You do not accrue unlawful presence if:
- Your otherwise unlawful presence occurred while you were still a minor (under 18);
- You are waiting for an asylum petition to be adjudicated (as long as you don’t work unlawfully during this time);
- You are a beneficiary of the Family Unity program and your authorized period has not expired;
- If you are a battered spouse (or your child is battered), as long as there is a sufficient connection between the abuse and the presence that would otherwise have been unlawful;
- If you are a victim of a severe form of human trafficking, and this trafficking is sufficiently connected to your otherwise unlawful presence; and
- If you have made a timely, nonfrivolous application for an extension of stay or change of status, and you remain in the US for no more than 120 days after you file the application (or the application is approved within 120 days).
Please remember that benefiting from an exception to unlawful presence does not automatically erase all of your unlawful presence. Suppose, for example, that you entered the US with your parents at age 16, and remained until you were 21. All of your presence accumulated before your 18th birthday would not be considered unlawful; however, any time you remain after this would be considered unlawful unless you held a valid visa or some other exception applied.
The foregoing represent only a brief overview of the subjects of unlawful entry and unlawful presence — in other words, it can get a lot more complicated under certain circumstances. Consult an experienced immigration attorney if you even suspect that you may have an issue that needs to be addressed.