to return, make sure you educate yourself on the legal process.

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