I entered the United States with my ESTA (electronic system for travel authorization) from Chile last year legally. Before 180 days passed, I got married. We never submitted the adjustment status because my US citizen husband did not meet the requirements financially. After overstaying my ESTA and not being able to apply for a greencard (and other issues) we are getting divorced.

Now I want to return to my country but there will be a three-or ten-year unlawful presence bar according to my situation.

Is there any way I can submit a forgiveness or bar removal if I want to come back as a tourist or before I leave? Or before a deportation is issued?

I heard about I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility but I don’t know if my case applies. I don’t know what to do and I’m still unlawfully in the US trying to find a way to fix my situation

  • 3
    I'm not quite sure what grounds you'd expect forgiveness unless there were extenuating circumstances forcing you to stay.
    – CMaster
    Aug 4, 2021 at 12:49
  • 10
    This situation is complicated enough that you probably should contact an immigration lawyer.
    – ajd
    Aug 4, 2021 at 13:02
  • 6
    @ajd is correct. Furthermore, because the statutory ban comes into effect when you leave the US, you should talk to the immigration lawyer before you leave the US.
    – phoog
    Aug 4, 2021 at 13:46
  • 2
    If your plan is to stay legally in the USA, you can consult an attorney for available routes. If your plan however is to go home but looking for some cure for your ban, there is absolutely nothing an immigration attorney can do for you. In my opinion it is an utter waste of money, unless you can get the consultation for free. I see no wiggle room for this case. My advice is just go home and wait out your ban. Aug 4, 2021 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


If you fall in love with another US citizen and get married and do Adjustment of Status in the US, you wouldn't need a waiver because you wouldn't have a ban if you didn't leave the US, and you are eligible to do Adjustment of Status in that category even if out of status.

I-601 is the immigrant waiver, which would be needed if you left the US and later sought to immigrate but you are still within the period of a ban. If you seek to visit, you need a nonimmigrant waiver.

The process for a nonimmigrant waiver is that you would apply for a visitor visa at a US consulate in Chile, and if you are denied only due to the ban and not also due to immigrant intent, and if the officer recommends you for a waiver, they will show you the process to apply for it. But there is a good chance in your situation that you would also be denied for immigrant intent (for which there is no waiver) and/or the officer would not recommend you for a waiver, in which case you have no options.

Even after the ban is over, you would still have to apply for a visitor visa (you are forever ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program by overstaying it), and there would still be a good chance that you would be denied the visa due to immigrant intent, due to your history of overstay.

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