Immigration Law Questions? Ask an Immigration Lawyer.
Even though your husband may have been granted voluntary departure, IF (and I am not saying this is the case) he had any illegal time, he may be subject to the 3 and 10 year bars to re-admission into the U.S.
If he is, he will also need to file an I-601 waiver.
You can look at this link to get more information on I-601 waivers. It is from the U.S. Embassy in Syria, but it is a good description and the process should be similar in all U.S. Embassies.
As to why it is taking so long, this may be why, but even a normal process takes minimum 6 months, but usually 1 year or so.
There are two bars. One for being illegal, and one for being deported. He doesn't have one for being deported because he got voluntary departure, but he may still be subject to the 3 or 10 year bars, depending on how much time he was illegal inside the U.S. (10 years if he had more than 1 year of being illegal).
You can't find out because no one can tell you for sure, not even the officer that will be in charge of his file. Why is this? Because the officer has to sit down with EVERYTHING and has to look through everything and has to weigh all the pros and cons of letting him back into the U.S. and not until the officer does this will a definite decision be made. So how can anyone know beforehand if someone has a 100% chance of approval or denial? They really can't. And as to how long it will take, that I can give you a rough estimate like I did before based upon what I have seen, 6 months to a year or so.
Now I understand the news is not good, but please don't shoot the messenger. I can explain to you why it is so difficult. You see, the U.S. doesn't want to #1) reward immigration violators just because they were able to elude capture or whatever long enough to find someone to marry and have kids in the U.S., and #2) to send the message to potential future violators that if they do this, meaning violate the border and laws, hide out long enough to find a U.S. Citizen to marry and have kids, that it is easy to get a waiver (forgiveness) to come back in.
Imagine if they did send that message? We could have many more millions of violators trying to get into the country. I know that this doesn't help your situation, but I am just trying to explain their mentality.
The lucky thing is that they understand that there are some extreme humanitarian cases and this is why there exist some waivers available. The problem is that they aren't easy to get, not should they be easy to get. This is why they usually only approve them in, as I said, extreme humanitarian situations.
No, the way it works is this. If a person has more than 180 days being illegal in the U.S. but less than 365 days, if he leaves the U.S. (even with a voluntary departure), he would not be able to come back into the U.S. for 3 years. If he has more than 1 year illegal and he leaves, he cannot come back in for 10 years unless he has a waiver (which is the I-601 waiver I mentioned before).
The lawyer should know. The thing is that in most cases it does not make sense to just take voluntary departure if someone has been illegal for more than 1 year because they still activate the 10 year bar. The reason some people do it is because they don't feel confident that they can succeed with a form I-212 permission to apply for entry after deportation, but they do feel confident that they can succeed with an I-601 waiver. Understand? So if one is deported, and they also had more than 1 year illegal, they have two things keeping them out, the deportation and the 10 year bar.
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