Three-Year Bar
Section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 1 Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA), Pub. L. No. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163 (codified as amended at 8 USC §1101 et seq.) provides that a non-citizen is inadmissible if he or she was unlawfully present in the United States for a period of more than 180 days but less than one year, voluntarily departed the United States—whether or not pursuant to §244(e) 2 Now INA §240B, Voluntary Departure, added by §304 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA), Division C of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1996 (H.R. 3610), Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009 prior to the commencement of proceedings under §235(b)(1) or §240—and again seeks admission within three years of the date of such alien’s departure or removal.

The three-year bar only applies to an alien who is unlawfully present for more than 180 days but less than one year and who voluntarily departs the United States prior to the commencement of removal proceedings. The statute specifically states “whether or not pursuant to §244(e).” Thus, it does not matter whether the alien departs voluntarily or pursuant to a formal order of voluntary departure per INA §240B, formerly INA §244(e)—the three-year bar still applies.

Ten-Year Bar
Section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II) – (paraphrased): a person who has been unlawfully present in the United States for a period of more than one year consecutively, departs and again seeks admission to the U.S., is barred readmission for 10 years from the person’s date of departure or removal from the U.S.

Minors (under the age of 18) do not accrue “unlawful presence”. However, when they turn 18, the clock of unlawful presence begins to tick.

Here is an example of how this law will affect a College Graduate: more…