Overstayed Tourist Visa but Left US before 18 1/2

I came to the US under a tourist visa when I was 7 years old. I lived there for over ten years until I left in January 2012. An immigration lawyer told me before I left that I would have a 10 year ban if I left.

I am now in the Philippines and now I feel discouraged to pursue life in the US again. I was recently told that if I left the US before I turned 18 and a half, that I wouldn't have the ban. I turned 18 on August 2011, and I left before February 2012, so I had left before the given age of 18 and a half.

I looked up the information online and did not really see any set-in-stone information outside of yahoo answers and an article which said:

"Chiefly a person cannot begin to accrue unlawful presence until they turn 18. Unlawful presence of 180 days is what subjects a person to a 3 year bar from reentry and unlawful presence of over 1 year subjects them to a 10 year bar. If they leave before they are 18, they can have a family member petition for them to come back or return to the country lawfully without the stigma of entering without inspection and constant threat of deportation."
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5368472

I need a definite answer that I could use if I wanted to return to the US and visit my friends and family. Would I just need to reapply for a tourist visa, or would I have to take further steps in order to be able to return? Would they use my previous history as a means to reject any application for into the US?

Please let me know what I'd have to do in order to return non-permanently. Thank you very much.


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