When I was 3 years old in 1998, my family and I left Mexico and went the United States with a visa. Now this visa was for 10 years but we stayed longer. We were never arrested, we always paid taxes and my dad had a work permit. In 2012, I signed up for an immigrant program for students and was given permission to stay legally in the U.S. under DACA. I was even given a social security number which allowed me to legally work. Everyhing seemed fine.

Unfortunately, I took a dumb decision in 2013, I bought a plane ticket and went back to Mexico. I didn't have permission to leave the country according to the program I was in. I was 17 when I left. My birthday is in October and I left in August.

Now it's been 5 years and I've been wondering about my status and if I would be able to return. What possibilities do I have? Could I restart the process? Or could I at least get a visa to visit friends and family?

  • 2
    Which form did the "permission to stay legally in the U.S." you say you got have? Do you still have this document, or a copy of it? Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 11:28
  • 1
    Also, were you 17 or 18 when you left for Mexico? Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 11:30
  • Yes i have all the document still, to be honest i was pretty young and didn't know much but let me check the document and respond Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 16:02
  • I was 17 when i left Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 16:02
  • 2
    @DavidGonzalez So your DACA status was valid, you left the country without receiving "Advance Parole," were denied entry when you tried to re-enter in 2013, and haven't been back since? Is that right? If so, you really need to consult with an immigration lawyer (ideally one with experience with DACA cases) to see if you have any options left to return to the US as a resident. There's nothing about those circumstances that would prohibit you from getting a visitor visa, though it may be extremely difficult unless you have very strong ties to Mexico. Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 2:40

1 Answer 1


Simple answer is yes you can return. Your overstay or unlawful presence as a child is not held against you until you reach 18.

Unlawful Presence and Bars to Admissibility

Unlawful presence is the period of time when you are in the United States without being admitted or paroled or when you are not in a “period of stay authorized by the Secretary.” You may be barred from reentering the United States for:

3 years, if you depart the United States after having accrued more than 180 days but less than 1 year of unlawful presence during a single stay and before the commencement of removal proceedings;

The law also provides exceptions for accrual of unlawful presence to the following individuals:

Minors: Children do not accrue unlawful presence while they are under age 18.

From you timeline you left around your 18th birthday give or take a few months but before your 19th birthday. You either have a 3 year bar from reentry (more than 180 days overstay but less than 365 days) or no bar at all if the overstay was less than 180 days.

Even if you had a 3 year bar, it has already elapsed. You have to apply for a visa like anyone else and answer questions truthfully. Note that although legally you have no bar, the chances of you being approved for a visa are very slim.

You are not eligible for a visa waiver.

  • 1
    Yeah as a matter a fact i left before turning 18 years old. Do you think i couls renew my permission of working in the U.S.? Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 16:01
  • 3
    Do you think i could renew my permission of working in the U.S.? Totally out of the question. The truth is you will be very very lucky just to get a visa. Which permission to stay legally in the U.S.did you have? Do you still have this document, or a copy of it? Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 16:08
  • 3
    Note that someone also does not accrue "unlawful presence" while under DACA, which the OP was. Since he got DACA before he turned 18 and had it continuously until he left, he would not have accrued a single day of "unlawful presence" no matter what age he was when he left.
    – user102008
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 16:20
  • 2
    @user102008 The OP just clarified the additional info about exactly when he left etc after I had posted my answer. Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 16:21
  • 3
    @user102008 There is no point going back and forth on that. We do not even know he was on DACA so you are conjecturing. He has not confirmed he was on DACA, you are assuming it. I chose not to assume that and it does not materially affect the answer. For example he said he was in legal status however DACA recipients are not in legal status Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 17:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .