Assuming you were in the US more than a year without authorization, you do have a 10-year inadmissibility bar. The I-601 is a hardship waiver. Given your circumstances, a good immigraiton lawyer should be able to help you file a successful waiver application, but you should get started immediately. They take 4-6 months, and you cannot even file them until after your consular interview. Ask the family advocacy people on your base for assistance if needed.
Andrew M. Bramante, Rosner Partners, 216-771-5588. Free telephone consultation. You should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney to make certain that the advice you received is appropriate for your particular immigration case.
You will likely need to file an I-601 waiver. Your prior overstay in the U.S. triggered a ten-year bar to admission. This bar begins to run on the date you depart the country. The fact that you married a U.S. citizen does not remove the bar. However, you will be allowed to file an I-601. This will waive the ten-year bar assuming you can establish your spouse will suffer extreme hardship. I would encourage you to discuss the matter further with an experienced immigration attorney.
Wendy R. Barlow, Esq, The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, P.L.L.C., 111 Broadway, Suite 1306, New York NY 10006, (866) 456-8654, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.myattorneyusa.com. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this answer, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the answer without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed attorney. Provision of information on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, P.L.L.C., nor is it intended to do so.
You will likely need a waiver for 'unlawful presence'. To obtain the waiver you need to demonstrate an extreme hardship to a qualifying US citizen or lawful permanent resident relative. You should retain legal counsel.
You received the correct advice, you will need a waiver to return to the U.S.
The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case.
Your 2 year overstay in the U.S. triggers a provision of law that says that you cannot return for 10 years (the so-called "10 year bar"). Under certain circumstances, this bar may be waived, but you have to prove hardship to a qualifying U.S. relative. The hardship standard for the 10 year bar is challenging to meet, and you should discuss your case with an immigration attorney to determine whether you might qualify for such a waiver. Even if you are married to a U.S. citizen, the government is not required to approve your request to return before the expiry of the 10 years, so this is a very serious and complex matter that you should not handle without the services of an experienced immigration attorney.