Is my I-130 still in progress if I left the country?


Q: After living in the states illegally for sometime I filed an I-130 through my parents.  After graduating from university, I had to leave the states so I can work in my field of study.  Is my I-130 still in progress?  I noticed some lawyers saying something about triggering a 10 year ban but isn’t it true that a deportation order had to been filed? What if you left on your own then you were never deported or self deported and that means your I-130 is still in process?

A: I-130 will not be affected if you leave the US, either on your own or are deported.  An approved I-130 cannot do you any good unless you can either adjust your status in the US to permanent resident or, if you are outside of the US, receive immigrant visa from American Consulate.  If you have unlawful presence in the US for more than 6 months and then left the US, you are subject to the 3 year bar; if more than 1 year unlawful presence, you will be subject to the 10 year bar once you leave the US.  Again, it does not matter if you leave on your own or are deported.

If you are subject to the bar, you may apply for waiver.  However, waiver is very difficult to get so please consult with immigration lawyer for advice.