Entering Without Inspection (EWI)
Some individuals have entered the United States without inspection (EWI) and, as a result may later face a severe penalty and difficulty if they apply for adjustment of status to obtain a green card. If you are a citizen of another country and you are entering the USA, you are asked for identity documents at the border /port of entry. The immigration officer will determine whether or not you should enter.
In cases where an arriving foreign national enters the U.S. with inspection, even if he or she presented false documents (such as a false passport or birth certificate), a waiver or excuse may be granted and a green card could later be granted.
There are two exceptions to the Entering Without Inspection EWI penalty
1) Parole into this country, or
2) Having a receipt of an ‘approvable’ petition filed with USCIS (formerly INS) on or before April 30, 2001 ( i.,e, section 245(i) cases).
Some people ask “What if I came to America by entering without inspection EWI but later marry a US Citizen?”
Entering Without Inspection EWI and Adjustment of Status by Marriage
Unfortunately, marriage will not cure the problem. In most cases where an alien spouse last came to the U.S. by entering without inspection (EWI), the beneficiary would be required to leave this country in order to complete processing in their home country.
Both the immigrant and the citizen must understand that leaving the USA may, depending on how long they remained unlawfully present, result in a bar of up to 10 years before being permitted to return to the USA.Although a waiver may be available for unlawful presence, a waiver is granted at the discretion of the government and only in cases of hardship. The standard required to prove hardship is high.
Talk with an attorney to determine how long a person would be out of the country waiting on a greed card. It is important to know how to calculate the dates for filing an application because other relief may be available.
“What if my US Citizen spouse filed for me before April 30, 2001, but we divorced before I got my green card? Can I still use that paperwork?”
Yes , if it can be shown that the marriage was valid at the beginning. and not a sham. If there is a valid second marriage to a US citizen, it would not be necessary to leave before receiving a green card.
Immigration Attorney Referral