A C1-D visa is used to enter the U.S. by foreign cabin or ship crew members. The USCIS will not allow a foreigner to change status while in the U.S. The problem is that the foreigner did not depart the U.S. more than one year after his stay on the C1-D Visa expired. The marriage is acceptable, but the 10 year bar is applied due to unlawful presence in the U.S.


My husband from Peru came to this country in August 2001 from a cruise ship where he was working. His experience with the work environment was not good and he decided to stay. He has been in this country for almost 10 years we have been married for almost a year. He pays taxes and has never been convicted of a crime. His visa was a class CD-1. We have been told that his chance of getting a green card or any kind of legal documentation is almost impossible. Are you able to help us?


Your husband cannot remain in the U.S. and be put into another status because he entered the U.S. on a C1-D crewman’s visa. He is illegal now that his stay on that visa expired. The only way to make him legal would be to have him depart the U.S. and reenter on another type of visa, in your case a spousal visa based on your marriage. However, when he departs the U.S. he will be barred from coming back for 10 years. The bar is triggered when he sets foot outside the U.S., and the bar is unavoidable. The only way to lift the bar would be to prove convincingly you are unable to reside with him in Peru due to a serious and permanent medical condition or some other such combination of extreme hardships. A bar waiver based on extreme hardships to the U.S. citizen is possible. For more information concerning bar waivers based on hardships, read I-601 Immigration Visa Waiver and Proving Extreme Hardship.