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GREEN CARD HOLDERS WHO STAY OUT OF U.S. MORE THAN A FEW MONTHS AT RISK

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Lawful Permanent Residents who stay outside of the U.S. for a few months at a time, or travel abroad repeatedly, can be at risk of losing their I-551 Green Card (Lawful Permanent Residence) to airport immigration officials when they try to re-enter America.  The airport officers keep track  of absences in their computers and are allowed to put green card holders in (locked) secondary inspection at the airport upon their re-entry and ask many questions about why they left the USA so much.

Many of the airport immigration officers don’t like it when green card holders take longer or repeated trips.  They feel that the green card is for people who want to live in the USA full time.

 

How Do I Calculate My Days Outside the USA?

The easiest way to calculate how many days you have been outside the USA is to enter your entry/exit dates on a date calculator such as timeanddate.com.

What about the “Return Every 12 Months” Rule? There is No “Return Every 12 Months Rule.

There are many rumors regarding travel outside the U.S. after obtaining permanent residence. Once a foreign national is a permanent resident, the green card (Form I-551) is the correct document re-entering the USA following an absence of less than one year. Based upon this rule, there is a mistaken belief that one can maintain permanent residency simply with brief, yearly visits to the USA and never having an absence of more than one year. This is not the case.

Why Didn’t the USCIS Customer Service Representative Tell Me the Second Part of the 1 Year Rule?

If you call the USCIS and ask how long a green card holder may go abroad, the customer service representatives at the USCIS 800 number will probably tell you only one of the many rules about how long a permanent resident holder can be abroad.  They will probably tell you that if a green card holder goes abroad for more than one year, the green card is no longer valid. Technically that is true. One of the rules is that the I-551 green card is no longer valid for re-entry (even though unexpired) after 1 year abroad.

Unfortunately, the USCIS 800 number customer service representatives do not give you the complete answer which would include the “intent to reside in the USA” rule.

In other words, the “one year” rule has 2 requirements. The green card is the appropriate document for re-entry only if (a) the absence from the U.S. is less than one year AND THE SECOND REQUIREMENT IS THAT (b) the person is returning to an un-relinquished, lawful permanent residence in the USA after a temporary absence.

http://www.facebook.com/ImmigrationWorkVisaThe return to the U.S. every 12 months does not “revalidate” the green card.

The airport immigration officers can still make a determination at the time of each re-entry  whether the green card should be surrendered because the permanent resident has been living outside the USA for too long in general, even though the green card holder comes back to the USA every 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 months . . . because the airport immigration officer will eventually figure out that the green card holder is really living and working abroad and just coming to the USA occasionally.

Are You Saying That The 12 Month Rule No Longer Exists? Is it Now a 1 Month Rule?

If you are asking about  a  “12 month rule” with regard to green card holders traveling . . . as I mentioned above, there never was a 12 month rule.  Green card holders were just getting away with visiting the USA once or twice a year because the airport officers did not have the computer resources to keep track of their traveling.  But now they have great computer data bases and the airlines are required to report their passenger lists.

The real rule is that green card holders are required to live in the USA “the majority” of each year, thereby indicating their “intent” to live in the USA permanently.  So there is no “1 month” rule either.  For example, a person who travels outside the USA for 3 months 1 time per year may be questioned less upon re-entry than a person who travels for 2 weeks 4  times a year because their “intent” to live in the USA appears to be more clear.

Bottom line, the decision whether to (a) question green card holders upon re-entry (b) issue a written warning (stamp in the passport or words put in the computer) or (c) try to take away the green card due to excessive travel outside the USA —  is all in the american airport immigration officers’ hands.

Where Can I Find a Complete Listing of the Rules of Travel for Green Card Holders?

website-border-crossingThe customer service representatives are not immigration attorneys and are reading prepared answers to common questions off of a card. There are many rules about how long a permanent resident can be outside the USA. It would be too long and too complex for the customer service representative to read them all and so they just read one of them.

Immigration rules are not contained in one book – they written in many places: USCIS/INS regulations, USCIS/INS policies, immigration judges opinions (at 4+ different court levels), and in CBP policies.

Sorry, but there is no time or space to list all of the rules here, many of which overlap with each other (and some contradict each other) on this blog article.  A person could go to a local (free) law library to find the rules contained in law books, do extensive internet research, pay  for an immigration law book (about $400 for “Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook” ), or pay an immigration attorney to write a legal brief to list the rules for you.

If it was easy to list all the immigration rules about green card holders traveling abroad I would do it here.  Another problem is that the rules often change.

American Airport Immigration Officers Expect to See “Intent to Reside in USA” After an Absence of 6-12 Months or Even Less So Bring “Ties to America” Documents When Re-Entering USA

Without an approved Re-Entry Permit, green card holders are required to spend at least the majority of the year in the USA to keep their green card.  Period. The time spent in the USA each year does not have to be continuous.  While you will not find this exact wording in an immigration law, the airport immigration officers use the (correct) logic that the majority of a 12 month year is generally considered to be 7 months per year. They look at your overall history in their computers. The ports of entry (airports and land) and airlines (passenger lists) report your travel activities visa computer.

The reason the airport immigration officers pay attention to whether someone has been abroad more than a few months is that there is an immigration rule that states that if a person leaves the U.S. for a trip lasting more than 6 months, they “disrupt their continuous residence.” To prove that an applicant did not disrupt the “continuity of residence,” the Airport Immigration Officer is allowed to interrogate the traveler and ask for documentary evidence of their “ties to America” (listed below).

However, the trip outside the USA does not have to be 6 months or more to trigger questioning in secondary inspection. Some airport immigration officers don’t even like 3-5 month trips abroad – they feel you are not inside America enough to keep your green card and so they have 100% authority to question your intent to live in America permanently as much as they desire.

The best defense is a strong offense – when re-entering America after trips longer than 2-3 months, always carry a folder of your “ties to America” (TIES TO AMERICA documents are listed below).

Is There a Way to Leave the USA and Keep the Green Card by Requesting an I-131 Re-Entry Permit Before I Leave?

If a loved one is very ill and needs help, sometimes there is no way to avoid being outside the U.S. for an extended period of time.  One way to help prevent the loss of Lawful Permanent Resident (green card) status due to an extended trip abroad (whether it is for 6-12 months or for longer than 12 months) is to apply for a special two year I-131 “Re-Entry Permit” before leaving the U.S.

There are many reports (read the 500+ comments below!) of green card holders being questioned in a locked room at the airport and warned to get a re-entry permit after two 5 month trips abroad. Please be warned – the airport officers may question a green card holder’s intent to live in the USA permanently even when they are gone for a few months.

Inside Tips About Preparing I-131 Re-Entry Permits

website-family-planeAn I-131 Re-Entry Permit is requested before leaving the USA, and is normally approved for 2 years, allowing the green card holder to go in and out of the USA for 2 years (or stay out for up to 2 years).  They are considered to be an official declaration of a green card holder’s intent to live in the USA permanently

I-131 “Re-Entry Permit” form appear to be deceptively simple to prepare; however, upon reading the I-131 instructions carefully, many green card holders decide to hire an experienced American immigration attorney to prepare the I-131 application for them because the stakes are so high they do not want to risk a denial.  It is best to attach a lot of “ties to America” evidence to the I-131 form and keep a copy of it before sending.

Will I Have to Provide My Fingerprints for the I-131 Before I Leave the USA? 

  • The I-131 Application for Re-Entry Permit must be submitted while you are still in the U.S.;
  • You must remain in the U.S. until your biometrics (fingerprints) are taken or the I-131 Application for Re-Entry Permit will be considered “abandoned”

 

What are “TIES TO AMERICA” Documents?

The documents listed below are often called “TIES TO AMERICA” documents and they provide a paper trail for the officer to determine whether a person has been living in the USA and intends to come back to the USA.

Most people think that merely filing an American tax return and maintaining an American bank account constitutes sufficient “TIES TO AMERICA” and that simply is not the case.

  • Round trip ticket;
  • Sold or transferred property or business abroad;
  • Purchased a car in America;
  • Had car insurance or medical insurance or life insurance in America;
  • Purchased property or a business in America;
  • Maintained a Bank Account in America;
  • Filed Tax Returns in America every year that had green card showing American address;
  • Maintained State I.D. or State Driver’s License in America;
  • Paperwork that proves you have a Doctor in America (saw a doctor before leaving and kept the receipt);
  • Got a job or volunteer position in America before leaving (even for a few weeks);
  • Learned the English language even while abroad;
  • Had accounts in America like Netflix or an american Library Card;
  • Leased an apartment in the U.S.;
  • Utility bill for apartment in U.S.;
  • Enrolled in an American online training course in English language or business while abroad;
  • Kept a file of ill relative’s medical progress or decline (doctor’s reports, prescriptions, etc.), translated into English; and,
  • Established a Facebook account based in America showing an american city as their home,  and visit it weekly while abroad using only the English language.

If Re-Entry Permit is Approved 

If a Re-Entry Permit is approved, the applicant and their immigration attorney are usually notified through the mail at their home address in America that it is ready to be picked up at the U.S. Consulate in their country abroad.  A separate permit is needed for each family member.

Possession of an approved Re-Entry Permit upon your return to America DOES NOT prevent CBP Officers at the airport from inquiring to see whether you have abandoned your U.S. residency.  It does however prevent the Officer from relying solely on the duration of your absence as a basis to determine abandonment of LPR status.

With an approved 2 year Re-Entry Permit, a green card holder is allowed to be outside the USA for up to 2 years.  However, before leaving the USA they should establish enough “ties to America” evidence because they will need documentary evidence of their ongoing “ties to America” IN ADDITION to their approved Re-Entry Permit to submit at the American airport to get back into America.  If they wish to apply for a second Re-Entry Permit, the first one must expire before submitting the second I-131 request.

If Re-Entry Permit is Denied 

If an application for a Re-Entry Permit is denied, the applicant is usually notified through the mail at their home address in America.  If an application for a Re-Entry Permit is denied, it is prudent to return to the U.S. as soon as possible.

A denial of a Re-Entry Permit does not mean that LPR status is denied.  But without an approved Re-Entry Permit, an LPR technically only has one year to use their unexpired I-551 Card (green card) and their valid passport to seek re-entry to the U.S., so it is best to return sooner rather than later.

Things that Show Intent NOT to Return to America (even with Re-Entry Permit!):    

  • Worked or attended school abroad.
  • Got married abroad.
  • Purchased a business or property abroad.
  • Purchased a car abroad.

If I Have an I-131 Re-Entry Permit Is it a Guarantee I Will Not Be Questioned Upon Re-Entry?

Even though airport officials sometimes create the impression that they would not ask so many questions if a green card holder had an approved Re-Entry Permit, this is not always the case.  Often times my clients have reported that they have been aggressively questioned by airport officials during inspection even though they have an approved Re-Entry Permit.

There have been numerous instances of LPRs being found to have abandoned their LPR status even though they attempted re-entry on a Re-Entry Permit because they did not also show the Officer copies of TIES TO AMERICA documents proving their intent to return to America after an extended trip abroad.

What Are My Options If I Have Been Outside the USA for More Than 1 Year?

If it is unavoidable for an LPR to return to the USA before being abroad for 365 days, there are 2 options.

The first option is to try to apply for an SB-1 RETURNING RESIDENT VISA at a U.S. Consulate to try to preserve their green card status.   The Consular Officers abroad will make the decision whether (a) you have been outside the USA for reasons beyond your control and for which you were not responsible; AND (b) whether you have enough evidence of “intent to return to unrelinquished USA residence” and “continued US residence.”  The rules for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa are contained in the
Foreign Affairs Manual.

The Consular Officers are very strict when applying the rules.

The second option is to surrender your green card formally at a U.S. Consulate and apply for either a tourist visa or another green card.

Why Having an Approved Re-Entry Permit Does Not Help with Naturalization (U.S. Citizenship):  

Keeping your LPR status and preserving eligibility for naturalization are two very different things with different requirements. Some of the residence in the USA requirements for naturalization are:

  • Applicant must have a permanent address in the U.S. for 5 years; AND,
  • Applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. for periods totaling one half of the 5 years (2.5 years or 912.50 days).

However, even when an applicant for naturalization has been in the U.S. for one half of the five years, if any of their trips outside the U.S. were for 6-12 continuous months, they are presumed to have disrupted the “continuity of 5 years of residence.”  The good news is that this presumption can be challenged if the applicant can present the documents listed above that prove intent to return to America.  It is always advisable to hire an immigration attorney for a citizenship case where there was a disruption of the continuity of residence.

Therefore, the more evidence a naturalization applicant has of their intent to return to America, the better chance they will have of overcoming the presumption of disruption of residence.

Even if an LPR has an approved Re-Entry Permit, when an applicant for naturalization remains away from America for 12 continuous months or more (365 days or more) they automatically will be found to have disrupted the “continuity of 5 years of residence” for citizenship purposes.

The immigration officers have no discretion when it comes to 12 months or more absence – in other words, no amount of documents can fix the problem of disrupting the “continuity of 5 years of residence” after a 12 month absence. However, there is a 4 Years and 1 Day Rule worth considering in this situation.

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562 comments on “GREEN CARD HOLDERS WHO STAY OUT OF U.S. MORE THAN A FEW MONTHS AT RISK

  1. Anonymous
    October 24, 2011

    HI danielle…i have had my greecard for about 6 years now….i got married to an indian citizen in 2008….but i got my registration marriage done IN the u.s (my husband was on a visitor’s visa) october of 2010….and i had a baby in u.s on june of 2010….now during these 6 years…i have been back and forth to india because i was dating this guy…and then eventually married…..but i have stayed in the u.s for at least half the time…..however…my son is in india right now….and i have been in the u.s for about 4 months now….now i want to apply for my citizenship…but i don’t know how long it will take…also will it help if i was married in u.s?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 24, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      Sorry, but your question is phrased too confusingly for me to answer.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  2. Anonymous
    October 23, 2011

    I am a green card holder. i left usa on the 31st of May 2011. I am still abroad. I have a Massachussets Drivers’s licence and a Worcester Library Card. I was also a Sam’s Club Associate for some few weeks. When is the best possible month of 2011 to return to the States without any problem. Actually I plan returning in the Month of November 2011.

    Please advice

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 24, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      The best month is “right away.”

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  3. Frank
    October 22, 2011

    My wife has a green card through our marriage. We’re both applying for academic jobs in the US for next year, and these jobs come with 3-4 year contracts. However, she’s also been offered a 1-year position in Europe, at a school which would be great for her career, for the 2012-2013 school year. If she accepts, she would be there from fall 2012 to spring 2013 but come back to the US regularly to stay with me, especially during breaks in the school year, and I would go visit her abroad as well. We can definitely show that she plans to return: she’ll accept a job in the US but either defer the start date or be officially “on leave” for the first year, meaning that when she returns to the US in spring 2013 she’ll be guaranteed the job and expected to work there for the next several years.

    Would the fact that she’s working overseas, even if it’s for a fixed period of at most 9 months, jeopardize her permanent resident status? Should we apply for a reentry permit to ensure that she has no trouble coming back? If it matters, she has a conditional green card right now but should have a permanent 10-year card by the time this would start.

    Thank you,
    Frank

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 24, 2011

      Dear Frank:

      Normally, if your wife was a 10 year green card holder and you asked if she needed a re-entry permit when she is confident she will return after 9 months, having made 2-3 trips back to the USA during the 9 months to see you, I would say no she does not need a re-entry permit.

      However, she is only a conditional resident. I am worried that the I-751 Petition, which is based on your marriage, may not be approved before she leaves, or that if there is an I-751 interview the officer will ask about both of your future plans together (planning to separate for the sake of a career does not sound good to them when deciding whether to grant a 10 year card on the basis of a marriage). I am required to give you the safest answer – I would discourage her from taking a position abroad until after the I-751 Petition is approved and she has her 10 year green card in her hand.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  4. Marina
    October 21, 2011

    Hello!
    I’m a Green Card holder, it expires in 2016. My question is, if I file for US citinzenship, and if I will get granted, will I loose my Russian citinzenship?! Can it be Duel (Russian and American)?
    Thank you!

  5. C.
    October 20, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    I am a Canadian citizen with a U.S. green card (valid for 10 years). I lived in USA for 16 months and held an American job for about 12 months of it. I filed my taxes for the 2010 year and I still have an American bank account. My family still lives there. I have a valid American driver’s license (though, it’s only a learner’s permit).

    After 16 months of living in USA, I was offered a job teaching English abroad. I didn’t do my research and went off hearsay, and didn’t plan to apply for the re-entry permit. Two weeks before I was to fly out, I looked up the information to be sure everything was okay, and that’s when I realized I was in danger of losing my green card.

    I applied for the re-entry permit two weeks before I flew out. I was not in USA when I got the receipt back with the biometrics date (May 2011). I didn’t have the money to fly back for it, so I skipped it — effectively making my application “abandoned.”

    I’m currently still abroad. I plan on quitting my job here to fly back to USA to live permanently (if I need to) in order to keep my green card. I’d fly back mid-December, so I will have been out of the country for about 32 weeks.

    I have two questions:

    1. Is my green card still in jeopardy of being taken away if I go back home (to USA) as planned in December? Again, I’ll have been out of USA for about 7 months.

    2. If I am able to re-enter USA without problems, and I try to re-apply for the re-entry permit, what will happen? (Will I be denied since I already applied for it but didn’t complete all the necessary requirements — namely, the fingerprinting?)

    Please let me know what my options are. I desperately want to keep my green card (because the ultimate goal here is to become a US citizen) but I also wanted to travel the world a bit while I’m still young. That being said, keeping my green card in tact is much more important to me than travelling, so I will do anything I can to make sure it doesn’t get taken away from me — even if it means I live in USA for five years without leaving.

    Thank you so much,

    C.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 24, 2011

      Hello C.:

      Just bring a folder full of “ties to America” (the ones listed in my blog article) with you upon your re-entry and be ready for questions. Usually there is no problem re-applying for the I-131 in the situation you described.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  6. Tom
    October 20, 2011

    The article posted at the top contradicts what the USCIS says. I just called and asked a representative at USCIS how long a permanent resident card (I-551) can stay outside the USA. The answer was that an absence of up to 1 year was OK. My wife’s mother is a permanent resident just returned after being out of the USA for 7 months. She did presented her resident card and foreign passport, and was admitted without any problems.

    If you have evidence that the USCIS or State Department policy is different from the answer the USCIS office gave me, please post a link.

    Thanks.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 24, 2011

      Dear Tom,

      I have heard this before and believe what you say is true. The customer service representative at the USCIS 800 number gave you one of their many rules about how long a permanent resident holder can be abroad. The customer service representatives are not immigration attorneys and are reading prepared answers to common questions off of a card. However, there are many rules about how long a permanent resident can be outside the USA. It would be too long and complex for the customer service representative to read them all. The rules are written in many places: USCIS/INS regulations, USCIS/INS policies, immigration judges opinions (at 4+ different court levels),and in CBP policies. Sorry, but I don’t have time to list all of these rules on the blog. Also, most readers don’t want to read the rules, they want my legal interpretation of the rules and how they play out in reality based on my experience.

      Just because your wife’s mother was able to re-enter the USA after being abroad for 7 months without being questioned on one occasion does not mean it will happen that way every time. It is your choice whether to subject her to hours of questioning based on your one phone call to a customer service representative who reads answers off of a card.

      With all due respect, if you don’t want to go to the law library, pay the going rate for an immigration law book ($299), or pay an immigration attorney to list the rules for you, perhaps (in the interest of protecting your mother-in-law) you do have time to read all of the 300+ comments attached to this blog article to figure it how the rules work for free. If you knew more about me, you’d know there is no way I would want to risk my professional reputation by making up rules that scare people. This is a public service blog based on over 12 years of experience, and I don’t make money off of it. In fact, if I get too many comments like yours, it is going to discourage me from writing helpful blog articles at all. To be honest, I’m just glad I’m not your mother-in-law!

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  7. Wendy
    October 19, 2011

    My 14 year old step daugther got her permanent residence through my husband, who is a Naturalized US Citizen, the immigration told them that she became automaticlly a US Citizen, because she is a minor, leaves and the USA and with her US Citizen parent, now to get her Citizen document and passport, there is a fee, and some other requirements like the legal custody of the child, my husband doesn’t have the legal custody, only her mother, and she leaves outside the USA, she doesn’t want to give my husband the legar custody, now she wants her daughter to go back to her country.
    My question is this, will my step daughter lose her permanent residence? Will she be able to become a US Citizen when she reaches 18 or 21?
    Please somebody let me know.
    Thank you

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 19, 2011

      Dear Wendy,

      Sorry, but your question is a little confusing. After you read this blog article, please have someone help you write the question again:
      https://immigrationworkvisa.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/automatic-citizenship-for-stepchild/

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

      • Wendy
        October 19, 2011

        Thank you, I read your blog.
        But let me explain you again our sitiuation.
        My husband became a US citizen through me, his 14 year old daughter came to live with us, (from Guatemalato Texas) he applied for her to become a permanent resident here in the United States (at this time her mother was ok with it) When she was approve for permanent residency, the immigration officer told them at the interview that she also became automatically a USA citizen, because she is a minor, (under the age of 18) living with her USA Citizen parent and that she was living in the United States.
        Now, she can get her Citizenship certificate, but there are some requirements, which are: send a payment of $600 to immigration, proof of legal custody among other things.
        My husband doesn’t have the legal custody of his child, just his ex wife, his ex wife doesn’t want to give him the legal custody and she wants her daugther to go back to Guatemala, and she doesn’t care if she loses this opportunity. My main question is if when my stepdaughter reaches the age of 18, and she decides she wants to live here in the United States, can she continue with the Citizenship application? or will she loose everything?

    • Dinda
      October 19, 2011

      I am a U.S. Citizen, my husband had received his green card, due to an emergency he had to go back home to Europe. He has been gone three months, and is planning on coming back way before his six months, will he have trouble entering the U.S. again, what documents should he carry and bring with him?

      • immigrationworkvisa
        October 24, 2011

        Dear Dinda:

        Your husband should prepare a folder of “ties to America” evidence (listed in the blog article) to give to the airport immigration officers.

        Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  8. Karen
    October 18, 2011

    Hello,
    My grandfather traveled to Peru in 2004 and he didn’t come back due to a kidney problem. He is 83 years old, and his wife is a US citizen, which is else is living with him in Peru. Due to his sickness, he traveled a lot to Peru. He has been granted a Re-entry permit back on 2001 until 2003. My question is can he still able to get a Re-Entry Permit again?All my family is here in the United States, he and grandma are alone there and she doesn’t want to come back without him. Please help me how to proceed, which form and proof I need to present in order to get my grandfather here with us. Thank you 🙂

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 19, 2011

      Dear Karen:

      His 2 choices are to (a) file an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa request at the U.S. Consulate to try to convince them to reinstate his old green card because he has been outside the USA since 2004 for circumstances beyond his control (this sounds tough to do) or (b) have grandma sponsor him for a new green card at the U.S. Consulate (which sounds like it would work but may take 9-15 months).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  9. callien
    October 17, 2011

    question ??
    how can the port officer know how long a permanent resident has been outside the u.s when he comes back ?
    what if he lied ,what proves like if the officer says that he abandoned and should be moved to the case of removal?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 19, 2011

      Dear Callien:

      There is no way that us immigration attorneys can know how a port officer knows how long a permanent resident has been outside the USA. They have no obligation to tell us how they know. If the port officer lies, it is up to the returning permanent resident to prove the truth through documentary evidence of exiting and entering the USA. If there are no copies of airline itinerary emails or airline boarding passes, than copies of rental records, receipts, tax returns, marriage certificates, birth certificates of children, etc. may be accepted.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  10. fari
    October 16, 2011

    hi Daniel, I am a green card holder from last two and half years and have visited to my country each year for some time period. I am going to get marry end of this year, will it affect my green card or naturalization? and if I be able to sponsor my husband being a green card holder? Please help me Thanks. Regards Fari

  11. Labhoo
    October 16, 2011

    Hi Danniel, Hope all is well. I have a question in regards to my sisters who are US Permanent Residents from last two years. They used to visit out of US for few months and come back. This time they are deciding to stay out for 8 months or 7 the least. I am wondering if they are at risk to stay out for such time, and if they are then on what legal terms they are at risk? Please guide me, Thanks in advance!!

    Labhoo

  12. Anonymous
    October 16, 2011

    hi! my mother in-law is a holder of a an immigrant visa, she has been in the Philippines for 7 months now. would there be any problem if she wishes to return to the US next month? thanks

  13. Asmeen
    October 15, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    Last July 2011, I went with my 12 year old son to the Philippines last July 2011. Both of us are already 10 year greencard holder. I left my son in the Philippines to go to school there and he will be coming back to the U.S. by May 2012 and at that time he will be 13 years old. My question is: Is there any problem for him coming back in the US? He is only less than a year (11 months) out from the U.S. and I did not apply him a re-entry permit. Now, I am planning to have a my friend bring him back here which she is also a greencard holder. What documents do I need to prepare for my son to give to the immigration officers.

    Please advice. Thank you very much for all your input, I really appreciate it!

    Sincerely,
    Asmeen

  14. jjcooper
    October 15, 2011

    ‘hi just call me jj
    Im a us green card holder and I been to my country since last first week of June,2011 And I will have to stay here till the end of this month Oct,2011 or first week of Nov,2011,due to my marriage personal problems to my husband that he is the one who seems dont want me to comeback in US anymore due to his own personal problems And that Im pregnant with his kids but he seems want us stay here so i can never after him with anything And his american man a Doctor And we been marred for 7years and we dated out more than 2years so we known each other nearly 10years, now do my green card gets affected If I try to return those times,And what should I do?who should I contact in case my problems gets worse And also base on I cannot afford any lawyer as he sent me little amount of money only each month?pls help me because even a air ticket to return to US i cannot afford thats why he seems really want me to get stock here!!!! thanks…

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 16, 2011

      Dear Jjcooper:

      Sorry for your situation.

      You have 3 choices – (a) come back to the USA prior to being 5.5 months abroad and you shouldn’t be questioned unless you have done this before; (b) come back to the USA after being abroad 6-12 months and face serious questioning and risk losing your green card, or (c) after being abroad more than 12 months you won’t be a green card holder anymore and you could try to get a tourist visa if you wish to visit the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  15. Kenneth
    October 13, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    I’ll possibly be working for an U.S. employer in China, and my question is, as a green card holder can I retain my U.S. residency without any problems by returning to the U.S. every 6 months or less (maybe 5 months) for a brief trip, then go back to working in China? I’ll keep my ties to the U.S. by maintaining my U.S. bank accounts (making direct deposit to my U.S. bank account), credit card accounts, driver’s license, SS Card, and etc… Or should I apply for a re-entry permit, to be on the safe side? But I also worried that if I got the offer and have to leave the U.S. in three weeks or so, I might have to be absent from taking the biometrics exam for the re-entry permit.

    Thanks Much,
    Kenneth

    • Kenneth
      October 13, 2011

      Hi Danielle,

      In addition to the previous questions, I wonder if buying a round trip ticket, with a specified returned date, would for some reason be better than a single trip ticket in regards to re-entering the U.S. every six months or less?

      Thanks Much,
      Kenneth

      • immigrationworkvisa
        October 16, 2011

        Dear Kenneth:

        This isn’t a game where you try to figure out how to bend the rules. Buying a round trip ticket is a trick everyone tries to use and the airport officers are not stupid – they know you can change the dates of the trip later.

        The airport officers have the attitude that you are supposed to be living in the USA the majority of the time (which equals 7 months a year). Everyone they come into contact with has a round trip ticket – so there is no extra weight that is given if you have one too.

        If you don’t have a Re-Entry Permit you can be subjected to HOURS of questioning in a LOCKED room at the airport upon re-entry. If you don’t have USA citizenship yet and you want to take a job abroad, either bite the bullet and file the I-131 or pass on the job. Sorry that the rules are so strict.

        Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 16, 2011

      Dear Kenneth:

      Yes, you really need to file the I-131 Re-Entry Permit before you leave, and if you don’t — you’ll be risking losing your green card.

      Is the job worth the risk?

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  16. Elvin
    October 12, 2011

    Hello I’m a son of a missionary US citizen, i’ve lived in the United States for about 4 years as a resident and came back to Argentina in 2008 with my family. Now i’m 18 can i return with my father with my resident card?? Taking acount that i was unnable to go to the US before

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 16, 2011

      Dear Elvin:

      Lawful Permanent Residents (no matter what age) who have been outside of the U.S. more than one year cannot use their unexpired or expired green card to re-enter unless they first go to the U.S. Consulate and get an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa and convince them that they stay abroad was beyond their control.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  17. Anonymous
    October 12, 2011

    Good day, My son and i have our GC holder since 2006, however my second son recently born is a US citizen. I have been back and forth for 6 months every year, staying the majority of the time outside the US. I would like to reside in the US permanently now, question is
    1. Can i leave my US citizen son with his father in another country while i settle myself in the US with a job etc?
    2. Which is prefered to file for my husband (son’s father) via my green card or as a US citizen?

    Thank u

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 16, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      Yes, you can leave your USA son with his father in another country without impacting your USA green card or USA citizenship.

      The waiting list for green cards for husbands of green card holders is here: https://immigrationworkvisa.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/how-to-read-the-visa-bulletin/

      There is no waiting list for a green card for a husband of a USC citizen – but it takes 4-5 months to process the green card if he is inside the USA and up to 12 months to process the green card if he is outside the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

      • Anonymous
        October 17, 2011

        Good day, Thank you Ms. Danielle Nelisse. However, based on your response, regarding with my US citizen son, i would like to take him to my husband’s country temporarily until i settle myself and my other son (who has a GC).
        1. Would immigration ask me for my US son upon my returning to the US?
        2. Also, my son that has his green card, he is in the Caribbean and I’m in the US, can someone on a tourist visa bring him through immigration?
        3. Upon filing for my husband, during the time his GC application will be going through, will he be given a work permit and SSN number so he can at least work until his GC is in hand?

        Thanks again..

        • immigrationworkvisa
          October 19, 2011

          Dear Anonymous:

          Thank you for your comment, but please spend the money on a legal consultation with an Immigration Attorney to get individualized legal advice. You and your sons futures depend on it.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
          http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  18. anne
    October 11, 2011

    my name is anne, i have questions regarding leaving the United States for 1 month. I’m a greencardholder and living in the US for about 2 years and 4 months..is that ok to leave in the US for 1 month? I just had an approved time off next year and planning to get a roundtrip ticket. But a lot of people telling me..that it will be hard to go back in the US since i’m not citizen yet. How long its gonna take for me to apply for naturalization?or how long to become a US citizen?

    thank you so much. i appreciate your answer.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 16, 2011

      Dear Anne,

      If you have not taken any trips abroad previously and are going abroad for only 1 month, you should not have have problems re-entering the USA as a green card holder. It is harder to re-enter for people who go abroad often and/or go abroad for more than 6 months at a time.

      USA Citizenship processing takes about 5-6 months. If you got your green card through marriage, you may apply after 3 years. If you got your green card a different way, you may apply after 5 years. In both situations, the USCIS allows you to submit the actual citizenship application up to 90 days early.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  19. love
    October 11, 2011

    Hi, this blog is a big help.
    I have a question regarding my boyfriend’s case. He has been given the permanent resident card since 2007 thru the petition of his mom which is a citizen by marriage. He did not stay in the US for long (9 months) and applied for the “Re-entry permit” twice because he’s studying here in the Philippines. He’ll be back in the states next year month of June, because that’s the only time alloted for him indicated in his Re-entry permit. My question now is, how long will it take him to apply for a citizenship? Will the years being a permanent resident still apply for him even if he’s not physically in the US, to apply for a citizenship?
    Thanks in advance

  20. Andrei
    October 11, 2011

    Hi, Danielle. My name is Andrei, and I’m here in the US on a conditional green card. I’m married to a US citizen since February 14th 2010 and a green card holder since July of the same year. I’m currently planning on taking a trip abroad from December 2011 to August 2012 (~8 months). I have a ssn, driver’s license, registered with the selective service, I’m on my wife’s insurance, we have a bank account, credit cards and I’m also a student here and will be taking online classes until I return. My question is how can I go on my trip and risk as little as possible in order to not lose my GC and still be able to apply for citizenship after 3 years? I also need to apply for a permanent green card in March 2012, while I would be technically abroad, and I was wondering if the biometrics can be done at the US Embassy as well. Thank you so much for all your help. Andrei.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 16, 2011

      Dear Andrei:

      It will be very difficult for you to be gone from the USA from December 2011 to August 2012 and not risk losing your green card.

      No, the biometrics for the permanent green card application cannot be done at a U.S. Embassy.

      If you are serious about keeping your green card and you still want to take the trip abroad, unfortunately you will need to hire an immigration attorney to help you (a) not lose your 2 year card and (b) successfully obtain your 10 year card. It will be tricky to properly file an I-131 Re-Entry Permit and an I-751 Petition before you leave, and you will someone to monitor the processing while you are gone as well as coordinate the timing of your flight back for the I-751biometrics and possibly again for your I-751 interview. You will also need advise on how to keep your “proof of marriage” evidence going even though you are abroad.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  21. Joy
    October 11, 2011

    Hello Danielle,
    I entered the US last 2001 and stayed until 2008. I had to return to the Philippines to help take care of my father. Unfortunately, he died last Oct. 2010. I departed the US last Dec. 2008 and is still in the Philippines up to present. My Green Card will expire on Jan. 2012. Is there any chance I can enter the US again?
    Your advice will be much appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.
    JF

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 16, 2011

      Dear Joy:

      Lawful Permanent Residents who have been outside the U.S. more than one year cannot use their unexpired (or expired) green card to re-enter the USA unless they first go to the U.S. Consulate and get an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa and convince them that they stay abroad was beyond their control.

      Kind Regards, Danielle Nelisse
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  22. Nook Saoro
    October 9, 2011

    hi,i have been in us for last 6 years, but i do want to go back to thailand to study at college in thailand.
    i dont know if i could live there for 9 moths for study then come back here every summer.
    do you know if there is any paper requte to fill up for study aboard outside of usa ?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 11, 2011

      Dear Nook:

      You are supposed to live in the USA at least 7 months (“the majority of the time”) to keep your green card. No, that is not a written rule, but that is the rule the airport officers are looking for, and allowed to apply.

      Please try and get your USA citizenship before you leave to go to school in Thailand. If you can’t, please file an I-131 Re-Entry Request for 2 years, even though you may return prior to 12 months – it proves your intent to return to the USA and your intent to remain a green card holder. Please don’t just file the I-131 form – be sure to attach at least 1 inch of “ties to America” evidence with your I-131.

      No, there is no special paper request to study abroad while keeping your green card, and merely returning for the summer is not seen as intent to keep your green card status – that’s why you should file the I-131 Re-Entry Permit.

      Everyone reading this blog tries to determine the exact rules and how to avoid breaking them. It is true, there is no written rule saying green card holders must live in the USA 7 months a year, but that is the general behavior of USA permanent residents. They are supposed to act like “permanent” “residents.”

      Green card holders should be paying attention NOT ONLY TO THE RULES, BUT THE SPIRIT OR INTENTION BEHIND THE RULES. If you were the airport officer (one who doesn’t even have a passport or make enough money to go to Thailand for vacation, let alone study abroad) deciding whether a student, who only lives in the USA for 3 months for summer vacation should keep their green card, what would you decide? Come on people!

      Sorry to take it out on this author, but I get frustrated with some of these comments and you gave me the opportunity to say something that I hope is meaningful 🙂

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  23. Anonymous
    October 8, 2011

    Hi Danielle, I am a green card holder which expires on year 2021. I didn’t know that I am 6 months pregnant until I arrived here in the Philippines. I just entered Hawaii June and went back to the Philippines last month. My question is can I still travel back to the US even if I’m 7 months pregnant? Thanks and best regards.

    -guest123

  24. Anonymous
    October 6, 2011

    Hello Danielle,
    The last time I was in the US was July/August 2009. I left in 08/2009. The whole of 2010 and up to today I have been working in East Africa on a personal business that has not gone so well. My daughter and ex wife are in the US, we share custody and the divorce was in Sept 2009. I am holding a 10yr GC that expires in 2019 but as you can read, I have overstayed over 2yrs as of last month.
    I did not apply for a re entry visa, even thou my ties are strong, I support my family monthly.
    Now I want to fly back spend thanksgiving but I am concerned about the absence. Please advice.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 7, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      As you already know from reading this blog article, the American airport officers will have no choice but to either put you back on the plane or into immigration detention awaiting to see an immigration judge, who will probably deport you, because your green card (though unexpired) is no longer valid for re-entry because you have been abroad more than one year. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been gone or for what reason.

      Your two choices are to file applications at the U.S. Consulate, either for a Returning Resident Visa or an application for a new Green Card (Immigrant Visa), and thereby get permission from the U.S. Consulate to enter the USA — prior to getting on the plane.

      Regrettably, the American airport officers have been given NO authority to let you into the USA, no matter how sad the story. Your solution is to go to the U.S. Consulate.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  25. Anonymous
    October 4, 2011

    I am a green card holder and have been out of the US for more than a year but did not get a reentry permit since i had no intention of overstaying so long, due to family issues. I was unaware my green card expired until I was at the airport last saturday and was unable to pass the check in to baord the airline, Due to a confusion with the expiration date which was 07/12/2011 (July 12, 2011) to my mistake until the person at check in points this out to me, in spanish we read the dates backwards as December 12, 2011. She advised me to go to the emabassy here in Buenos Aires to get a trasportation letter.
    which I did this last monday but at the embassied window they told me I did not apply for this since its onyl for lost or stolen greencards.

    Acorrding to some inforamtion I found online on the US EMBASSY website in INDIA, I would like to know if this applies to my case and if so should I take a copy of this information to board:

    http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/legal_permanent_residents.html

    I am a Legal Permanent resident, with an expired validity on my Green Card and want to return to the United States, what do I do?

    As outlined in 9 FAM 42.22 N2:1, a legal permanent resident of United States in possession of an expired Form I-551 (green card) with a ten-year validity may board an aircraft going to the United States if the expiration date is the only reason for not boarding the alien. No transportation letter is needed, and no fines shall be made against the carrier for transporting such an alien. However, a conditional permanent resident in possession of an expired Form I-551 with two-year validity must present evidence that the Form I-551 expiration date has been extended.

    Thank you very much

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 11, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      My sympathies for your family issues. As is often the case with the complicated American immigration laws, here is another rule you didn’t notice that applies to you.

      If you read further at the link you provided, you will see that it also states ” …a legal permanent resident of the United States (i.e. a person holding a green card) must return to the U.S. within 364 days of the last departure in order to retain status as a permanent resident.” Regrettably, your green card, whether expired or unexpired, is no longer valid for re-entry to the USA because you were out of the USA for more than one year. You have already lost your green card “status’ whether your card is expired or not. Therefore, you are not eligible to renew your green card or for a transportation letter because at the present moment you have no “status.”

      The airline staffperson possibly did not know this rule, which is understandable – they are not immigration professionals, and the law is complicated.

      You will need to either file an application to re-instate your first green card (SB-1 Returning Resident; instructions on Embassy website) or start all over again, applying for a second green card. Many persons in your situation have no choice but to surrender their first green card to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy and at the same time request a B-2 Tourist Visa in order to visit the USA as a tourist.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  26. rakia
    October 4, 2011

    Hi
    I am wondering if I have green card and I spend 2.5yrs inside usa work pay my tax rent and everything

    Now i am thing to study in Australia cause I have sister I can live with here she can support me could you please explain to me if I spend more than one year is that effect my green d my naturalization ? should I back each 6 months in united state even if I have permit resident 2yrs

    Your advise much appreciated
    rakia

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 7, 2011

      Dear Rakia:

      Yes, if you spend more than one year abroad it can have a negative effect on keeping your green card and file for your naturalization. You should apply for an I-131 Re-Entry Permit before you leave to study in Australia so that you have the best chances of keeping your green card, keep your “ties to America” going while you are gone, and assume that your naturalization will be delayed due to your extended trip abroad.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  27. Teresa
    October 2, 2011

    my father-law had a greencard which expired about 6 years ago while he was in India.He wanted to come back to US before his greencard expired ,but his son was in India. Is it an excuse to say he didn’t have any family here to stay with .Now He is in US on a visiting VISA.Is it possible for him to get a greencard and how soon he can get it.his son is a US citizen

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 7, 2011

      Dear Teresa:

      No, it is not usually accepted as an excuse that the reason a person didn’t live in the USA for a 6 year period was because they did not have family in the USA. Many people arrive in the USA with a green card without family in the USA.

      The categories and waiting list for green cards through US citizen sons is explained here: https://immigrationworkvisa.wordpress.com/category/visa-bulletin-how-to-read/

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  28. mike
    October 1, 2011

    Hi I’m mike and a greencard holder for 4 years. I’m planning to apply for naturalization on my 5th year which is august 2012. But for the past 4 years, I’ve been going out of the U.S. for trips. I had 4 different trips, at year 2007 I stayed abroad for about 5 months, at 2009 I stayed 3 weeks, at 2010 stayed 2 months and 2011 I stayed 1 month. So, here’s my question, am I eligible to apply on my 5th year for naturalization which is next year 2012? Or I have to wait for some more time? I didn’t even stayed 6 months or more for all of my trips.

  29. Vanessa
    October 1, 2011

    Hello, my name is Vanessa from Colombia, I’ve been a resident since 2009, my husband is working overseas (year), and my daugter and I are by ourselves, no family from my side and his family live in the other side of the country (we visit them once in a while), so he told me to go and stay in Colombia for 6 months, while he finish his contract. so my question is, those six months would affect my residence? i have bank accounts, credit card, we owned a house and have a driver license. I appreciate your help.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 2, 2011

      Dear Vanessa:

      Whether it is wise to go abroad for 6 months without filing an I-131 Re-Entry Permit depends on many other factors such as how long you have been married, whether you have a 2 year or 10 year green card, whether you have traveled since becoming a USA resident, whether you were questioned at the American airport during an attempt to re-enter before, whether you had a difficult marriage green card interview, whether you plan on working abroad, whether your husband plans to renew his employment contract abroad, etc.

      Please hire an immigration attorney for a legal consultation to find out the answer to your question. It takes about an hour the the immigration attorney to conduct the intake and give you the legal advice you seek which is a lot cheaper and less humiliating than being denied re-entry and then having to obtain a new green card. You and your daughter’s future depends on your decision about whether to obtain quality, individualized legal advice. All you have to do is read all the hundreds of comments to this blog article to see the problems others, who did not seek out professional advice before traveling, have had.

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

  30. Kiny
    September 27, 2011

    Hello, I have been a LPR since the year 2000. All of my family (father, mother, sister and brother) live in the USA. I lived there too but in 2002 I had to move to my birth country to go to College, first because it was way cheaper and second in this College they had a transfer program for students to go and study part of their carriers on the USA. So I studied in my birth country from 2002 to 2007 but I made trips to the USA before I was going to stay for more than a year, I also obtained a reentry permit for each year in case I had to stay for more than a year but that didn’t happened, I was able to go back to the usa before 11 months in those 5 years so I didn’t disrupt my continuous residence. In 2008 I made my transfer to an university in the usa as it was planned, and I have been living in the usa continously since that year. Now I want to apply for citizenship and my only concern are those trips that lasted more than 6 months and less than 1 year. Do I have to write a letter explaining my intentions to return to the usa even if I was studying in other country? and how can I prove that all of my family was living in the usa all that time and that I kept my ids, and my bank account because my mother sent me money making deposits to my account in the usa. I never opened an account in my birth country. I hope you could give me a hand with this issue. And thank you for this blog, it is very helpful 🙂

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 29, 2011

      Dear Kiny,

      You are welcome. Yes, you should write a letter explaining your intentions to return to the USA. There are so many ways to prove that all of your family was living in the USA during that time — sorry, I can’t list all the possibilities here. Many immigration attorneys will charge you a small fee (compared to the legal fee when handling your citizenship) to review and critique your N400 package before you submit it – perhaps that is the way to get answers that are individualized to suit you and your particular situation.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  31. Jim
    September 26, 2011

    Hi,
    I am retired U.S. military and have been married for 22 years. My wife has an active green card. She accompanied me with our children to Heidelberg Germany to work as a contractor under contract to the U.S. Army. We were applying for her citizenship when we found out about the rule of being out of country for more than a year. We have been out for seven years now. We applied for a SB-1 and were denied naturally. We came back to the Consulate a few weeks later with the paperwork to apply for a new I-130 and 230. We were told by a veteran consulate member that he could not tell use what to do however if it was him he would try to fly back to the united States and speak with an immigration judge. He said that he had spoke with collegues who all felt that our situation warrented a review. He pointed out correctly that we have never worked for the Germans. All of our jobs have been under contract for or directly with the United States Army. all of our children went to Department Of Defense schools. We have paid our taxes every year, We have joint accounts at three U.S. banking and credit union institutes. She is listed on all of my insurance she has an active Status Of Forces Agreement card and a U.S. Forces retiree dependent I.D. card. Her California drivers license just recently expired. I have a lot of documentation that in my opinion clearly shows that we had no intention of abandoning her status. He also pointed out the fact that we were still married after 22 years.

    What do you think about his advice? We are considering a trip to the States to see what might happen. He did point out that in the event that we were denied we could still come back to Germany with our round trip tickets and go back to the consulate and then apply for the new visa.

    Any thoughts?

    Thank you,

    Jim

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 26, 2011

      Dear Jim:

      Please hire an experienced American Immigration Attorney to help you with your complex immigration problems. If you are serious, free blog advice is not the way to go in your case with the stakes so high.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  32. Anonymous
    September 23, 2011

    Hi Danielle Nelisse,

    I married to a U.S citizen and got my 2 years green card on 28 of May, 2008. My 10 years green card application was accepted and I got my finger printed in May, 2011. I was told that I can apply for a U.S citizenship at the end of February 2012.

    Do I have to stay in the U.S 3 months before I filing my U.S citizenship application and while I am waiting for my citizenship to be granted? In other words, do I have to stay in the U.S in December (2011), January (2012), and February (2012) and after February (2012)?

    Thank you,
    Quincy

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 26, 2011

      Dear Quincy:

      Yes, you are supposed to reside in the USA 3 months prior to submitting the N400. You are allowed to take a brief trip after you submit the N400, but it is best to stay inside the USA during N400 processing because in most cases it only takes 4-5 months and you will need to go to (a) fingerprint appt. (b) interview and (c) oath ceremony during those 4-5 months and lately they are not happy about rescheduling those 3 appointment, which could cause up to a 6 month delay.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  33. Anonymous
    September 23, 2011

    Hi,

    My daughter has an approved re-entry permit. The purpose of re-entry and on her re-entry application is to finish her school -nursing. She’s currently in the Philippines for more than a year now. Based on your article, one of the thing that show intent not to return to america (even with re-entery permit) is attend a school abroad. WIll be this be a problem later on when she comes back in US?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 26, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      Possibly. As you probably noted from my blog article, she has to convince the airport officials that even though she attended school abroad. she still has “ties to America” by giving them copies of documents proving same. In other words, the approved re-entry permit is not all that she will bring the airport upon re-entry. The officers are supposed to look at ALL of the evidence, not just her school transcripts and re-entry permit. There are many “ties to America” that she can establish from abroad, and print out proof of them from the computer.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  34. shirani
    September 22, 2011

    Hi I obtained my green carad because my only daughter lives in the US. she is married and settled down. but i cannot live in the us for a long time because of my heart problem .I take medication every day. I canot take an Insurance policy in the US,the companies do not pay for exixting conditions.In my country medical facilities are free. In the US if I suffer a heart attack I will die .I canot pay such high bills I have bought an apartmentin the US. untill I get the citizen ship and qualify for medicare or medicaid I would prefer to live in my home country and come to the US every 2 years How long does it take to get citizenship. and how can I solve my problem without losing my green card. My husband is also unable to come wothout me.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 26, 2011

      Dear Shirani:

      I appreciate your comments, but you are asking too many complex questions for me to answer on a free blog. You can either keep researching the internet for free, or hire an American immigration attorney to provide you with a one hour legal consultation over the telephone to answer all of your questions and consider all of the options. Good luck.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  35. immigrationworkvisa
    September 21, 2011

    Dear Frank,

    Sorry, but I cannot help you try to commit fraud. If an LPR has been outside the USA for more than 1 year, she is supposed to apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa before attempting to re-enter the USA.

    Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  36. Michal
    September 21, 2011

    How the US Border Agency knows when I left the US – All citizens from our country-of-origin have an ID card. When myI travel back, I am only required to show the ID card. Therefore, the passport is not stamped to say when I went back there. Hence I don’t know what the US officials use to determine how long I stayed away for??

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 21, 2011

      Dear Michal,

      Sorry, but I cannot help you hide information from the American authorities.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  37. andrea
    September 19, 2011

    My mom needs a re-entry permit to enter the US because she was out of the country for more than a year becuase of personal and medical problems and she hasn’t applied for one before she left the US. How can she go about getting it done if she’s not here without having any major problems?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 21, 2011

      Dear Andrea:

      Sorry, but a foreign national cannot apply for an I-131 Re-Entry Permit from outside the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  38. Skye
    September 12, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    I am a LPR but have been living out of the States since the end of December 2010. I left with my husband (who is a US citizen) due to his new job overseas. When I realized I should maybe apply for a re-entry permit there was not enough time to get the re-enrty permit before we left (and I also did not understand the ramifications of all this to its full extent!)
    Thanks to your wonderful article I am aware now, that by the end of December 2011 I will not be able to use my greencard anymore to re-enter the US even though it is not due to expire until 2018. I am shocked!!

    I am not working where we are living overseas, but solely followed my husband. We will most likely not be returning to the US for a couple of years. We still have our house in the US, a US bank account, US credit cards (which we use every month), my husbands family, I still am member of a professional organization and keep a medical license for WA state as an inactive member, use my US facebook page everyday and have and american paypal account which I use when I do “business” with people in the US and will of course do a tax return for the States.
    I really would love NOT to loose my residency, but don’t know what to do??

    My question now is:
    If I were to fly to the US BEFORE I have been absent for 12 months and take all necessary documentations, proofing my ties to the US/intent to return – and let’s say the immigration officer will let me enter and keep my greencard – could I then apply for citizenship there and then?
    Is so do I have to remain in the states until it is granted?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 12, 2011

      Dear Skye,

      I don’t know. I don’t know how many times you have been outside the USA for more than 6 months and disrupted the continuity of your residence. I don’t know how many days of physical presence you have. Yes, you should remain in the USA until it is granted because it is only taking 4 months right now.

      If you get back in, it seems that applying for a I-131 Re-Entry Permit is an option.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      P.S. I highly recommend you review the citizenship requirements at http://www.uscis.gov. You are supposed to be a resident in the USA 3 months before applying for citizenship, in addition to all of the other requirements.

  39. jack
    September 10, 2011

    Hi my aunt is a us green card holder how long can she stay in india for? she want to stay for 8 months but does not want any hassel when she comes back to the usa.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 12, 2011

      Dear Jack:

      She should only stay abroad less than 3 months if she doesn’t want problems at the border. The border officials are serious about questioning those who stay abroad even 4 and 5 months. They are allowed to ask endless questions: How do you support yourself? Do you intend to stay in the USA? Did you work abroad? Do you have an American residence? How do you pay for it if you’re not working abroad? How much money do you have in your bank account? Etc.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  40. Juan
    September 9, 2011

    Hello,

    I am a US resident, just married to my wife in mexico 6 months ago. I live in the US and for the time being she lives in mexico. We plan on going a vacation from mexico to the US. is there going to be any problems at customs because I am a resident and she just has a tourist visa?

    thank you.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 12, 2011

      Dear Juan,

      Yes, she may have serious problems entering the USA as a tourist when she is married to a green card holder. It will be hard to convince the border officials that she does not intend to overstay her tourist visa until you get your USA citizenship because that is exactly what so many other people do.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  41. Cherryll
    September 8, 2011

    My father who’s a green card holder went to the philippines on a one way ticket. he’s intention was to come back after lass than a year. however, he got sick and has been out of the country for almost 2 years. now we want him to come back so he can get treatment. what is the fastest and surest way for him to comeback since he needs to get immediate medical treatment.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 12, 2011

      Dear Cherryll:

      Sorry, there is no sure fast way for him to come back.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  42. J
    September 6, 2011

    Hi,
    I am a permanent resident and went back to Europe in February 2011 to arrange the shipping of the rest my stuff, so I could move in with my partner the same year.
    Since then I had to face some very tragical things here I’m not ready to talk about now.
    I plan to go back to the states in November 2011 – in other words about 9 months later (=Feb 2011-Nov 2011).
    I don’t have an US bank account nor a driving license yet.

    What do I need to do in order not to experience any trouble at the US border because of my absence? What’s best to do prior to my flight back to the US?

    Thank you very much for your advice!

    PS I’ve seen how many people seek help here. Thank you very much for all of you who take the time to answer all these questions to help us!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 12, 2011

      Dear J:

      Because you have been outside the USA more than 6 months, you will undoubtedly endure a lengthy questioning in the detention room (called “secondary”) while the immigration officers decide whether to take your green card away or not. Sorry, I don’t have the information I need to provide you with an individualized list of documents to bring to best plead your case. In order to obtain that information, I would have to spend a few hours on the phone with you and take the time to review what you have so far and discuss what you might be able to add to your “ties to America” file.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  43. immigrationworkvisa
    September 6, 2011

    Dear Anonymous,

    No, it is not true that in order to retain USA citizenship a person needs to re-enter the USA every year.

    Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  44. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011

    Good Morning,

    I am a Belgian with a green card, but I left the US in June 2011 for personal reasons (I am married to another man and gay marriage being nor recognised in the US I was violating the law in my citizenship country by not living with him). I didn’t know that I had to fill any form and that I could loose my green card if I stayed too long abroad.
    Now, my husband has been selected by the green card lottery and he could get it end of 2012.
    Do you have any advise to give me to keep my current green card, knowing that I work in Belgium at the moment and that we will probably try to go back to the US by the end of 2012?

    Thanks for your help!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 12, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      Congratulations to your partner! You could either keep coming back to the USA and live here 7 months per year, or while in the USA file an I-131 Re-Entry Permit Request for permission to stay abroad longer.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  45. immigrationworkvisa
    September 1, 2011

    Dear Feras:

    The only way to find out is to apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa. If you would like to know your chances of success before applying, you would have to hire an American Immigration Attorney for a legal consultation to find out.

    Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  46. Josh
    September 1, 2011

    Hi,

    I was wondering what would I do in in my situation? My wife use to be a permanent resident of the United States however she lost her permanent status for being outside the US for 3 years. She now stays in Canada with her parents and as I work and live in the US. I fly back to Canada to visit her and my son every 3 months or so, I am also a US citizen. How would I go about getting her back to the US to live permanently?

    Thank you in advance!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 1, 2011

      Dear Josh:

      You are allowed to apply for her permanent residence again. Even though she lost her permanent residence because she was abroad too long, she is still eligible to get another green card through her U.S. citizen husband.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  47. disha
    August 30, 2011

    Hi,

    I have a question regarding my mother in law. she got her greencard last year in march 2010 then she went to india in september 2010 and came back in march 2011 after 6 months. So now she has to go back again for atleast 4 months now in this september, so do you think that would mess up her continuity for citizenship by going to India again this year? she will technically be living 8 months in US and 4 months in India this year. So please let me know if that would be any problem or not???

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 1, 2011

      Dear Disha:

      I can’t answer your question because I don’t know her entire history. If you truly care about your mother-in-law and her American citizenship application, you will pay $150 – $250 legal consultation fee to have an Immigration Attorney review her entire history and answer your questions.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  48. Anonymous
    August 29, 2011

    Hello Danielle,
    Please advise me on my situation.

    I have a ten year green card (expires 2014)
    Planning to visit my 2 year old son in October, he moved to a different country with his mother early this year. I will be staying there for 5 months.
    -I will be quitting my current employment as I am unable to obtain time off for the whole 5 months. Once I return and find another job I will be applying for US citizenship.
    -I was also planning not to renew my apartment lease and keep my belongings in a storage as this would be more cost efficient.

    Do you think this trip will negatively affect my N 400 application process? How? and how may I prevent there being any problems.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 29, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      Yes, quitting your American job, getting rid of your American apartment, and being gone from the USA for 5 months could negatively affect the future processing of your American citizenship.

      Sorry, I don’t have the time and space here to explain all the different problems every person, in every situation, could have in these circumstances. It is sort of like a parent asking a doctor what would/could be the complications if their baby had a fever.

      If you are truly serious about obtaining American citizenship after you return, before you leave you will pay for a one hour legal consultation with an immigration attorney to provide you with individualized legal advise before you quit your job and move out of your apartment and leave. It sounds like your immediate family’s future may be at stake, so I respectfully recommend that you act prudently.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  49. A.
    August 23, 2011

    Dear Ms. Nelisse,

    I originally obtained a 10 year US Green Card (state of TX) through my parents (Green Card holders at the time who later surrendered their green cards as they had no intention of continuing to reside in the US). However, as a young teenager, I resided outside the US (specifically in Canada) until August 2009 where I moved to the state of IL and physically rented an apartment in the United States for graduate school. Following completion of my graduate degree I was unsuccessful at gaining admission to a US medical school, but was admitted to a school in Europe that is accredited by the US department of education as well as the LCME / ECFMG – thus, qualifying me to obtain federal student loans. Being under 26 yoa, I am registered with Federal Selective Services as part of my federal student loan stipulation.

    My question:

    Since August 2009, I have only lived in the use for exactly 24 months (obviously less than the required 30 months). I am still employed with a US institution with a valid lease contract for my US address which I plan on keeping. I will not be out of the US for more than 5 months at a time for medical school (returning for 3 weeks during the winter holidays and for 3.5 months to work in the summer). Will I be ineligible to renew my green card (expires in 2013) or to apply for naturalization as I plan on pursuing my surgical residency in the US starting in 2015?

    Kind regards,

    A.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 26, 2011

      Dear Anthony:

      It sounds like it would be a good idea for you to schedule a legal consultation with your immigration attorney to answer all of your questions and provide you with an individualized detailed plan of action so that your quest to obtain U.S. citizenship will be successful. Good luck.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  50. melissa
    August 23, 2011

    Several times you have mentioned that one must “live in the US for 7 months of each year.” I have not seen this stated as a rule so I was wondering if this is your personal experience?

    I obtained my GC in 2007 and from 2007 to the beginning of 2011 I lived and worked in the US. For must of 2011 however, I have been traveling outside of the US. No trip has been longer than 3 months and I have returned to the US every few months (my house/car are there) I will be applying for citizenship soon and I am wondering if I will be successful given that I have spent nearly all of 2011 outside of the US.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Melissa:

      After you (1) read and understand both “continuity of residence” and “physical presence” (https://immigrationworkvisa.wordpress.com/category/citizenship-residency-2/)
      requirements for citizenship and (2) fill out page 4 of the N400 application for naturalization (citizenship) (www.uscis.gov) using the http://www.timeanddate.com website for your date calculations, you might have a better understanding of how much time you can spend abroad while keeping your green card and/or qualifying for USA citizenship.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • melissa
        August 23, 2011

        Hi,

        Thank you for the response. I am fine in terms of physical presence and continuity of residence, I was primarily concerned about your “7 months of each year” comments, given that I will have spent nearly 10 months of 2011 outside of the US. No doubt my activities for 2011 will be treated with suspicion.

  51. Elsa
    August 22, 2011

    Hi Danielle,
    Thanks for all the info. I just have a couple of general questions. First, how long does it usually take for an SB-1 visa to be processed? And if an SB-1 is denied, is the green card automatically revoked, or what happens to it?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Elsa:

      Each U.S. Consulate is different in terms of processing times, so sorry, but there is no general rule in terms of processing times for the SB-1 Returning Resident Visa. There can be many delays if there are problems with the application. If the SB-1 is denied, the foreign national can choose to surrender it (when a foreign national is abroad for more than 365 days the green card is no longer valid for re-entry anyway).

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  52. Saeid M Elkliny
    August 22, 2011

    hi
    iam permanent resident card holder and applied for reentery travel document but i didnt stay out usa more 6 months
    or even i didnt use the reentery document, i wanna ask please if i have broken my continous residence
    or not and about the time i was in usa before i left ,they will count it or not
    as i have to apply for the citizenship the next month
    as iam in medical school in my native country and i have to stay at least 5 to 7 months every year
    thanks for your concern

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Saeid,
      Sorry, your question is very very confusing.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  53. Meliza
    August 22, 2011

    Dear Danielle,
    Thank you for the very informative article that you posted. It really helped me clear a lot of things. I have a few things that are unclear to me and I would appreciate your help.

    I was born in the Philippines but grew up in the United States and got my green card before I was 18 years old. But apparently my grandparents and parents sent me in the Philippines and left me there alone. I lost my passport and my green card. Now 12 years later, I just want to go back and see my whole family. They are all US citizen already. I tried to get a Non-immigrant visa but unfortunately they denied me.

    What are the chances that I can get my green card back or just go back to the states to see my family? If I can’t get my green card back, how can I get documents stating that I have already abandoned my Green card so that I can be granted a tourist visa?

    I would appreciate any kind of help.

    Thank you.
    Meliza

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Meliza:

      Each U.S. Consulate/Embassy website has instructions on how to make an appointment to surrender a green card, but sorry – surrendering a green card does not guarantee that they will grant a tourist visa. Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy in Manila, PI reports the highest rate of fraudulent documents and therefore does not approve very many tourist visas.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  54. Mat
    August 21, 2011

    The I-797C says it extends your expired green card for travel for one year. Can you still use this letter for travel even if your green card has been approved? Our 10-year green card has been misplaced by the person it was sent to in the States while we were overseas, and we need to return from overseas. Just curious as to whether the I-797C along with expired card will still be valid even though they have granted the green card?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Mat,

      That is truly unfortunate. You cannot file an I-90 Form to get a new green card from outside the USA. I don’t know how the American immigration officers at the American airport will react. You cannot rely on the fact that their computers will be accurate.

      I would probably contact the U.S. Consulate in the country where you are and ask if you need a “Transportation Letter.” If they tell you “no” try to get it in writing to give to the airport officers if there is a problem.

      You also should be able to print out your I-751 approval status through the http://www.uscis.gov online status website, using either your I-751 receipt number, or your I-751 BIOMETRICS receipt number (which should be different) so that you have proof that the I-751 was approved.

      Another way to go is to contact the U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator that represents you in the USA through email and ask for their assistance in finding out whether you need the Transportation Letter or not.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  55. kirsty
    August 21, 2011

    Thank you for this helpful website.I just wanted to know how can i get my Green card back.I lived in america for 15 years and i returned back to England 5 years ago because i fell pregnant and father of my child left me,so i went back to England to be closer to family.My mum also lived in america with me for 15 years,she also returned to England with me and we both lost our green cards.Well my step-dad(he is like my dad,i have known him since i was 2),my brother and nephew is still living over in america.Me and my mum were wondering if we ever wanted to return to America what do we have to do? Me,my mom and my daughter are all british citizens.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Kirsty:

      I can’t tell from your question if your “step-dad” is legally your step-dad (i/was he still married to your mom?) or not. Here are the family categories in case your brother and stepdad are eligible to file applications for new green cards for you and your mom:

      First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

      Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

      A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

      B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

      Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

      Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

      To find out what the waiting lists are for these family green card categories, check the “Visa Bulletin” here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5518.html

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  56. Olga D
    August 20, 2011

    I have question regarding my daughters father. He is a permanent resident , point of entry Mexico. He returned to Mx for trip and lost his card. His stay was longer than expected then met a lady , stayed even longer now fathered two children there. He was was a victim of a shooting and due to his medical condition made it harder to return. It has now been about 5yrs, due to the economy in Mx he is now thinking about returning to the US. He never attempted to return afraid he was going to be denied green card because he owes arrears in child support case with ex-wife. He worked in the US for over 22yrs and accumulated benefits with social security, payed taxes every year. Where does he start to be able to return to US is possible.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Olga:

      Your daughter’s father has been abroad for more than 1 year, so his green card (if unexpired) is no longer valid for re-entry.

      In order to re-enter the USA legally, he would have to surrender his green card and start over again. Usually, a foreign national can do both at the same time (there is no need to surrender the card first).

      His first step would be to find out what green cards or nonimmigrant visas he is eligible for, despite owing child support, and the fastest way to do that is to hire an American Immigration Attorney (please, not a notario!) that comes highly recommended for a 1 hour consultation to review his entire history and give him legal advice about what to do.

      Sorry, but in his case, free blog research will not work – it is worth every penny to pay $150 – $350 to find out your whether your daughter will have a relationship with her father in person or not in the future.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  57. Anonymous
    August 20, 2011

    Hello,
    I have the 10 year GC (expires 2013). I am planning to go to another country where my girlfriend is and will stay for atleast 5 and a half months, then come back to the US and apply for citizenship.
    1) If I accept employment and work while outside the US, will this be an issue when requesting US citizenship?
    2) During the 5 months I won’t have an apartment in the US and I’m also going to be resigning from my current job in the US, will this affect my citizenship application when I return?
    3) Any advise for me before I leave? Any documents I should obtain? I will still maintain a bank account in the US.
    Thank you.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      (1) Yes. (2) Yes. (3) Please pay for individualized legal advice if you wish to keep your green card and/or obtain citizenship after traveling abroad, working abroad, resigning your USA job, visiting your non-American girlfriend abroad, and getting rid of your American residence. It all looks bad and is entirely inconsistent with how an American permanent resident is expected to behave.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  58. Jody D
    August 18, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    I applied for a re-entry permit, I am done with my biometrics and fingerprints already. I am leaving on the 21st of august unfortunately I haven’t received any notice that notify me if it is approved or denied. Mostly say that if they aren’t satisfied with the fingerprints I have to go back. How many days would I know if they aren’t satisfied with my fingerprints? Are they going to send my re-entry permit here or abroad? Is there anyway I could know if it is approved or denied via internet?

    Thanks, Jody D.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 23, 2011

      Dear Jody:

      There was a question on the I-131 that you submitted asking you whether they should send the approved Re-Entry Permit to you at your home or to the U.S. Consulate in the country you are going to and they should send it to the place you instructed them to send it.

      With regard to knowing if your Re-Entry Permit has been approved, there is an “online status” box on the http://www.uscis.gov website where you put your I-131 receipt number to find out the status of the application. With regard to how long it takes to find out if they are not satisfied with the fingerprints I’m sorry I can’t predict.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  59. Anonymous
    August 16, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    Thanks so much for this very useful site.

    My wife (US Citizen, married for over 3 years) and I will be moving back to the US at the end of September 2011 after having been away from the US this time for just 2 months. This follows on the heels of an unexpected 11-month move we took recently to be with my mother who was a victim of stroke in December 2009. Being with her during the 11 months allowed me to assist my father in providing care to my mother and for my wife and I to serve as an emotional support for her.

    Upon our return to the US this July from our 11-month stay abroad, the CBP officer let me through but instructed me to attend a secondary screening with another officer. That officer asked for my SS card, driver’s license, and itinerary. I had those docs on me so I gave them to him (my round-trip ticket terminated outside of the US). Also asked if I was working in the foreign country to which I answered, “Yes”. Anyways, fast forward, he comes back after about 20 minutes and hands me back all the supporting docs I gave him. Upon inspection of my passport, I noticed that he had annotated my “Admitted” stamp with “Out 11 months”. Then let me and my wife go.

    Long story short (We’ve decided to move back for good for now):

    – Moving back to the US end of September 2011
    – Period of time away this trip: 2 months (July 29 – September 29)
    – Plane ticket: One way, terminating in Atlanta
    – Resigning from current work abroad

    Supporting documents in hand to show when requested:

    2010 Federal and State Tax Returns
    Unexpired Driver’s License
    Active Credit Card with recent transaction
    Active Debit Card with a US bank
    Membership card evidencing membership in a religious community in the US
    Recent emails about job leads in the US (provided by contacts of my physician father-in-law who’s helping me land a job in the US)

    Note: My U.S. wife will be traveling back to the US with me, her parents are in the US and our permanent US address is her parents’ home address (as shown in my driver’s license, tax returns, credit and bank account billing address).

    Questions:

    1) Will our 11-month time away affect our entry into the US when we go back in September, even if we were away for just 2 months during this trip?
    2) Should I expect same or similar extensive questioning again?
    3) What other documents do you think I should have with me on the trip back to the US?

    Thanks, Danielle. I understand if you may not want to address all of my concerns but please do share your thoughts are regarding our situation, if possible. This would be greatly appreciated.

  60. Vahid
    August 15, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    Thanks so much for this very useful site.

    My wife (US Citizen, married for over 3 years) and I will be moving back to the US at the end of September 2011 after having been away from the US this time for just 2 months. This follows on the heels of an unexpected 11-month move we took recently to be with my mother who was a victim of stroke in December 2009. Being with her during the 11 months allowed me to assist my father in providing care to my mother and for my wife and I to serve as an emotional support for her.

    Upon our return to the US this July from our 11-month stay abroad, the CBP officer let me through but instructed me to attend a secondary screening with another officer. That officer asked for my SS card, driver’s license, and itinerary. I had those docs on me so I gave them to him (my round-trip ticket terminated outside of the US). Also asked if I was working in the foreign country to which I answered, “Yes”. Anyways, fast forward, he comes back after about 20 minutes and hands me back all the supporting docs I gave him. Upon inspection of my passport, I noticed that he had annotated my “Admitted” stamp with “Out 11 months”. Then let me and my wife go.

    Long story short (We’ve decided to move back for good for now):

    – Moving back to the US end of September 2011
    – Period of time away this trip: 2 months (July 29 – September 29)
    – Plane ticket: One way, terminating in Atlanta
    – Resigning from current work abroad

    Supporting documents in hand to show when requested:

    2010 Federal and State Tax Returns
    Unexpired Driver’s License
    Active Credit Card with recent transaction
    Active Debit Card with a US bank
    Membership card evidencing membership in a religious community in the US
    Recent emails about job leads in the US (provided by contacts of my physician father-in-law who’s helping me land a job in the US)

    Note: My U.S. wife will be traveling back to the US with me, her parents are in the US and our permanent US address is her parents’ home address (as shown in my driver’s license, tax returns, credit and bank account billing address).

    Questions:

    1) Will our 11-month time away affect our entry into the US when we go back in September, even if we were away for just 2 months during this trip?
    2) Should I expect same or similar extensive questioning again? Meaning, would they ask me questions in relation to my previous 11-month travel?
    3) What other documents do you think I should have with me on the trip back to the US?

    Thanks, Danielle. I understand if you may not want to address all of my concerns but please do share your thoughts are regarding our situation, if possible. This would be greatly appreciated.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 18, 2011

      Dear Vahid,

      Sorry, but I am unable to spend the time to answer your extensive and complicated questions on this free blog format.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  61. Anonymous
    August 15, 2011

    My uncle lost his green card in Jamaica how can he get back into the states?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 18, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      Each U.S. Consulate/Embassy’s website has instructions on how to get a “Transportation Letter” for green card holders to get on a plane without their green card.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  62. immigrationworkvisa
    August 15, 2011

    Dear Yassha:

    Sorry, you cannot get a corrected green card from outside the USA because you will have to get re-fingerprinted and photographed at a USICS Application Support Center near your American home address. To correct your green card, you would file an I-90 Form. The instructions and form are at http://www.uscis.gov.

    Regards, Danielle Nelisse

    • razia
      August 15, 2011

      Hi
      I have been an alien since march 2008,however i often leave the US ,but has never spent more than 6 months out of the US.(ontinous residency)..because of my mom being ill in my home country..In march 2013 i will reach 5 years of residency…My question is i do no think i will reach the minimum requirements for the 2.5 years spent physically in the US , can i apply after the 5 years if I reach the 2.5 years?

  63. NLM
    August 15, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    Thank you for writing such an informative article. The article did raise a question about my personal circumstances that I would be grateful for guidance on.

    I have been a US Greencard holder for twenty years and am married to a US citizen, have two US born children, and reside in the US. My current 10yr Greencard is about to expire and I have just submitted the I-90 renewal form. I spent the majority of the first five years of my current 10yr Greencard outside of the US. I was careful to never leave the US for more than a year; my typical length of time out of the country was six months, with one month back each time. I was never questioned by airport immigration officials about my travel during this period and in my mind I never intended to abandon LPR. I have now been back in the US for five years and have not left the country during that time.

    My questions is, should I be worried about issues related to my time out of country arising during the I-90 renewal process or do LPRs only have to be concerned when re-entering the country? As the I-90 is such a basic form and does not ask about time out of the country I am not even sure if length of time out of the US is available to officials or reviewed. In hindsight I should have applied for citizenship years ago and will follow that course once my Greencard renewal is resolved.

    Thank you in advance for any information/advice you can offer.

    NLM

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 15, 2011

      Dear NLM:

      You are welcome. This is a very good question. In general my clients have not had issues with renewing their green cards through the I-90 renewal form process due to the USCIS officers reviewing their entire travel history while in LPR status. The fact that you have been in the USA continuously for the last 5 years would lead me to believe that your entire travel history will probably not be an issue.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  64. J
    August 14, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    Thank you very much for helping people out.

    I have questions here. My dad and I applied for a re-entry permit. We are done with our biometrics, unfortunately my dad left the country already. We haven’t receive any letter yet. When we asked the immigration, they say that my dad isn’t done with his fingerprints.
    Isn’t that the same as biometrics? Could he do the fingerprints abroad?
    Is it possible that I could go abroad already? Anytime?

    Thanks.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 15, 2011

      Dear J:

      Sometimes when a person provides their fingerprints at their I-131 biometrics appointment, the fingerprints don’t “take” which usually means they have to return for a second time. I had one client who constantly cleaned with bleach and after 3 biometrics appointments they finally allowed her to submit the old school black ink fingerprints. Another client I had was a roofer and the same thing happened to him because his prints were too blurry from working with hot roofing tar.

      I don’t know who you are talking to at immigration (how do they know dad “isn’t done with fingerprints?”).

      If the USCIS decides that your dad needs to come back for a second biometrics appointment he should get a letter in the mail at his American address providing him with a new date and time. No, he cannot do the fingerprints abroad. He would have to fly back and keep giving the fingerprints until they are happy.

      In other words, you are allowed to go abroad after your biometrics appointment during the I-131 processing, but if the fingerprints were not clear enough, the American government is allowed to make you come back to the USA and take them additional times.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • J
        August 15, 2011

        Hi again Danielle,

        I am allowed to go abroad already, where would I recieve the re-entry permit that I applied? Here in US or abroad?

        • immigrationworkvisa
          August 18, 2011

          Sorry J, I don’t have time to find your other comment and review your information.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  65. capetownsteve
    August 14, 2011

    Thank you so much for all the free advice on this blog. It is a great resource. I have a quick question:

    I am waiting for the removal of the condition from my green card (acquired through marriage) and have just received my 797C one year extension. If I submit a I131 travel permit request now for two years of travel, will it be limited to just one year given the one year period on the 797C?

    Thanks
    Steve

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 15, 2011

      Dear Steve:

      I don’t know. I would advise you to wait until your I-751 Petition is approved before indicating to the American government that you will be gone for an extended amount of time. If you did a good job with your I-751 Petition, you may be spared the second green card interview and have your 10 year card in the mail within as little as 4-6 months.

      Keep in mind that November 2012 is when our presidential elections will occur and this often has an impact on America’s immigration rules.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  66. Anonymous
    August 13, 2011

    Hi

    I obtained my green card in 2003 and lived in the states for 2 years. I have since left the USA and have been out for over 6 years now. I do not have any intention to live in the states anymore. I have not surrender my green card yet ( it expires in 2013) I would like to visite the US for only 4 days ( on vacation) and i am planning to use my passport to travel. Since my home country is Canada and that i dont need any visa to visit the Us, will i have problem going on vacation?

    thank you for your answers

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 15, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      You will have to contact the U.S. Consulate in Canada and ask them about surrendering your American green card before traveling as a tourist to the USA. Yes, you could have problems at the border or American airport if you don’t follow their rules.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  67. Anonymous
    August 13, 2011

    Hi

    Your post is really interesting and helpful. I have a question, i don’t know if it had been ask before or not. My parents and I are green cards holder since 2003. But due to some work complications for my parents, we decided to come back to our home country in 2005. My parents tried to keep the statue by going back and for to th state within one year. But recently, due to time problem and the expensivity of doing such, they have stopped going to the states at all for almost 3 years now. I dont know if theres a way for them to apply for a re-entry?. Also, since 2005 I have continued my schooling in my home country and havent had the chance to go back to the states yet. Now i am kind of scared to take the plane..as i would like to go visit again. Last time my mother went to the states to see her own mother, the immigrant officier made it hard for her becuse she left thet states for more then 6 months and they asked her to file out a re-entry form…they threated that they will take out her green card…As for me, i would like to go have some vacation in the states for juste couple days…i personnally dont mind to loose my permanent resident card since i have a job in my home town..and that i am still young and can always apply again. But i do not want to have problem at the airport and have them threating me or asking me too many questions. So my question is, if i show my home country passport, can they still look at the field and see that i do hold a green card…and if they find out, what is the worst they can do to me? Can they forbid me to visit the states?

    thank you for your answers

    Elle

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 15, 2011

      Dear Elle:

      Your green card (even if unexpired) is no longer good for re-entry after 1 year abroad. The U.S. Consulate in your home country should have instructions on its website for surrendering the green card and getting a tourist visa approved so that you can visit the USA. There is usually no negative consequences for surrendering a green card.

      If you simply arrive at the American airport after being abroad for more than one year, the American immigration officials are allowed to take your green card and put you on a plane back to your home country, or put you in immigration jail awaiting a hearing before an American immigration judge.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  68. SGVAL
    August 13, 2011

    Hello,

    My Wife a (CR) has been outside the US in her home country for almost 2 years. Her CR expires in a few days. 2 weeks ago I filed her I-751 to lift her resitrictions. They have sent me a reciept saying that the conditional status has been extended one year and we will be recieving an appointment notice to capture fingerprints, photo, and signature. We have one child before marriage and one child that was born 16 months ago in her home country. Both children have their US passports already. The main reasons for her staying there was financial. 1 month after she arrived there we found out she was preganant. I was not working. It just made more sense for her to stay there during the preganancy. Due to the fact my business was doing very poorly it was cost effective to keep her there then to bring her back. Right now things are better for me and i would like to bring her and the kids back to the US. I want to file a DS-117 and state the reasons being as financial. We still have a bank account together. The new lease on the house is in both of our names. I have not filed taxes with her. She never took her SS card. We have no insurance or life insurance. No cars in both of our names. Really all we have together is the children. Do you think that the consulate will allow her to get a Returning Resident Visa?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 15, 2011

      Dear Sgval,

      Probably not, but you never know.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  69. Anonymous
    August 12, 2011

    Hi dear danielle,
    I have had my green card through Political Asylum, and want to know if I am allowed to go for a visit in my home country. Thank you for your answer.

    KIM

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 15, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      That’s a tough question. In general, an asylee or a lawful permanent resident who obtained their status based on a grant of asylum may be questioned upon their return to the USA from their country of origin about why he or she was able to return to the country of claimed persecution. In some cases, green card holders are subjected to proceedings to terminate asylum or green card status after they visit their home country.

      So I guess the question is not whether you are allowed to travel back to your home country, but whether you want to take the risk of losing your American green card status upon your return.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  70. Simon
    August 11, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    Thank you very much for your great effort in helping people out.

    I have a question here. My dad and my mom are LPR for 5 years but the recent 3 years, they are in Hong Kong. They did not even come back once in these 3 years so I believe they are not allowed to come back anymore.

    I have 2 questions:

    1) I’m a US citizen. Will I be able to apply for a green card for them after they abandon their current green cards?

    2) They have a house here in California. Would the abandance of green card affects them as the legal owner of the house?

    Thanks and your response is very much appreciated.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 12, 2011

      Dear Simon:

      Thank you for your kind words, you are welcome. Yes, you should be able to apply for a second green card for your parents. No, their lack of LPR status in the USA should not negatively impact their ownership of property in the USA – foreign nationals are allowed to own property in America.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  71. Anonymous
    August 11, 2011

    Hi,

    My wife came over on K-1 Visa, she is now a I-551 holder that expires 02/2012. Her mom became very ill and is requesting to see her in Lao.
    My question is, will she be able to reenter the US with her PR card? She will be leaving 08/21/2010 and 12/15/2012

    I called the US embassy in Lao, they told me she may travel to Lao with her Lao passport and US permanent card and be able to return to the US with no problem is that true?

    Thank you regards,

    VERY confused

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 12, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      Sorry, your question is written in too confusing a manner for me to answer. Please let me know the date she will be leaving the USA and the date she will be returning. Also, if she only has a 2 year card, when does she expect to file her I-751 Petition to get her 10 year card?

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

      P.S. If you read the comments to this blog, you will see where many people wished they had filed an I-131 Re-Entry Permit request prior to leaving because they could not leave their parent on their death bed and ended up staying abroad too long.

  72. Jaro
    August 10, 2011

    Hi,

    My wife got her green card in 2006 but since 2008 she has been staying continuously overseas. In 2009 she applied and received SB-1 visa but she was not able to return to US before it expired. In 2009 our daughter was born overseas.
    Just recently I have become a US citizen through the naturalization process. I am planning to bring all my family members to US in April 2012. What should we do?

    Thanks,

    Jaro

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 12, 2011

      Dear Jaro:

      It sounds as if her original green card has expired and her SB-1 visa has expired. Therefore, if she wants to become a green card holder again, you will have to pay the fees and apply for a new green card all over again.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  73. J
    August 10, 2011

    Thanks for your article.

    Currently: My 2 year PRC (based on marriage) is soon expiring. I am applying from renewal of my PRC for a period of 10 years.

    Situation: Business opportunities would allow me to return to my home country for some time but there is a chance we would want to return to live in the US after a period of 2 to 4 years.

    Options:
    1. Wait in the US for a little over a year and apply for citizenship (marriage). Once citizenship is gained I wont have to worry about time period away.
    2. Apply for a 2 year reentry permit. And perhaps a second.
    (Can i enter the US during the 2 years? and leave again?)
    (i don’t own a home, so my only ties to the US would be family, bank accounts, registered business, storage unit of belongings)
    3. Let the PRC expire due to absence and reapply when reentry is desired. How long and how complicated would this be?

    I’m leaning towards simply waiting 1 year for citizenship.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 12, 2011

      Dear J:

      I also pick option #1 – get citizenship. Even if I advise you to choose #2 or #3 for various reasons, American immigration laws could change tomorrow. Citizenship would be the safest bet.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  74. Anonymous
    August 9, 2011

    Hi,

    I have been been living in the US since 1992 when I immigrated to the States as a little kid, and I was never really ‘educated’ on becoming a citizen because I basically went to school, grew up, graduated and got a job in the US just like everyone else does. Well, until now that is! I work for an Multinational American company and they had sent me abroad for work. Ironically, my employer also didn’t take my status into consideration and had sent me abroad without ‘educating’ me. I’ve bene looking EVERYWHERE for infomration and the last section of this article helps tremendously! I have been out since March 2010, but have returned back to the US in Aug2010, Sept2010, and May2011. My two questions are:
    Can I submit the N400 for naturalization now while I’m abroad, so that when it’s time for the interview, and hopefully the actual ceremony, I can come back to attend (my contract’s also almost over in Feb 2012), and two, is there anything that can go against my case because of my ‘lack of urge’ in becoming a citizen, but it’s really my lack of knowledge about the whole situation until I’m now abroad, which I never would have thought?

    Thanks!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 12, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      As they say, lack of knowledge is no defense. It is up to you, not your parents or your employer, to educate yourself about your legal status in the USA. If you are not going to live in the USA at least 7 months per year, and you are serious about keeping your green card and/or considering applying for US Citizenship, spend the $250-$350 for a legal consultation and get a legal opinion.

      If you had a medical issue, you would not hesitate to pay the fees for the doctor, yes?

      Blogs are great for general information, but free blog legal advise for your particular case, where your future depends on it, is not a good idea.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  75. xixixixi
    August 8, 2011

    Hi,
    My husband and i went on vacation outside of USA and found out that i was pregnant. We were going to go back to usa soon but the doctor said i couldn’t because the baby was too weak. So my husband went back to usa by himself. Now i have been out of usa for almost 6 months. I really want to go back but i can’t. Doctor said i might have to have my baby here because it’s too dangerous for me to travel 18hours on the airplane with the baby in my situation.
    I am a 2 year green card holder. I did not know that i have to stay for so long so i didnt apply for the re-renty permit.
    What should i do now to keep my green card alive when i could come back to us?
    And what will happen to my baby ? Would my baby be a us citizen since his father is a citizen?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 8, 2011

      Dear xixixi:

      Sorry to tell you that you or your husband need to hire the services of an American Immigration Attorney if you wish to try to keep your green card. Please do not try to do so by yourself.

      Kind regards,

      Danielle Nelisse
      American Immigration Attorney

    • Anonymous
      August 9, 2011

      hi
      I have been a gr holder since march 2008, however i frequently leave the us and travel back to my home country to spend time with my husband and other family members, i have never stayed for more than 4 months out of the us (never broken the six months).so far i have a total of 510 days in the us and is hoping that by the time i reach my 5 years i will acquired the 2.5 years….my question is do u think that i will have any problems when applying for my citizens ship……..i also have a 6 year old that has broken her residency will that affect her?

      • immigrationworkvisa
        August 12, 2011

        Dear Anonymous:

        Yes, I believe that you and your child will have problems obtaining your USA citizenship if you do not live in the USA at least 7 months per year.

        Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  76. Ms. Mint
    August 7, 2011

    Hi. I’m a Green Card Holder, planning to be away from the U.S. for about 6~7 month. I was thinking of obtaining a re-entry permit and looked on the USCIS website to gather some information.
    It said “Permanent or conditional residents should apply for a re-entry permit if they will be outside the United States for one year or more.” so I instantly thought, “ok then I don’t need to apply for it.”.

    Now, I happened to read your article and am very confused.
    Are you just telling people to be cautious that longer permanents residents stay abroad, their risk of losing the permanent resident status becomes higher? If there is such a high risk, why don’t USCIS suggest GC holders who plan to stay abroad for more than 6 months, not 1 year, to obtain a re-entry permit anyways?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 8, 2011

      Dear Ms. Mint:

      I guess you didn’t read all of the comments on this blog article, showing how much trouble green card holders have been having when they stay abroad more than 6 months (but less than 12 months) without an approved Re-Entry Permit. Please do so at your earliest convenience.

      I don’t know why the USCIS doesn’t suggest that green card holders who plan to stay abroad for more than 6 months but less than 1 year get a Re-Entry Permit before they leave the USA. Perhaps it is because the USCIS is one division of the government, while the airport officers work for a different division. Perhaps it is because the airport officers are not attorneys and don’t have the time or expertise to keep reading the constantly changing immigration relations and immigration judge’s decisions. Perhaps it is because there is absolutely no way you can predict that you will be back on the 364th day instead of the 366th day and the airport officers have no leeway regarding whether to let you back into the USA. Perhaps the USCIS website is outdated in some areas of immigration law because it changes so quickly.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      American Immigration Attorney

  77. Zofi S.
    August 7, 2011

    Hi Danielle,
    It’s great work that you’re doing here. I posted a comment earlier as well but I don’t know what happened to it. Anyway, I needed advice on something. I’ve been an LPR for 20 years, having gotten my GC at the age of 9 months. Due to family issues which led to the fact that my mom and I did not have a permanent place to stay in the US and no means to acquire any, we had to travel some between my birth country and the US. I first entered the US when I was 9 months old, and since then I have traveled outside the US twice. The first time, I went back within the stipulated 6 months, but the second time I traveled abroad in 2002 and was not able to return within time. I wished to return to the US, but my mom was tied up in some issues and could not do so. I got a reentry permit before travelling, but due to the long stay abroad, it is now expired. I have relatives in the US, attended school there and also had medical insurance. I have applied to the USCIS with regard to the situation as well but haven’t received a reply as of yet. I was a minor while living in the US, and my mom did not earn, so we were being supported by a relative. Due to this, I do not have any tax returns, bank accounts or property ownership to show as proof of intention to return. Is the Returning Resident Visa my only choice now? And if I do apply for the SB-1 visa, would the reentry permit, my social security card, medical insurance, the USCIS application, and the family ties, be strong enough evidence to put on the DS-117 as intention to return? Also, I was a minor for most of the time that we have stayed out of the US, and could not have taken any steps on my own to return before. Can this serve as a strong enough reason for not returning earlier?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 12, 2011

      Dear Zofi:

      You should not be depending upon free blog legal advise for your immigration case. Please hire an immigration attorney and kindly stop re-posting these questions over and over again. Legal blogs are great for general information, but you are not asking general questions.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  78. kay
    August 7, 2011

    Dear Danielle, thanks for this informative post.

    I have been a conditional GC holder since 2007 via marriage, a full LPR since 2009. I just returned to the US after a 7-month trip with my husband (belated wedding back home and backpacking honeymoon). I was hoping to spend another couple months overseas this year and was wondering if I should file for a Re-Entry Permit.

    1. Do I have a high risk of getting the REP denied because I already spent over 6 months overseas this year? This was my first absence longer than 6 months.
    2. If my REP is denied, can I still come back to the US after another 3 months of travel (total 10-month absence in 2011) with my GC and “Ties to America” documents? I have been, and will be traveling with my US Citizen husband. We have a US billing and mailing address, joint bank accounts, tax filings, driver’s license and a car insurance.

    A few notes in case:
    – As I entered the US, the POE officers found a typo on my Green Card (my second, 10-year GC still says “CR6” although the I-797 says “IR6”) and told me to get a corrected one issued. POE officer also wrote “advised of residence requirements” with the admission stamp on my passport.
    – The upcoming 3-month trip will be for both family obligations and work related, and I can supply evidence if necessary (work contract with payments sent to my US bank account and/or doctor’s letters).

    After all, should I skip the REP, or… abandon the upcoming 3-month trip altogether?
    I really look forward to your reply!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 12, 2011

      Dear Kay,

      You also have asked too many specific questions to address in a general legal immigration blog.

      Please retain the services of an Immigration Attorney to answer your questions. An Immigration Attorney will need to take the time to understand your complete history before answering your questions. I know you tried to do a good job outlining your complete history, but without legal training it is impossible to cover everything we need to know.

      Your future depends on it – you are trying to be a permanent resident of the USA who does not want to live continuously in the USA – so it is worth paying for the legal services of an expert to get some answers. Contrast the risk of losing your green card and starting all over again ($1490 USD in fees plus the aggravation) with paying $250 – $350 for an hour of expert immigration legal advice. You would pay the same for a doctor if you had a medical issue, right?

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  79. Zofi S.
    August 7, 2011

    Hi Danielle,
    I’ve been an LPR for 20 years, having gotten a GC when I was 9 months old. Due to family issues which led to the fact that my mom and I did not have a permanent place to stay in the US and no means to acquire any, we have had to travel back and forth between my birth country and the US. Since getting my GC, I have traveled abroad twice, on the first occasion I went back to the US within the stipulated 6 months. On the second occasion, I traveled abroad from the US in 2002 with a valid GC and a reentry permit. Unfortunately, I could not go back to the US during that time and that reentry permit expired. I wished to travel back to the US but my mother was tied up in some matters and could not do so. I have relatives in the US, attended school there and also had medical insurance. I have also applied to the USCIS with regard to this matter but have not received a response as of yet. Is the Returning Resident Visa my only choice now? And if I do apply for the SB-1 visa, are my reentry permit, social security number, medical insurance, the application to the USCIS and family ties with the US, strong enough evidence to be put on the DS-117 as intention to return? Also, I was a minor during most of the time that I had to spend abroad and therefore could not take any steps for returning to the US on my own. Can this serve as a strong enough reason for not returning earlier?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 8, 2011

      Dear Zofi:

      Sorry, but you have too many questions for me to answer on this free blog. If you are serious about returning to the USA, you will have to retain the legal services of an American Immigration Attorney to provide you with a legal opinion after taking the time to review your entire timeline and the particulars of your case. Good luck.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      American Immigration Attorney

  80. Manuela
    August 5, 2011

    I became a US citizen in 2004 and have been trying to bring my retired parents over here from Germany. In 2006 they both received their green cards (resident alien status) while still living in Germany. The German economy made it extremely difficult to sell their house, which was necessary to have the money to start a new life here. My parents were told by the American consulate in Germany, as long as they travel here ones a year, everything would be fine until they can move to the US. We were never told to file any additional paperwork for traveling back and forth. For 2 years they visited the US yearly, traveling with only their green cards. They encountered no problems until 2009, when airport officials grabbed them and questioned them aggressively without a translator or myself present. They were threatened with being held there for about a week, until a judge became available for a hearing, if they didn’t sign paperwork (I-407 abandonment of lawful permanent resident status). They were scared and not knowing what they did wrong to get treated that way, they signed the papers and lost their cards. They were told it was no big deal and they can just reapply when they are ready to come live in the US. I have been searching for answers to solve my parents situation for years now. We’ve consulted with an immigration lawyer in our town at the time it happened, and she just laughed at us. I contacted the American consulate in Germany, US border patrol, even our state senator who was sympathetic but couldn’t help. The lawyer and border patrol told us to simply file again once they are living in the US. My parents finally sold their home and came back to the US a few days ago. I can’t find any information on what I need to do next. Do I file an I-90, if so it says to prove residence in the US by showing a utility bill, which they only get if they purchase a home, but they are afraid to buy a house, if there’s a chance they get send back to Germany…. please help, and thank you so much for your time.

  81. Tina
    August 4, 2011

    I have been studying abroad for the last 2 yrs with a RP. It expires Sept 16 but since I’ll be starting another semester the first week of Sept I won’t have time to stay in the US for the biometrics test. I plan on going home at xmas time to visit, will I have a problem entering the US? Also I was thinking about applying for a second RP when I visit in the winter but if I go home between semesters (every 4 months) to visit for a week, is it necessary to reapply for a second one? I finish school in 2013 and plan on moving back to the US after.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 5, 2011

      Dear Tina:

      I am going to assume that an RP means “Re-Entry Permit” and that expires 16 Sep 2011. I am also going to assume that you have been outside the USA for 2 years studying abroad. If you wish to continue school abroad and also keep the American green card, you may have to arrange to skip a semester.

      The tricky part is that I don’t believe you are allowed to submit the new application for the Re-Entry Permit until the old one expires (after 16 Sep 2011) and you CANNOT leave the USA until after your biometrics appt.

      Your other choices are to (a) apply for a Returning Resident Visa by convincing the US Consulate that you had to stay outside the USA for reasons beyond your control (and school is not considered a reason beyond your control) or (b) surrender the green card at a U.S. Consulate and apply for a tourist visa for brief visits to the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      American Immigration Attorney

  82. Anonymous
    August 3, 2011

    I only keep my green card to visit my parents as my mom remarried an american, have had it for 30 years but have lived outside of the us for about 10 years where my boyfriend is. I go once or twice a year for just a few days to visit them as they are old. the GC expires in 2014..and i was just going to let it lapse.

    However, since i dont care about keeping the card, is it ok for me to go to the tourist line, and mention i’m about to revoke the GC? what is better? also if they confiscate it, will they let me in at least when i am there or do they send me back to my country?

  83. Gareth
    August 1, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    I was wondering what happens if I abandon my Green Card Application. I have been married to a US citizen for two years now. We have just had our first child (she is 9weeks old). I work outside of the country and travel on a 4 weeks away at work followed by 4 weeks at home (USA). I am a U.K citizen.
    I am in the process of getting my green card, all I have left is my final interview. However my Company have now offered me a great position that will be residential in Dubai for a couple of years. My wife daughter and I would like to take the opportunity. But what would happen if I abandon the Green Card? Would I then be able to apply again in a couple of years when we would want to move back to the USA?

    I look forward to your advice in this matter.

    Regards
    Gareth

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 2, 2011

      Dear Gareth:

      It sounds like you are very close to getting your green card through your USC wife. One strategy would be to get the 10 year green card and then before you leave the USA for your new job position abroad, file an I-131 Re-Entry Permit so that you can stay 2 years abroad without losing the green card. So far, most of my clients have been successful in getting a second I-131 Re-Entry Permit approved for an additional 2 years abroad. The key is that before you leave, you should establish as many “ties to America” that can be ongoing (such as an American bank account, etc.) so that when you re-enter you can print out many documents that prove you have “ties to America” to present along with the approved I-131 Re-Entry Permit.

      Or, another strategy is to either not get the green card, or abandon the green card. If you get the green card and want to let it go, you have to make an appointment at a U.S. Consulate to officially surrender the green card – it is not automatic. Yes, you can apply for a second green card based on your marriage. If you are no longer married to a U.S. citizen, you would have to wait until your daughter turns 21 years old to get a second card through her.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  84. immigrationworkvisa
    July 27, 2011

    Dear Nicole,

    Please file an I-131 Re-entry Permit before you leave, and when you return, bring the approved I-131 Re-Entry Permit along with a very large file of “ties to America” documents (read my blog for the list) to prove you intend to live in the USA permanently.

    All you have to do it read all the other comments to see how many things can go wrong – this is the best way to protect you and your baby’s future in the USA.

    Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
    American Immigration Attorney

  85. immigrationworkvisa
    July 27, 2011

    Dear Nicole,

    If you can’t limit your trip to under 6 months (not just a few days less than 6 months – what if there is bad weather or the plane is delayed!) then please file for an I-131 Re-Entry Permit before you leave. As you can tell from all the other comments here, because you can’t predict the future and you can’t file the I-131 from abroad, it is the best protection for you and your baby.

    There are so many unpredictable things that can happen that could easily extend your trip beyond 12 months – just read all of the other comments.

    Please don’t forget that you not only need to bring the approved I-131 to show the American immigration officers at the airport upon re-entry but ALSO many documents showing your ties to America.

    Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
    American Immigration Attorney

  86. jason
    July 24, 2011

    hi i have just been turned down for a returning resident visa at the american embassy in london.I left the usa in 2008 to return back to the uk on a short return visit but then found out my father had cancer and i have stayed to take care of him.I have a 8yr old daughter who is a US citizen(lives with ex-wife)and my own house still in the USA(which i have title deeds)..i have no idea what step to take now???
    1.can i re-apply for returning resident or would that be a waste of money and time?
    2.can my daughter petition for me?Her mom is in full agreement of my return and would counter sign any form(would that be allowed?

    i am desperate to go back and return home to my daughter and the life i had as i were living and working in the USA for 8 yrs in a very well paid job
    Hope you can help

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 27, 2011

      Dear Jason,

      I understand from your other comment that you have your 10 year green card through a previous marriage that would have expired in 2015.

      I don’t see how asking for a returning resident visa again would work if they already said no.

      Your daughter will need to be 21 years of age to sponsor you for another green card.

      While you wait, one option is to officially surrender your green card, which is no longer valid to use for re-entry anyway, and apply for a B2 Tourist Visa to visit your daughter. Another option is to apply for a work or student visa to be in the USA. A third option is to get another green card through a second marriage to a USA citizen.

      I cannot emphasize enough to everyone, especially those with children, the importance of either coming back to the USA to file a I-131 Re-entry Permit when finding out that a lengthy trip abroad is imperative or going through the steps to get USA citizenship in order to protect your USA permanent residence.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      American Immigration Attorney

  87. Charly
    July 22, 2011

    Hello Danielle,

    I’ll try to explain my situation:

    My wife, my son and I all have valid B1/B2 visas, we are planning a trip for Christmas to the US, I have an appointment at the US consulate in three weeks to renew my daughter’s B1/B2 visa (she had one and expired last may)

    I’ve just find out that I got selected for further processing with the 2012 DV Visa (Very happy).

    My questions are:

    Should I send the forms to the KCC right away or should I wait and renew my daughter’s visa and then send the forms?

    I don´t know after sending the forms how long will it take to get the interview at the consulate, but I expect it will be for the next year so we could all travel to the US in December as tourist and then come back, have the interview at the consulate and move to the US in or about June 2012.

    If for some reason I have the interview before our December vacation and get the immigrant visa, how should I enter and the leave the US? Our vacation plans are for 3 weeks.

    Thanks for your reply.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 22, 2011

      Dear Charly,

      You have too many questions and too complex of a situation to be relying on free blogs.

      You have two choices; you can hire an American immigration attorney for $2,500 – $3,500 USD to guide you through the process, or you can buy a newly released book (that I recently edited so I know it is up to date) for $19.50 USD (I believe it can be downloaded).

      http://www.mygreencard.com/order.php#Winners

      You should not rely on free legal advice through blogs on such an important complex topic for you and your family.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  88. mike
    July 20, 2011

    my situation is complicated and probably everything was done wrong
    my hope is that I did not loose lpr status
    I received a green card as a child; I do have a social security number

    stayed in USA for approx. 2 years
    father was with US Army, he was stationed (with family) several times in Germany
    I always had a german passport, all travelling, leaving USA with German passport
    went back to USA for 8,9 school grade
    stationed again in Germany afterwards;
    stayed in Germany
    working in Germany since 20 years
    bought a house in Florida in 2011 (on paper, did not go there yet)
    will travel to USA with my german passport this year;
    want to work for a few weeks in USA or later on stay longer than 3 months at one time

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 22, 2011

      Dear Mike:

      You will have to formally ask the U.S. Consulate in Germany what your status is; if you are an LPR you are not supposed to enter the USA as a tourist. German citizens who are U.S. LPRs are allowed to work in the USA, but German “tourists” are not. If you enter the USA on using the “visa waiver” you are considered a “tourist.”

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  89. Nicole
    July 16, 2011

    My brothers and my mom have green card as well as my dad but they left out of the country due to my dad’s job. They left in June 2009 and to keep their green card, they’ve applied for I-131 and it expired on July 8 2011.

    it is a fact that my dad will probably wont come back to america but my mom wants to keep green card for my brothers and she wants to know if they can still keep their green card since it only expired 10 days ago. My brothers couldnt come here before the time of expiration date because the summer vacation in that country starts in end of july.
    Could school be the good reason to explain it to the embassy as well as is it possible for them to keep their green card despite the fact that they applied for I-131 and has been out for the country more than 2 years?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 22, 2011

      Dear Nicole:

      Probably not, but they could try.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  90. akroezen
    July 14, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    My husband and I are in Australia for a working holiday. I’m a citizen, he’s a permanent resident. During our stay here, his 2 years GC expired and he was granted his 10 yr GC. Originally, we had a re-entry permit, but that expired with the 2 year green card. We have been in Australia since March 2010, and will be returning permanently Sept 2011. We had intended to return earlier but we got pregnant and could not travel. My husband returned back to the states in Feb for his biometrics, but will not have gone back from Feb to Sept, and we do not have another re-entry permit. Will this be a problem for him to enter the states after being gone for 7 months? We do have some of the evidence you suggested such as taxes, bank accounts, and selling property here.

    • akroezen
      July 26, 2011

      Hi Danielle,

      I’m not sure if you can’t offer advice, or if I’ve just been looked over. Anyway, I’ve contacted the Embassy and they said anything under 1 year should be fine. However, when I asked my Mother to send my husband the new green card that had been sent to her US address, she has lost it! (Well, not lost it completely, but put it somewhere “safe” and can’t find it anywhere) so we are likely to have to return with only the valid extension letter unless she finds it before Sept and mails it to us. Will it be a problem to be out of the country for 7 months as well as return using the extension letter (it says valid for work and travel)?

      • immigrationworkvisa
        July 27, 2011

        Dear Akroezen,

        You may need to retain the services of an Immigration Attorney to help you. Your case is too complicated to answer here. The Immigration Attorney will need to spend time reviewing your husband’s complete history in order to help you. For example, the immigration attorney will ask questions about previous trips, previous marriages, activities abroad, activities in the USA, etc. It is impossible for any immigration attorney to give you the attention you need without spending time on the phone, through emails, reviewing documents, and/or meeting you in person.

        We don’t want to tell you that it would be OK to do something because we don’t want anything bad to happen to your husband because of us.

        Good luck, Danielle Nelisse

        P.S. Perhaps it would be cheaper to hire an investigator to go to mom’s house and search for the new green card and mail it to him? 🙂

  91. Vijaya
    July 13, 2011

    Hi, my husband is planning to go overseas for work for 5 years, he is a us citizen and I am a green card holder since 05. if i go with him with the form I-131 approved and come back within 2 years….do I need to re apply for another one here in US or can I do from overseas? or to be easier…once i go overseas can i apply for citizenship over there as I’ve been leaving here for more than 5 years now?? what about interviews and the process that comes along with naturalization??? can I do all overseas or do I have to be here?
    thank u

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 14, 2011

      Dear Vijaya,

      Some people can get free information off of blogs and some people can’t because their situations are too complicated. Regrettably, you may need the advice of an immigration attorney to guide you in keeping your green card and getting citizenship if you plan to travel abroad for an extended period of time. Please do not try to cut corners and decide not pay for legal advice – your future depends upon it.

      If you don’t want to hire an immigration attorney, stay in the USA for the next 4-5 months and get your USA citizenship so that you won’t have these issues.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  92. carlo martinez
    July 10, 2011

    my wife is coming here from the philippines on jul 20 and leaving august 28 just to visit here and see what it’s like to live in america but she wasn’t planning on living here permanently until after our big wedding ceremony in the philippines on apr 29, 2012. we just had a small ceremony to get the visa.

    stupid me i thought after she gets her visa, and green card shortafter, she’s ok to enter and exit the country as she please. this will be around 8-9 months she will be gone from the U.S. after her reentry.

    how bad of a shape are win in? can we do anything so she will have a smooth reentry next early may after our wedding? we will be flying back here together for what its worth

    thanks so much,
    carlo

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 14, 2011

      Dear Carlo –
      I can’t tell from your question whether your wedding is legal, or whether your wife has a green card or tourist visa. Also, I would need your wife’s complete history of her visits to the USA, previous marriages, and children.

      Feel free to email me the question again at danielle@immigrationworkvisa.com.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  93. Duaa
    July 10, 2011

    Im a green holder since 2010..styed on USA around 3 months..on summer last year..and came back to complete my study..coz if studied in US I hav to start from th beginning..now I wana go back to USA and stay there wth my family..will we go back to USA without any problem if we show them our documents for the college..?
    After leaving america for 11 months.
    Thank u

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 14, 2011

      Dear Duaa:

      You can try to return to the USA so long as it is prior to being abroad for 12 months and so long as you bring a lot of paperwork to the airport with you to show the officers that (a) you went abroad to study; (b) that you were in the USA for 3 months, and (c) that you have many “ties to America.” It will be up to the airport officer whether he allows you to re-enter the USA or not.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  94. Janet
    July 10, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    My brother is a green card holder since 2008,because of U.S. bad economy, he has to go back to Hong Kong to work and each year he come back here to stay for couple weeks. He used his home country passport and green card to enter here.He came to the States through Visa H4..Recently he got back some of his money from the bank for misleading him in investing. He is going to buy a house in here.He also has a ID card and a bank account. Is that enough prove ties to America?
    Thanks
    Janet

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 14, 2011

      Dear Janet:

      Your question is written in a way that is very confusing, and I’m sorry I cannot answer your question.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  95. Dale
    July 9, 2011

    Dear Danielle Nelisse,

    I have a question reguarding my step daughters position as far as her status in the US. My wife and her have permanent resident green cards and I am a US citizen. Our daughter attended school and graduated high school and was in the US 4 1/2 years while attending and living in the US. After she graduated high school a year ago in June she decided to attend college in her home country of France due to attending a university in the states was not in our budget at this time due to the current economy. My question is our daughter would like to come visit us here in the states for a couple weeks. Are there any problems with her coming to visit as there was no paperwork generated that she would be living and attending college in France a year ago. If you could please advise my wife and I what our options are for her visit.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 14, 2011

      Dear Dale,

      It sounds as if your step-daughter has been abroad for over 1 year without an approved Re-Entry Permit. Therefore, she cannot use her green card to re-enter the USA.

      Her options are either to try to keep the green card, or surrender the green card. Both decisions are made by the U.S. Consulate in France. If she chooses to surrender her green card, it is up to the U.S. Consulate whether they grant her a tourist visa to visit the USA in the future or not.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  96. immigrationworkvisa
    July 5, 2011

    Dear Disha,

    Your mom-in-law is supposed to spend 7 months a year in the USA. She has already disrupted her residence by staying abroad for 6 months. If she has to go abroad again for more than 5 months, she should (1) apply for an I-131 Re-entry Permit before she goes (2) put together a file of “ties to America” (please see blog article for examples) before she goes and take it with her; (3) document the reason she has to keep leaving; and, (4) make a long term plan to stay in the USA or make the decision to give up her green card and visit as a tourist.

    Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  97. immigrationworkvisa
    July 5, 2011

    Dear Russell,

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Yes, your trips abroad could delay your USA citizenship. You (and I) don’t know what the citizenship rules will be in 2012. Either choose to go back to the PI to support your mom and see what the citizenship rules are when you return, or stay in the USA and get your citizenship first.

    Yes, after 5.5 months abroad the airport immigration officers are allowed to question your intent to stay in the USA. The airport officers have the authority to question anyone at anytime, even if they are gone less than 6 months. There is no rule that you cannot be questioned because you stayed abroad less than 6 months. And yes, they can question you again (which may entail putting you in the secondary holding cell for multiple hours, whether you have children with you or not) after your 3 month trip in 2012. Regrettably, they are not sympathetic when immediate family members have died, or when children are present.

    Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  98. immigrationworkvisa
    July 5, 2011

    Dear Camille:

    Yes.

    Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  99. Ada
    July 4, 2011

    Hi,

    I’m a green card holder for almost 10 years and my GC is going to expire Dec this year. One year after I got my GC, my husband and I left US to take up a job outside of US. Even though we came back once in a while, we never stayed long. Luckily, I didn’t get much problem so far. I was allowed to get in (except questioned once and had my passport chopped).
    My questions are:
    1) I know technically my LPR is no longer valid, but is it worth a try to go back to US and get it renew?
    2) I just learned about N400 via 319b which does not require the applicant to physically stay in US. Since my husband is working for an American firm which sent him to work abroad, I’m eligible to apply through this mean. I’m preparing the application package now. I just wonder, in case I have an interview, will I be challenged about my invalid LPR status (as I left US for such a long time)?
    3) If the above doesn’t look good, can I surrender my green card, re-apply it and then file N400?

    Your prompt reply will be much appreciated.
    Thanks.
    A.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 5, 2011

      Dear Ada,

      Your case is very complicated, and you shouldn’t be relying on free blog advice. My recommendation is for you to hire an American immigration attorney who will ask you many questions in order to provide you with quality legal advice. I would not want to give you any advice that may hurt you.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  100. youssef
    July 3, 2011

    hello
    im green card holder since 2007, i left usa on 2009, i satyed in my country beause of the bad economy in usa on this time, now im planing to go back to usa, is there any problem even i stayed out side off usa more than 2 years ?

  101. Ainura
    July 2, 2011

    My son has a green card from August 2010, he was 15 y,o. He left to back country in September 2010 to complete his edycation in high school. He is going come back in July 2011 it`s 10 months total he was out. Now he is 16 y.o.
    I read all information above but have only two questions;
    1. Immigration officers will be strict to him, I mean to such age at the airport to re-enter?
    2. What type of evidence my kid needs to have with him?
    Thank you,
    Aya

  102. Anonymous
    July 2, 2011

    Hi there,

    my husband is Australian and we have been married for 7 years. For my work, I have had to be in Europe. My husband has his own company in New York. He is a film maker and he is filming a huge amount outside of The states. He hasn’t been back to the states in over a year, due to the filming. However, we still have our permanent residence in the US, pay taxes in the US; he gets paid through his US company for his work. One last thing, his Green Card was recently lost. Will it be a problem for him to have is green card status if he works always outside the US but continues to pay taxes, banks, have residence etc in the US? Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 5, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      If your husband has already been outside the USA for over a year, he may have already lost his green card status – not just the card itself. He is expected to live in the USA at least 7 months each year. Because he has been abroad more than one year, even if he had his green card he couldn’t use it to re-enter at this point (even if it is unexpired). If he is interested in trying to get his green card re-activated, he must apply for a returning resident visa at the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in Europe. Here is some information: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  103. Russell
    June 29, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    I think we’re changing our plans to just leave the Philippines for the US on October 15, which means we would have been in the Philippines for less than 5 months. Do you think the US port of entry officer will still have grounds to “revoke” our Greencard/permanent resident status in that case?

    Once we get back to the US on Oct 15, we plan to leave there for the Philippines again on December 30 and will stay in the Philippines till May 30 (5 months again). Since that 5 month trip is coming off the heels of our 2011 5 month trip, can the US port of entry officer revoke our GC then?

    Thanks again!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 5, 2011

      Dear Russell,

      I do not believe the immigration airport officers will revoke your green card status IF each time you re-enter after each 5 month trip you present an updated thick envelope of “ties to America” (please see blog article). (Make sure you keep a copy of what you give to the immigration airport officers.) However, I do believe you may be questioned at length upon each re-entry.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  104. Veronica
    June 26, 2011

    My is a permanent resident since august 2008. He left USA on october 2008 and came back on August 2009. He applied for the reentry permit that was approved and it will expire on August 26, 2011. Now, he is coming back on July 1, 2011 but leaving again on August 15 this year. My question is if he can apply again for a reentry permit for other 2 years?if so, how long does it take to get an appoitment for the finger prints? or
    he can just leave now in August and come back next year in July before the year period?.
    The reason why he is leaving is because my brother,24 and 25 years, are by themself in my country and their papers will take 5 years to arrive. (3 already passed).
    in this situation, what is more beneficial for my dad?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 5, 2011

      Dear Veronica,

      Your dad’s second re-entry permit may be approved, but that does not mean that the airport immigration officers will let him back into the USA. He is supposed to present not only the approved re-entry permit, but ALSO a thick envelope of documents proving his “ties to America” (PLEASE see my blog article).

      I don’t see how he could have accumulated very many “ties to America” when he has been abroad so long. Because your brothers are not children, the airport immigration officers will probably not be very sympathetic concerning why your dad is not in the USA at least 7 months per year.

      It may take 3-6 weeks to get the fingerprint appointment notice after filing the second I-131, but check the rules – last time I looked, the second I-131 application could not be submitted until the first one expired.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  105. Whitney
    June 25, 2011

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and the answers you provided to some tricky questions. I will try to keep mine simple.
    Can the wife of the GC holder, through divorce or otherwise, rescind sponsorship? Have lived outside of the country for 5.5 yrs, he did not renew extension and now wishes to move back to the USA, without his (ex)wife and children, for work. The GC holder also has not paid the IRS for over 7 years, both while within and without of the USA.

    I intend on contacting an attorney regarding this matter, however I would appreciate your response, as I am currently in the fight of my life.
    Warm Regards,
    wb

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 5, 2011

      Dear Whitney,

      I would not presume, without knowing your complete history, to give you legal advice concerning trying to “rescind” a marriage green card. There may be negative repercussions for both of you and I would not want to be responsible. Yes, it is a good idea to hire an immigration attorney and pay for their time to listen to your entire story in order to get legal advice that won’t hurt you in any way.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  106. Daniel
    June 21, 2011

    Hello!
    One question, please!
    Do they have any evidence of my last exit?
    I ask you because last time I’ve left USA (almost one year ago), no one asked me anything and I didn’t see anyone taking any notice for a further evidence about my exit.
    On the airport, when you come in, they usually ask you for how many time you’ve spent outside of USA.
    If I’ll answer “3 months”, will I risk anything? Will they know that it’s not true?
    Thank you in advance!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 21, 2011

      Dear Daniel:

      There are many ways that the USA government keeps track of exits; one of the ways is through the airline passenger lists. You should not lie to representatives of the USA government.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  107. Tara
    June 19, 2011

    Hi . I have been married to US citizen and I could file for naturalization in December 2010…But we (me, my husband and our baby) flew for New Year to my home country, than my husband came back to US after 3 months, and we were planning to stay 3 more month(total 6) than go back to US and file for the passport, but I got so sick that can’t fly right now:( I have to stay for one more month at least.Will it be problem?? I mean I ll take all papers from doctors here and translate to english..my husband is in USA, our son was born there, and will it be a problem if I file for naturalization now(from Russia) or no need to lose time if they are going to deny it?
    You say that:
    “•Applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. for periods totaling one half of the 5 years (2.5 years or 912.50 days).”
    but I know as a wife it need to be a half from 3 years… and I stayd in US much more than that, Had a baby there and lived much more than half of 3 years.
    So PLEASE can you tell me if me and our baby will have a problem returning after 7 months of being ou?
    Thank you .

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 21, 2011

      Dear Tara,

      Yes, because of your absence from the USA, you may not only have problems getting US citizenship, but you may have problems keeping your US green card.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  108. Paul
    June 13, 2011

    Hello,

    I am a Canadian citizen living in States as a LPR since Sept 2006. I have a job offer back in Canada and am wondering if I can file N-400 within 90 days of 5 year requirement and move to Canada and take the job? or do I have to maintain a residence in a border town in US and cross border daily until I get naturalized? Will it be an issue during the interview that I am working in Canada?

    Thanks.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 17, 2011

      Dear Paul:
      It’s a bad idea to live and/or work in Canada if you want to keep your U.S. green card or obtain U.S. citizenship.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  109. rabah
    June 8, 2011

    good morning.
    i am outside usa ,in the end of the june month’s that will be more than six months outside us.
    it’s that a problem?because i read on the website to don’t stay outside us for one year or more
    please tell me if there is problem.
    thank you

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 11, 2011

      Dear Rabah,

      Yes, if you stay outside of the USA more than 6 months you may be questioned at length at the American airport upon your return about why you stayed outside the USA so long if your intent is to be a Lawful Permanent Resident of the USA.

      The airport and other border officers have the attitude that if you desire to have an American green card, you should not live outside of the USA. You may be asked to show documents that prove you have ties to America, such as American tax returns, American bank account statements, American drivers’ license, proof of American employment, etc.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  110. Abrar
    June 6, 2011

    My wife is a GC holder since 1999 & her current GC is valid till 2019. She is eligible for naturalization now. Back iin 2003, as a teenager, she was out of the country for more than a year. She ws accompanying her father on re-entry who was out only for 7 months. So the Immigration officer questioned her father about his stay outside & since she was with him, he stamped her passport with ‘ out 7 months’. since then she has attended college in the US & has been living here. Is her LPR status in jeopardy because of this & will she have problems when she applies for naturalization?

  111. LURIMS
    June 6, 2011

    My dauther completing 18 years on Jan 29 2012, is planned to study aboard from this year. She is planning to leave in Oct 2011 and we are working on applying for Re-Entry permit. But if we mention reason for going out of the conutry as Education, will that be a probem? Will her re-entry be accepted?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 11, 2011

      Dear Lurims:

      In general a short study abroad is usually an acceptable reason to apply for a re-entry permit.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  112. Anonymous
    May 31, 2011

    I am a GC holder since 2005. I went to Mexico in july of 2010 and stayed there for 9 months. Came back in april of 2011 (no problems at all coming back)and are currently still in the usa and planning on staying here till the begining of august. I have to go back to Mexico and stay there 4 1/2 months. Am I at any risk of being denied to enter the country when I come back after those 4 and half months? should I apply for a reentry permit?
    thanks for your advice!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 3, 2011

      Dear Anonymous:

      The general rule is that green card holders need to be inside the USA at least 7 months per year.

      Every time a green card holder re-enters the USA, the port or airport authorities have the right to ask you to prove that you are still living in the USA. The longer and more frequently you are outside the USA (even if it is less than 6 months), the more likely they are to ask you to prove you are still living in the USA. In your case, it would be a good idea to carry an envelope full of copies of your recent USA tax return, USA bank statement, American apartment lease, American driver’s license, etc. whenever you re-enter the USA.

      Sorry, I do not know your complete history or future travel plans so I cannot advise you on whether you need a reentry permit for the next 2 years or not. The green card is difficult to get, so it is a good idea for you to err on the side of caution and pay for a private consultation with an American immigration attorney to find out.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  113. Sadie
    May 27, 2011

    Help, I am arriving in the US on Saturday for 6 days to file a re-entry permit. I have my permanent resident card but I am still living in Ireland and will be here for the next 2 years to finish college. I do not have an address in the US and I read on the re-entry form that if I am not living in the US at the time of application I do not have to have biometrics done. Can somebody confirm or deny this and give me the real info as I only have 6 days in the US to sort this form out! Thank you so much

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 30, 2011

      Dear Sadie:

      In order to file the I-131 Re-Entry application correctly, you must be inside the USA. In addition, you must provide your biometrics (photo and fingerprints on a special computer) at a government office inside the USA before you leave again. There are no exceptions. The appointment letter for the biometrics comes about 2-6 weeks after you submit the I-131 Re-Entry application. After you provide your photo/fingerprints at the government office you can go abroad again and the Re-Entry Permit should be sent the U.S. Consulate abroad that you specified.

      It is not true that if you are not living in the USA at the time of I-131 application that you do not have to have your biometrics done. The I-131 must be mailed while you are in the USA. Your biometrics must be done in the USA before you leave. Sorry, there are no exceptions.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  114. KeeKee
    May 20, 2011

    My father got his green card in August of 2009 and went back to my country in
    sept 2009. He had to return in December 2009 but had a heart attack coupled with the fact that he has chronic arthritis and cannot walk. Can he try to get re-entry by applying at the consulate in my country? does he have achance?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 23, 2011

      Dear KeeKee,

      You would have to research applying for a Returning Resident Visa at a U.S. Consulate. Under American immigration law, to qualify for returning resident status, he would need to prove to the Consular Officer that he:

      (1) Had the status of a lawful permanent resident at the time of departure from the U.S.;
      (2) Departed from the U.S. with the intention of returning and have not abandoned this intention; and
      (3) Are returning to the U.S. from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay abroad was protracted, this was caused by reasons beyond his control and for which he was not responsible.

      Here is the link:
      http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

      Kind Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  115. Elton
    May 19, 2011

    hi,i got my green card in november 2010 and i left to india in the same month to complete my education and in the mean time got recruited in an american comapany operating in india. i have to join by july 2011. i plan to only work for a couple of years as the job is good and i don’t want to loose this opportunity and also study side by side. Is this a good enough reason for getting a reentry permit?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 20, 2011

      Dear Elton:

      There is no quick “free blog” answer to your question. Your case may be complicated by the fact that you just got your green card in November 2010 and left the USA immediately. If you wish to explore the pros and cons of taking this job, it is best to pay for the legal opinion of an American Immigration Attorney. I think it would probably work out for you to take the job abroad so long as (1) the Re-Entry Permit is prepared correctly and (2) you are advised on what to show at the time of re-entry two years from now.

      I get calls from people all the time who prepared the Re-Entry Permit on their own and encountered problems 2 years later when they tried to re-enter. For example, they did not generate sufficient evidence of “ties to America” and maintain them during the 2 year period when they were abroad. In many instances it is not the approval of the Re-Entry Permit that is problemmatic – it is the fact that the Re-Entry Permit alone does not guarantee automatic re-entry. The airport officers have been known to question green card holders upon re-entry in secondary inspection (locked detention) for hours because the green card holder did not prepare the for re-entry adequately, and then deny re-entry.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  116. Owen
    May 17, 2011

    Hi, I am a Canadian Citizen married to a U.S. Citizen. I live in Canada with our 3 kids, while my wife is residing in California for work purposes. To make a long story short, I finally received my US Immigrant Visa a few weeks ago which expires on Sept. 25.

    I had a couple of questions.

    1) I was planning on going to the U.S. on vacation in June of this year. Can I choose not to have my US Visa stamped at this time? I do not wish to enter the U.S. as a permanent resident just yet.

    2) I read, once my Visa is stamped, I would probably receive my green card in about 2 months. Is this true?

    3) Once I receive my green card do I have 6 months to actually move to the U.S.?

    Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 20, 2011

      Dear Owen,

      The American immigration regulations do not allow a person to have 2 visas at the same time. You have already been granted an immigrant visa; therefore, if you wish to enter the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa (as a tourist), you would first have to surrender the immigrant visa (or let it expire).

      If you enter the USA in June it must be as a permanent resident, unless you decide to surrender your American permanent residence and enter as a tourist.

      It doesn’t really matter when you get your green card in the mail – the airport officers will put a green card stamp in your passport when you enter. Green cards are arriving in the mail a timely manner (it varies, so I don’t want to raise your expections). You are allowed to work and travel in and out of the US with the green card stamp in your passport while you are waiting for your green card.

      The 6 month rule has to do with your immigrant visa. In general, the U.S. Consulate gives you a 6 month immigration visa – therefore, you have 6 months to move to the U.S. after the consulate grants you to immigration visa. In general, permanent residents need to live in the U.S. 7 months out of each year (the majority ot the time) after they enter as a permanent resident.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  117. Rami
    May 17, 2011

    Hi, My parent have GC and have been outside USA more than one year, if they try to enter the USA will let them in or hey will deny their entry? thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 20, 2011

      Dear Rami:

      After being abroad for 1 year, the green card (even if unexpired) is no longer valid for re-entry. Therefore, the airport officers are supposed to take away their green cards and either put your parents on a plane going back to their home country, put them in immigration jail awaiting an immigration court hearing, or let them into the USA awaiting an immigration court hearing. I cannot summarize all of the rules concerning what might happen to your parents at the immigration court – they are too numerous and too complex to list here.

      If they want to try it, they should hire an American Immigration Attorney to advise them on their options, and to be ready to represent them in Immigration Court. Or, they can first apply for a “Returning Resident” visa from the U.S. Consulate (if they have proof of staying abroad for reasons beyond their control) and if granted, the airport officers should let them re-enter the U.S.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  118. Amy
    May 16, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    I read through most of your posts and am very impressed by how you answer those questions effectively with the simplest words. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    I have a question on re-entry permit for greencard holders. My husband and I got our GC in first half year of 2010, and then left the US around Sep 2010 for job reason. We went back to US in Jan 2011 for a short stay and now we are thinking about going back in July again to apply for a re-entry permit, as we foresee that we may spend a couple of more years outside the States. The question is we don’t have that many vacation days to spend in the U.S. to wait till our biometrics taken. Is there anyway for us to get this process done in a shorter window? Or can we file the I131 form in the U.S. and then leave the States and fly back when we need to have our biometrics taken? Your professional opinion would be highly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Amy,

      Sorry to tell you this so bluntly, but if you continue staying outside the USA like you have been, you will probably be refused re-entry and your green card taken away from you. The rules force you to simply decide – live inside the USA or live outside the USA. Sorry the rules are so inflexible.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorneyi

  119. L. Smith
    May 15, 2011

    I am a British Citizen and married to a US Citizen and have a 10 yr GC, 1st got a GC in 2007. I will be moving to London in the next 2 weeks for work, but have not applied for a re-entry permit yet as the decision was just made. My husband will be coming with me, but not until early next year, as we have to apply for his visa to the UK. I will be coming back to the U.S to visit at Christmas, but beyond that, don’t know when I will be back again. We will be living out of the US for at the very least 2.5/3 years, possibly much longer.

    My question is this: Should I just try to re-enter the U.S in December with my current GC, and try to get a re-entry permit then (my husband will still be in the US), or should I just give-up my GC when I move in order to “stay on good terms” with the US government rather than have it revoked?
    If I do give it up and we decide to move back, can we reapply for it in the future?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear L. Smith:

      If you’d like to try to apply for your re-entry permit in December, you’ll have to plan on being inside the USA for at least 2 months. You won’t be able to leave the USA again until after you go to your biometrics appointment.

      The USA doesn’t automatically “revoke” your green card if you are living outside the USA for over a year – you have to go to a U.S. Consulate and “surrender” it. I don’t think there is much difference between surrendering it now, or in one year, or in two years.

      Yes, your husband is allowed to apply for a new green card for you later. At the present time there are no negative consequences for surrending a green card and applying for a second one later when you both plan to permanently reside in the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  120. rema
    May 13, 2011

    hello, my parents have permanent green card. they have been 2 years outside USA because my father broke his leg and it tooke him time to finish his physical therapy, and now they want to come back.can they re enter USA?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Rema,

      Unfortunately, the U.S. Consulate decides who keeps their green card and they do not usually accept the excuse of a broken leg for not returning to the USA . . . people fly with casts on their arms or legs all the time. It doesn’t sound like your mom had a good reason for not returning either. Sorry.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  121. Mike
    May 13, 2011

    Hi

    Ive been outside the USA from 2006, while outside the country my travel document expired, tried to apply for another one while abroad they denied me because they said i needed to be in the country while applying for one. became hopless and didnt know what to do, until just recently i started to look for legal advice on this matter, if you could please advice if i have any hope/chance going back? by the way i was a LPR when leaving USA. till to date i’m still abroad.

    thank you very much

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Mike,

      I have no solution for you, sorry.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  122. sam
    May 13, 2011

    i am a green card holder expires 2016 i have been outside the usa for 9 months now is there any way to return to usa …or at least keep my green card active ,,,

    thank

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Sam,

      You can try to return right away, but bring a lont of evidence with you that you have “ties to America.” Plan to spend a few hours in secondary inspection at the airport. Good luck.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  123. Anonymous
    May 11, 2011

    ihave a green card since 9-2006. can I apply now for citizenship since i went in a vecation last month?I stayed for 35 days outside the USA, so can I apply now affter returning 20 days ago, or I have to stay for 3 month before applying ?
    thank you very much.
    May

  124. Jenia
    May 11, 2011

    I and my husband received our GCs through our US citizen son and it is valid till 2014. We have been out of the US for nearly four years (started from the date we applied for our younger daughter’s green card, since we could not leave him alone in Iran. Still we are waiting of the Immigration office reply for her case.
    We are going to travel to US in June 2011 for following up her case, so when she receives her GC we finally can move to US. Do you think this would help us and , does the immigration office would let us to enter?

    thank you in advance,

    Regards,

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Jenia,

      Please ask your Immigration Attorney these questions. You have a complicated history and should not be seeking free blog advice – your future is too important.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  125. Rocklyn
    May 10, 2011

    I would like to apply for a re entry permit. I am currently out of the country. but i realise that i would have to return to america to apply for the re entry permit. I see that i may leave before the permit is granted but after the biometrics is finished. my question is, if you have any vague idea about how long they take to let you come and do your finger printing?

    Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Rocklyn,

      I tell my clients to plan on being in the USA about 2 months in order to file the I-131 Re-Entry Permit and provide their biometrics before leaving again.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  126. Shelby
    May 9, 2011

    Thanks for your extremely helpful blog. Without a doubt, the best resource on immigration issues I have seen to date.

    My question concerns Part 4 of Form I-131, in terms of applying for a re-entry permit. Is travel for a temporary teaching post at a European university generally an acceptable reason for applying for a re-entry permit? How much detail do you recommend providing in this section of the form? Is less or more the better route to go?

    This concerns a person who has a green card through a U.S. citizen spouse.

    Thanks in advance for your insight.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Shelby,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      The extent of detail that goes into the preparation of your I-131 Re-Entry Permit really depends upon your entire history and the length of the teaching post. It sounds like you should hire the services of an immigration attorney to make sure everything goes well. Good luck.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  127. jay
    May 7, 2011

    hi,I am a permanent resident with a 10 yr card.I left usa on my normal passport over 2 years ago and wish to return to work in the usa.I have returned in the past 3 months with my passport,for a 2 week stay and i was never questioned at the airport.Would i be able to return,with no questions asked,on my passport again and return to work as my green card was never used to leave 2 years ago?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Jay,

      Not knowing your entire history, I really don’t know.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  128. Kelly
    May 5, 2011

    Hi,
    Your information is very helpful, however I have not seen a case to similar to mine.
    I have had a Greencard since 2001 (gained via marriage) and have now been married to my second wife for 5 years.
    I was offered an 8-10 month overseas contract that was too good to turn down just after filing for citizenship.
    My wife, house, car, pets, investments etc. are all in the US and I go home approximately every 5-6 weeks for roughly a week at a time to see my wife and friends. I have no intentions of leaving the US permanently and have an appointment for the Citizenship fingerprints in two weeks (when I will be back in the US on one of my trips home. I have only been outside the US for total 23 days before starting this contract. I pay all US taxes early and file tax returns.
    On my last trip back the immigration official at LAX said that there might be a danger of loosing my greencard if I kept this up too long I told him I was in the middle of the Citizenship process and he said that was good and it would help.
    Do you see any major issues with the Greencard or Citizenship from this information?
    I know I should have applied for citizenship years ago.
    Thanks,

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 16, 2011

      Dear Kelly,

      Yes, I am worred about both your green card and your citizenship. I highly recommend that you retain the services of an Immigration Attorney to represent you at your citizenship interview so that you are safe. Good Luck!

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  129. Carolina
    May 4, 2011

    Hi,

    We had planned to take our kids (born in US) to Europe for some time so that they would learn to know their relatives better and also their other language. We’d basically have two years before the older kid starts 1st grade and then at the latest we’d come back. My husband would stay in US as he works here. We don’t own any property here, but we lease the house together in US and some of the utility bills are under my name. I might have chance to work while living in Europe but can that cause problems for me when applying for the re-entry permit?

    Thank you!

    Carolina

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 5, 2011

      Dear Carolina,

      You didn’t mention whether you obtained your green card through marriage or not. If you got your green card through marriage, it does not look well that you do not plan to live with your husband for 2 years.

      If you didn’t get your green card through marriage, you still may have a problem getting back into the USA after 2 years abroad, even with an approved Re-Entry Permit in your hand. It would be best to get your USA citizenship before leaving the USA for more than 4 months if you care about your marriage, your children’s future, and your status in the USA.

      It was your decision to marry a U.S. Citizen, have children, and live in the USA, and unfortunately immigration laws do not allow you the freedom to live abroad for 2 years until you become a U.S. Citizen – FYI these immigration rules are pretty much the same in every country.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  130. lixiaoran
    May 3, 2011

    i have 2year green card , expire on 5/2012. my husband found a job in German now and we would move there for several years. he is American and we will back and visit his parents every year . my question is how to keep my green card and renew it ? if i back to USA every 6month and stay there for one week then back to German,and next year i back alone and file I-751?
    thank you !

    • immigrationworkvisa
      May 5, 2011

      Dear Lixiaoran:

      If you only come back to the USA every 6 months and stay for one week, you will probably have a problem keeping your 2 year green card, as well as getting your 10 year green card. It sounds like you need professional help, and you should not be relying on free blog articles for legal advice, due to your extenuating circumstances.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  131. Sam Martin
    April 26, 2011

    I always admire the way you present your blog site posts.They are always so informative and neatly placed with the simplest of words used.Thanks a lot for sharing.

  132. Graham
    April 25, 2011

    Firstly, this is a terrific resource for general information on these procedures and laws. So thank you to immigrationworkvisa for putting this out there.

    I have a question: re a US/UK couple with 2 young US-born children who wish to live in the UK for a few years – although temporarily, it’s a long temporary – after living/working in the US.

    My wife is US citizen and I am LPR (GC expires 2018), married & living in the US since 2004. I’ve only made one 3 week trip out of the US since then. Paid my taxes, kept my nose clean etc. However we now wish to go live in the UK for 2-5 years, while the kids are young, with the plan of eventually returning to the US. An opportunity to travel/see Europe from a UK base while the kids are still preschool. Immigration-wise there doesn’t seem to be an in-between option for the case where we wish to do a few years here & a few years there. It seems to be either surrender GC & reapply later or return within 2 yrs via re-entry permit. I do not wish to obtain US citizenship.

    We don’t own property in the US & will sell the vehicles prior to leaving, although we will retain bank accounts & file US tax forms while away, even though we’d be taxed under the UK system (US/UK tax agreement). Is the best option to just return prior to 2 years for a couple of months and seek a 2nd re-entry permit I-131? Would that be likely to be refused in these circumstances?

    Thank you very much for any information/tips
    Graham

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 27, 2011

      Dear Graham,

      Thank you for the compliment. Regrettably, due to the complex circumstances of your case, you are going to need to hire the services of an immigration attorney to help you out – please (for the sake of your wife and children) do not rely on the free blog advice to make such high stake decisions.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  133. Concerned
    April 7, 2011

    Hi, My family had got our GC last year in August through my sister in US but we returned back to my work in Saudi as we were not fully ready to move to US. My elder son is in the Medical School in India and my daughter is also doing her Engineering. Both have a few years to complete their college. I need to keep working in Saudi to support them in their studies. I will be going back to US in July where all the rest of my extended family is living, one sister and 2 brothers. I plan to file my income tax return this month and also invest in buying property in the US. However, I will have to return back again to work in Saudi for a few years before finally moving to US with my brothers and sister..The question is will the officers take an understanding view of my situation?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 12, 2011

      Dear Concerned:

      Probably not.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  134. Perla
    April 7, 2011

    I’m a green card holder with no expiration. I stayed in the Philippines for 6 years now. I want to go back to America. I want to live there again. I’m here in the Philippines because my husband and I were not in good health, but were okay now.

    My husband is a U.S. Citizen. My son, who was born in America, is now living in America with a family.
    Can I go back to America?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 12, 2011

      Dear Perla,

      Even though your green card has no expiration date, because you have been outside the USA for more than 1 year, your unexpired green card is no longer valid for re-entry to the USA. Yes, it might be possible to get another green card through either your husband or your son because they are U.S. citizens.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  135. Jen
    April 3, 2011

    Hi,

    I am a green card holder since November 2004. Then I went outside of the country April 2009 for 2 weeks, then went out again June 2009 for 7 months. Is it possibly that i disrupted my continuity of 5 years of residence? your attention and time would be very much appreciated.

  136. Therese
    April 2, 2011

    Hi!I was just wondering if you can help me with my inquiry. Anyway here are my questions :
    1) My fiance is a Filipino but was a US Permanent resident only for 5years . He plans to stay out of the US for 11months this summer for personal reason. We are just worried that since he might stay for 11mos in Manila he might break the 5yr continuous physical residency in the US –as a requirement to apply for a US citizen ) will that makes him INELIGIBLE in applying for a US naturalization once he gets back in the US next year and start from the scratch and wait for another 5years to apply for naturalization or they can still consider him since he already stayed in the US for 5years consecutively and no history of being out of the country for more than 6mos . This is just the 1st time he will out of the US anyway.

    2) Lastly is it okay to just buy a one way ticket to the Phils from the US since he is still undecided whether he will stay for a year or be back in the US after 5months to maintain his eligibility to apply for US citizenship in the future.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 2, 2011

      Dear Therese,

      If your fiance plans to stay out of the USA for more than 6 months he needs to apply for a Re-Entry Permit before he leaves. Yes, even with the Re-Entry Permit his continuous residency will be negatively effected. No, it is not ok to buy a one way ticket to the PI – that is evidentiary proof that he does not intend to come back (whether he does or not).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      P.S. American immigration laws are very political and subject to change at any time. You cannot rely on the rules remaining the same a year from now so it is very hard to analyze his citizenship situation for the future. If you are relying on his citizenship for you to get a marriage green card, he should not be leaving the USA for more than 6 months.

  137. kirtikar
    April 1, 2011

    Hi,

    here is my situation

    green card holder since august 2001

    left usa on jan-2005

    came back on april 2007 ( granted re-entry permit on april 2005)

    then went back on sep 2007- april 2008( almost 7 months), after that continously stayed in usa from april 2008 to till date

    My question is that 4 years and 1 day rule apply to my case………..

    can i apply for citizenship after april 2011.

    please advice.
    thanks in advance.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 2, 2011

      Dear Kirtikar,

      If you would like a legal opinion on your case, I’m sorry but you’re going to have to hire an Immigration Attorney to get one. You should not rely on free blogs for such an important question. What if I told you yes, and then you paid the money and applied for citizenship, and then you were denied your citizenship and your green card was taken away? There is so much I don’t know about you, it is impossible for me, or any other immigration attorney, to responsibly answer your question without spending time questioning you about your entire immigration history.

      When you pay a trained immigration attorney for their legal opinion, you are paying for their training, and for their time. I don’t think you would expect a doctor to tell you on a free blog whether you needed surgery or not without first examining you, would you?

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  138. Mahyar
    March 31, 2011

    My girlfriend is a GC holder for almost 9 years. She was in the US five years ago for 5 month then she went back to her country and remained there for 1 year and 4 months. (her grand parents were sick and she had to stay with them) She came back to the US after that and she didnt face any problem at the port of entry. She is been living here now for 3 years(36 months). Now she wants to apply for citizenship. Would she face any problem? are they going to deny her case?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 2, 2011

      Dear Mahyer,

      Yes, she might face problems with her citizenship.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  139. susan
    March 18, 2011

    my friend went in the philippines with advance parole with conditional GC and he only stay there for 10 days, but the problem is that his ex wife filed a restraining order and was approved for 3 years, is that going to be hard for him to come back in the US?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 19, 2011

      Dear Susan:

      I’m sorry, but your friend should email me the correct facts – conditional GC holders don’t normally have “advance parole.” Also, restraining orders are not usually approved for 3 years unless something bigger is going on. It seems like the facts are a little unclear in this case so I can’t answer your question.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      danielle@immigrationworkvisa.com

  140. mamush Z
    March 17, 2011

    Hi
    My mother is GC holder. And she is out of us for the past 11 month, Because of health problem (TB problem). And she takes medical treatment and now she is cured (before one month). By now she need to return to US (within the next 10 days) before 1 year (11.5). So, is that possible?
    Her family (husband and children’s) are live in us. She doesn’t have any tax bill. And what does that mean secondary inspection question?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 18, 2011

      Dear Mamush:

      There is usually extensive questioning in secondary inspection for GC holders who have been abroad for 6-11.9 months. You should prepare a folder of the same documents that are submitted with the I-131 (“Documents to Bring to the American Airport to Showing Intent to Return to America After an Extended Trip Abroad”) mentioned in my and other blog articles for your mother to present at the American airport upon re-entry.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  141. cuba
    March 13, 2011

    My husband and I went to cuba almost 6 months ago. This march 16 will be 6 months. I am right now in united states, but my husband couldnt come with me. He is still in cuba. He is a permanent resident card holder, but for involuntary reasons, he is still there. I understod what you said about the six month, and the re-entry permit that needs to be issued here in usa and not outside the country. also that if he is there for more than 1 year, he cant come, but this is what happened and I am wondering if there is something I can do for him……

    We send to a friend, prior to our trip, a satellite dish to cuba, so our friend in cuba can has acces to internet. In cuba thats ilegal. So when we went there to visit in september 16, 2010. The police capture him in the airport, for what i just explain to you. He is now in jail, still waiting for a trial, but in march 16, if he is not here….that will happened if he didnt ask for a re-entry permit, what can I do in this case?

    There is a way I can help? we didnt know this will happen, thats wy we didnt ask for the re-entry permission you mentioned in your article. So…

    I will apreciate any response from you, thanks

    Yuly.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 14, 2011

      Dear Yuly,

      This is not an issue you can resolve using free blogs or other free internet information. The reason is (a) American immigration attorneys do not know you or your husband’s entire immigration/criminal history and there is no way you can predict what our questions will be; (b) your husband may not only have a time issue when re-entering the USA, but also may have a conviction issue when re-entering the USA.

      It appears that you may need to hire 3 attorneys for you and your husband. First he will need a Cuban criminal defense attorney. Second, you should consult an American criminal defense attorney to make sure you and your husbands’ actions were not violations of American laws.

      Third, your husband will need an American immigration attorney who specializes in not only re-entry issues, but also foreign criminal convictions. Sorry, I cannot be of more help.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  142. nasir karimi
    March 12, 2011

    hi my my wife she is GC holder and she is out of U.S at 11 5 2010, is she can saty tel (may 5 2011) or she have to come back at (april 5 2011).

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 14, 2011

      Dear Nasir:

      Green card holders should always return to the USA before 180 days (6 months) has passed. The best way to calculate the time is to use the “time and date calculator” at:

      http://www.timeanddate.com

      Kind Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  143. Aiman Latif
    March 9, 2011

    I was referred to you by Reshma. My sister, who is in Pakistan at this time, is a green card holder. Her green card is valid until 2013. She overstayed during her visit in Pakistan for a few days where Islamabad Airport in Pakistan did not let her come to America and returned her from the airport. She had valid and logical reasons for her overstay. They referred her to the American Embassy in Pakistan, Islamabad to get a permit and visa for America. American Embassy after that had her visit the Embassy several times, charging large amount of fees each time in American dollars and at the end denied her Visa. The guy who refused her Visa at the American Embassy, in order to provoke her or humiliate her suggested her to marry someone from America to go to America. I cannot imagine a professional place like American embassy would say such a thing. I want to bring my sister here, if there is a legal way to bring her here. I wanted to know if there is a hope and if there is someone who can help me.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 11, 2011

      Dear Aiman:

      Thank you for sharing your sister’s story. Regrettably it is a common scenario that is repeated at U.S. Embassies throughout the world. The American rules are very strict; first of all if a green card holder stays even one day abroad over 365 days, the American airport officers are not allowed to let them back into the USA. The American rules do not give them to power to “let a few days slide.”

      Secondly, even if your sister had a reason to stay abroad too long that was “valid and logical” to her, her reason apparently did not fit the VERY NARROW reasons allowed by American laws that allow certain people to be excused from the “more than one year abroad” rule. The only reason a Consular Officer can accept is that the delay in returning was (1) caused by reasons beyond your sister’s control and (2) for which your sister was not responsible for the delay.

      I have had calls where people thought having their arm in a cast after it was broken was a good reason for their delay to the USA, and it was not – because a person can fly on an airplane with their arm in a cast. The types of reasons that have been sucessful include serious medical conditions that result in extended hospitalization, or perhaps a custody battle over a U.S. citizen child abroad. I’m not saying these reasons would automatically successful – it is ultimately up to the Consular Officer after examining the evidence (documents). This is why it is important to hire an American immigration attorney to help prepare the SB-1 Returning Resident Visa request.

      Again, I’m sorry for your sister’s dilemma. If you email your sister’s resume to me (if you haven’t already) at the email address below, I will let you know if there is another legal way for you to bring her back to the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      danielle@immigrationworkvisa.com

  144. zeshan
    March 8, 2011

    how stay out of usa 6 to 12 month affect citizenship process?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 2, 2011

      Dear Zeshan,

      After you read my blog article U.S. CITIZENSHIP RESIDENCE & PRESENCE REQUIREMENTS, let me know if you have any questions.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  145. Roshani Shrestha
    March 7, 2011

    hi,my parents got there grren card on july 2010 through dv.they went back to there home country on october 2010 n now my father came here on march 2011..they wants to knw if it is possible to stay more then 1 year to there home country n also if they stay more then 6 months does it make any effect to get citizenship of US?
    and also we wanted to know what are the forms needed to be submitted to bring their children over 21 n also married.?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 8, 2011

      Dear Roshani:

      It sounds like you may need to either read some blog articles or pay for an American immigration attorney to explain the immigration laws to you and your parents. If you have a more specific question, feel free to write back. I’m sorry that I don’t have time to explain the basic rules to you for free.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  146. sjan
    March 6, 2011

    I and my family are canadians and have recently got our Green Card. We are in the process of establishing a home in US. We plan keeping residence in both places and every other week stay for few days – weekends in US in our house. Can we go back and forth adn retain our green card

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 7, 2011

      Dear Sjan:

      If you add up the total days spent in the USA, they should equal 7 months (in general, the majority of any calendar year should be spend in the USA).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  147. Maria Lema
    March 5, 2011

    My parents have been out of the country in Ecuador for more than 6 months(approxiamtely 10 months in June) What form shoulf i fill out for my parents?????

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 7, 2011

      Dear Maria:

      There is no form for an LPR to fill out who has been outside the USA between 6-12 months. You should prepare a folder of the same documents that are submitted with the I-131 (“Documents to Bring to the American Airport to Showing Intent to Return to America After an Extended Trip Abroad”) mentioned in my and other blog articles for your parents to present at the American airport upon re-entry. There is no way to avoid the often lengthy questioning in secondary inspection at the airport when an LPR has been abroad 6-12 months.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  148. ibrahim
    March 2, 2011

    hey thankx for helping us iam an greencard holder and i came visit to egypt to see my aunt from 13 september i arrived her i think i must leave before 12 march this month but now i must stay longer i canot leave now because my aunty husband died these days so i need to stay for atleast 2 months more what can i do ?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 3, 2011

      Dear Ibrahim:

      Sorry to hear about your aunt’s husband. I assume you are going to try to re-enter the USA after being abroad more than 6 months but less than 1 year. Expect to be taken into secondary inspection to be questioned, and have as many documents as possible ready to show your ties to the USA. There is information on my blog and many other blogs about what documents to present.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  149. zeshan
    March 2, 2011

    i’m in usa and my spouse is a us citizen i travelled to pakistan for 6.5months after living 16 months in usa now someone told me that to get us citizenship my previuos period will not count in 3yrs that are required to live in usa,because i spend more than 6monts in pakistan.is that so? and if i present medical certificate then they will count this period or not?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 3, 2011

      Dear Zeshan:

      I don’t know your full history, so I can’t answer your question. You can fill out page 4 of the N400 Application for Naturalization from the http://www.uscis.gov website and do an analysis of (1) your total presence in the USA and (2) your continuity of residency. There are many blog articles on the internet about that topic. If you can’t do the citizenship analysis yourself, you may wish to hire an immigration attorney to do it for you.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  150. kim
    February 25, 2011

    i am a permanent resident and i obtained my green card in August 2000 can i still enter the US if i have stayed in the Philippines for more than six months? am i still qualified to apply for naturalization?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 3, 2011

      Dear Kim:

      I assume you are going to try to re-enter the USA after being abroad more than 6 months but less than 1 year. Expect to be taken into secondary inspection to be questioned, and have as many documents as possible ready to show your ties to the USA. There is information on my blog and many other blogs about what documents to present.

      With regards to naturalization, I don’t know your full history, so I can’t say if will be qualified to apply for naturalization after your return. After you return to the USA, you can fill out page 4 of the N400 Application for Naturalization from the http://www.uscis.gov website and do an analysis of (1) your total presence in the USA and (2) your continuity of residency. There are many blog articles on the internet about that topic. If you can’t do the citizenship analysis yourself, you may wish to hire an immigration attorney to do it for you.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  151. Lee
    February 24, 2011

    I moved from the UK to the US in 2003 & I became a LPR.Our son was born there in 2005 & holds an American passport.We left in 2009,after becoming unemployed thinking the UK would be better.Now we are thinking of returning,so will I have a problem(refused entry),especially as my British Passport that I got my LPR with is now out of date & I have a new Passport dated 2011?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 3, 2011

      Dear Lee:

      Your problem does not seem to be your passport – the problem is you have been gone since 2009.

      I assume you still have an unexpired 10 year green card. Even though it is unexpired, it is not valid for re-entry to the USA because you have been abroad for more than 1 year. The American airport officers are very clear about the one year rule.

      You can either surrender your green card to the U.S. Consulate in the UK and ask for a tourist visa to visit the USA, or apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa, which is a request to keep your green card. If you surrender your green card, you are allowed to get another one later, although it will take just as long as when you got the first one (if not longer).

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  152. dino
    February 22, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    Here is my situation:
    I have lived in the US for 9+ years now. I got my conditional green card in April 2010. I have left US on September 27th 2010 for medical reasons (seriously broke my collar bone and it was better for me to treat it in my home country). I will be back in US in March, just little earlier then 6 months period of absence.
    However, I am planning to stay in the US for just about 2 weeks and I need to go back to my home country for a couple of months longer, but not longer then August 2011. After that I will be back to US for good.
    This would mean that I would not be outside of the US for more than 6 months at the time, but in this year (2011) I would be outside of the US for about 7 months. Is it safe to do this without jeopardizing my Green Card status? Please be as specific to these 7 months as you can. What do you think will happen once I come back in August?
    Please note that my spouse lives in the US. I have maintained my residency (address, car ownership, bank accounts, phone account etc..).

    Hoping for your prompt answer. Thank you so much.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 3, 2011

      Dear Dino,

      Because you have only had your conditional green card since April 2010, you will have to submit an I-751 Petition by April 2012 proving that you have been married and living together with your wife for 2 years. Therefore, unless there are circumstances beyond your control (military deployment is ok, but economic necessity is normally not ok), you should not leave again until after your 10 year green card is granted.

      In other words, it is not safe to leave again during the conditional green card period — you may have already jeopardized your green card status by not living with your wife for 7 months while you were abroad. You have a marriage green card – so living together with your wife is the basis of your whole case.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  153. Henna Oza Dey
    February 20, 2011

    Hi,
    I got my greencard through my father in 1995.After this the same year I also got married to a US citizen in India.I have 2 children,both are US citizens.My parents,all siblings,all my in-laws are US citizens and all the members are working with very high positons in the US.I’m working on my PhD in India and have continued the greencard all these years.Is there a possibility I can apply for citizenship without not having lived there at a continued stretch more more than 3 months??Myself and my husband are a regular tax payee in the US.thankyou for your guidance

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 3, 2011

      Dear Henna:

      Sorry, none of the conditions you mentioned do not excuse the normal citizenship requirements for you.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  154. Omar
    February 19, 2011

    Hello,

    My wife is on a 2 year conditional green card. My wife and son are currently visiting india and its end of this month will be six months visit. Please advise since we did not file a re-entry permit…..will she need to come back to the U.S. before the end of six months or can we fill some paperwork from india? What happens if she stays more than six monrhs on a 2 year conditional GC??? Her Conditions will be removed 1/2012.

    Thank you for your help!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 3, 2011

      Dear Omar:

      The rules are the same for 2 year card holders as for 10 year card holders. No, a re-entry permit cannot be filed from outside the USA. If she returns to the USA after being abroad between 6-12 months she can expect extensive questioning at the airport and should be ready to submit documents proving ties to the USA.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  155. marilu veloria
    February 17, 2011

    i am a 16 year old green card holder. i was out of the country for 500 days. at the airport, i was reprimanded by the immigration people. ive been back to the US for 493 days but Im planning on going abroad again to visit family for 3 weeks.
    do you think i will have problems? is my green card in danger of being revoked?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 3, 2011

      Dear Marilu:

      Yes, anyone with a history of staying out of the USA for more than 180 days may be questioned at the airport upon re-entry on subsequent trips. It doesn’t sound like your green card is in danger of being revoked, but I can’t say for sure because I don’t know enough about you.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  156. reggye
    February 15, 2011

    i have been out of the US for 6 months and I’m working for an American company in my country also i had to postpone my trip back to the US for an accident i had at the end of December in which i sustained 1st and 2nd degree burns in my left leg and i was advised by the doctor not to travel until i was discharged completely I’m planing to go back in the 19th of February 2011 is that OK or what would be your opinion regarding my issue

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 16, 2011

      Dear Reggye:

      I’m not sure what question you are asking me; do you have a question about the rules?

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • reggye
        February 16, 2011

        im sorry i didnt formulate well the question. what i would like to know is that the reason that i was not able to return to the us before the 6 month is the accident i had what do i need to take to show in inmigration in case that they ask me the reason for staying out of the country for that time

        • immigrationworkvisa
          February 17, 2011

          Dear Reggye:

          The documents you would need to bring a copy of are listed in the article above.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  157. Robert
    February 14, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    Many thanks for your reply and my apologies for the duplicate posting!

    Robert

  158. Robert
    February 14, 2011

    Hello,

    Many thanks for what is an immensely helpful site. Perhaps you can help me with a situation I have not been able to find here:

    I received my green card in 1979 as a young boy as my parents had moved to the States with us. Throughout my life I lived in the US for most of the time, but with a few years spent abroad. Most recently I have been spending more time in Europe and, in fact, have been out of the US for a little more than 6 months. My wife and I are expecting a baby in a few weeks, so I don’t see my self being able to return to the US for a couple of months. I don’t really see myself living in the US for the next 2-3 years, but could well imagine moving back after that. Does it make sense to try to hold onto the green card and, if so, how can I avoid the anxiety of not knowing how the reception will be at immigration! If I surrender my green card is there a chance I can get a new one further on down the line? Incidentally, my family (but not I) have real estate in the US.

    many thanks in advance and kind regards,

    Robert

  159. Michelle
    February 12, 2011

    Do I need to gather documents for my reentry into the USA because when I arrived in my country they did not stamp my passport of the date of entry, I am a US Greencard holder and need to make sure I know what I need upon reentry. Or maybe I don’t need any documents because they can just check their computer system of the travel dates? Please let me know so I can either gather the right documents or just trust they already have it. Thanks Michelle

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 13, 2011

      Dear Michelle:

      Please do not ever lie to the immigration officials about when you exited or re-entered the USA. Fraud or misrepresentation can lead to a lifetime ban from the USA. You didn’t mention how long you’ve been outside of the USA, but if it is anywhere near or after 6 months (but no longer than 1 year) always bring documents to prove ties to America.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  160. mehdi
    February 12, 2011

    I’m a green card holder and it is DV,i went to US. for my green card and ssn. after 1 month i left USA on November 1th,2010 for purpose of business. when can i go to USA again without any problem for getting re-Entry permit. after 6 month or 1 year

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 13, 2011

      Dear Mehdi:

      You need to return to the USA before being abroad for 6 months. Even then, you may be questioned about why you are outside the USA so long if your intention is to be a permanent resident of the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  161. Robert
    February 11, 2011

    Dear Danielle,

    Many thanks for what is an immensely helpful site. Perhaps you can help me with a situation I have not been able to find here:

    I received my green card in 1979 as a young boy as my parents had moved to the States with us. Throughout my life I lived in the US for most of the time, but with a few years spent abroad. Most recently I have been spending more time in Europe and, in fact, have been out of the US for a little more than 6 months. My wife and I are expecting a baby in a few weeks, so I don’t see my self being able to return to the US for a couple of months. I don’t really see myself living in the US for the next 2-3 years, but could well imagine moving back after that. Does it make sense to try to hold onto the green card and, if so, how can I avoid the anxiety of not knowing how the reception will be at immigration! If I surrender my green card is there a chance I can get a new one further on down the line? Incidentally, my family (but not I) have real estate in the US.

    many thanks in advance and kind regards,

    Robert

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 13, 2011

      Dear Robert:

      I don’t know how much new info I can give you. You case is the same as anyone else’s who stayed out of the USA more than 6 months but less than 1 year. It doesn’t make a difference that you got your green card in 1979 in the eyes of the American government. If anything, immigration officers will wonder why you didn’t like the USA enough to get your citizenship.

      Regrettably, there is never a way to avoid the anxiety of not knowing how the reception will be at an America airport after an extended trip abroad. As you already know, if you are out more than 6 months but less than 1 year, you will be questioned about your intent to live in the USA and asked to provide documents showing ties to America. If you are out more than 1 year you have no choice but to go to the U.S. Consulate before returning (because you card is no longer valid for re-entry) and either ask them to keep your green card (grant a SB-1 Returning Visa) or officially surrender your green card and get a tourist visa instead.

      There really is no other solution out there that you are missing. Sorry that the rules don’t accommodate real life. If it is any consolation, the immigration rules for other countries are very similar. I wish you had researched this and applied for a Re-Entry Permit before you left, but now you have no choice but to return to the USA prior to 1 year abroad or face losing your green card.

      I don’t know how you would get another green card (family sponsor? American employer sponsor? Million dollar investment? green card lottery?) but if you have a method of getting a second one the answer is yes – you can apply again after surrendering your first one.

      Best regards, Danielle Nelisse

  162. Naima
    February 11, 2011

    I am Moroccan and I was granted a two year greencard (American spouse)in December 2010. We came to Morocco in January 2011 and intend to stay until end of May or mid-June (4 1/2). We intend to come to Morocco again in December 2011 and stay a month only. The reason why we have to stay longer this time is because we are planning a wedding ceremony with my parents. Are we okay. Thank you so very much for your assistance.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 11, 2011

      Dear Naima:

      Yes, if you stay abroad 5 months this year, and 1 month next year it should be ok. Be sure to bring proof of residence (sometimes called “ties”) in the USA each time you re-enter the USA (see blog articles for the types of documents that prove “ties to USA). Also it would be good if you are not working in Morocco and have proof of how you support yourself by working in the USA.

      Be sure the airport officers stamp your passport each time you re-enter (some of the untrained ones forget or don’t know they are supposed to stamp the passport of an LPR each time they re-enter). Last time I re-entered the USA with my husband (he’s Dutch) we had to ask for a supervisor to get his passport stamped. Have your wife stand in your line with you, not in the U.S. citizen line.

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

  163. David
    February 10, 2011

    Hi. Thanks for all the information. Huge help.

    I have one specific question. I am an American citizen and my wife is Japanese and has her green card (IR-1). We’re living in America, but I recently got a job as an English Instructor in Switzerland (job starts in July), but we want to maintain my wife’s permanent resident status. Should we get a re-entry permit? If so, what are some obstacles we might face when coming back to America to be with family? If possible, we’d love to stay in Switzerland for three years and save money so we can possibly buy a home back in America.

    Thanks! Any info would be great!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 11, 2011

      Dear David:

      Yes, your wife should file for a Re-Entry Permit before she leaves. And yes, she will need to present not only the approved Re-Entry Permit upon each re-entry but also a large envelope full of proof of “ties” to America to give the officer in secondary inspection at the airport.

      You should wait in her line with her (not the U.S. citizen line) so that hopefully the airport officers will allow you to be with her during questioning. This questioning may occur each time she re-enters, but if you have enough evidence of “ties” (American bank accounts, American address, etc.) proving the stay abroad is temporary, the officers should let her back in.

      FYI there is no guarantee that the second 2 year Re-Entry Permit will be approved.

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

  164. taimoor ata tung
    February 8, 2011

    my grandmother is a green card holder. she left the u.s to visit her home country. she has not returned to u.s for 3 years due to poor health and sickness and illness of her husband which lead to his demise. what are the requirements for her to re-enter the u.s? her green card is valid till 2016.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 10, 2011

      Dear Taimoor:

      You have probably figured out that your grandmother’s unexpired green card is no longer valid for purposes of re-entry to the USA because she has been outside the USA more than one year.

      (1) She can try to get the U.S. Consulate to let her keep her green card by applying for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa.

      (2) Or, she can arrange to surrender her green cards and then,

      (3) Apply for a tourist visa at the U.S. Consulate to visit the USA.

      The instructions for all 3 options are usually on the U.S. Consulate website. Normally there is no penalty for surrendering a green card, but I can make no guarantees because I don’t know her full history.

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

      • taimoor ata tung
        February 13, 2011

        thank u so much Danielle!

  165. Dayana
    February 6, 2011

    Hi, thanks so much for your information! I have some questions, I am a GC holder since 2000 my family and I left the U.S in 2007 and have been living abroad. We live in Cuba for 2 years and in Canada for 1 and a half years. We have no ties to the U.S, no bank accounts, tax returns, or any property nor family and friends. I have a daughter that’s a GC holder as well and is 18 and I have a son that’s a U.S citizen. What are the possibilities of entering the U.S again? What can I expect at the Canadian border when I plan to go back? And if my daughter wants to resign U.S permanent residency what should she do? Thanks in advance!

    Dayana

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 10, 2011

      Dear Dayana:

      Your unexpired green cards are no longer valid for purposes of re-entry to the USA because you have been outside the USA more than one year. Expect to be denied entry if you try to re-enter. You may arrange to surrender your green cards and ask for a tourist visa at the U.S. Consulate. The instructions for both are usually on the U.S. Consulate website. Normally there is no penalty for surrendering your green card, but I can make no guarantees because I don’t know your full history.

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

  166. Ronke
    February 6, 2011

    Hello,i got into US Sept 2009,left Jan 2010,came back March 2010,then traveled back Aug 31 2010 then came back Jan 2011 and i was put under questioning at the airport for some minutes why i traveled for so long and why i got a return ticket to go back again in July 2011,i told them my dad has been terribly sick(which is true and that is why I’m going back in July 2011).Pls,will this frequent trip jeopardize my citizenship later?Will be waiting anxiously for your reply ma’am.Thank you.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 10, 2011

      Dear Ronke:

      Yes, your frequent trips abroad, no matter the reason, may jeopardize your green card and delay/jeopardize your citizenship. Please apply for a Re-Entry Permit before you leave again.

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

  167. Jay
    February 5, 2011

    Hi I’m a Permanent resident and i plan traveling outside usa for 6 months..I just got back from a 5 month trip how long do i need to stay in usa to travle again?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 10, 2011

      Dear Jay,

      It is best if Permanent Residents stay in the USA at least 7 months per year. If you must travel outside the USA more than that (even if you think it will only be for 5.9 months) you should apply for a Re-Entry Permit before you leave again. Even with an approved Re-Entry Permit, expect to be taken into secondary inspection (for hours) and asked for proof of ties to America upon your return (have your copy of the Re-Entry Permit application and an updated folder of evidence ready to submit to the airport officers).

      Let’s say a Permanent Resident stays out of the USA 5.9 months at a time, returning for 2 weeks to the USA each year. After a couple of trips the airport officers can deny re-entry because even though the Permanent Resident has not stayed out of the USA over 6 months, they are showing a clear intent not to live in the USA permanently. Their attitude is “why do you want a green card if you are not living here? Why not just get a tourist visa!”

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

      • immi
        May 29, 2011

        I own a U.S. company (so am not a “tourist”) and have needed to travel outside the US for 9months per year for the past few years. My trips are never more than 6 months, often only 1-2 months. I have had a green card for 20 years, and only recently have had to travel extensively. No intention of leaving the U.S. Is my Green Card at much risk? If so, how to mitigate the risk? I file tax returns, have bank accounts, drivers licence, etc.

        • immigrationworkvisa
          May 30, 2011

          Dear Immi:

          Regrettably, the fact that you have had a green card for 20 years or that you own a U.S. company does not qualify you for an exception to the rules. The fact that you have not applied for and obtained your U.S. citizenship when you were eligible works against you in this situation. Yes, your green card is as much at risk as anyone other green card holder who is not inside the USA for at least 7 months out of the year.

          How to mitigate the risk? Make serious plans to remain in the USA at least 7 months out of the year within 2 years. In the meantime, have an immigration attorney file a satisfactory I-131 two year Re-Entry Permit for you so that it will not only be approved, but an application that will also be useful for re-entry over the next 2 years while you restructure your business.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
          Immigration Attorney

  168. sam
    February 3, 2011

    Hello,
    I’am a canadian resident permanent,after that i get an american resident permanent on 2009 by my mum(usa citizen ). i’m a student and i have a part time work in canada.every 6 months I enter usa by plane, all my family lives of there and i spend about one to two weeks.Last month I decided to go usa by my car but the holder got my green card and told me that I need to see the judge by the court..
    What is the solution? I need to go usa because
    all my family is of there and the time i cannot leave canada becasue i need to finish my studies.Can u help me plz?
    Thx a lot

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 10, 2011

      Dear Sam:

      You are going to have to hire an American Immigration Attorney if you want to try to salvage your green card. It is best to get one in the state where the Immigration Judge is so you don’t have to pay extra travel expenses. Good Luck!

      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

  169. MeMe
    February 1, 2011

    My ex husband is a legal permanent resident since 2004 but with the economy being the way it is lately. He had to go back to his home country in Aug 2010. He is due to return in Feb 2011, can he come back on a tourist visa? He says he lost his green card and has an appointment with INS but will the officers at the airport take his green card or send him back to his home country? He believes his status was revoked due to unpaid car loan payments. Is there any chance he will be able to re-enter the US or keep his GC? What should he do? Any help/advice you can give us is greatly appreciated.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 1, 2011

      Dear MeMe:

      Just because your ex-husband lost his green card does not mean he lost his green card status – he just doesn’t have proof of it. Please look on the U.S. Consulate website for the country he is now in — it should have some instructions like this about how a Consular Officer may issue a “Transportation Letter” to prove he has a green card:

      “Permanent residents who have lost their valid I-551 Alien Registration Receipt Card, ‘green card’, can request that the U.S. Consulate issue them a Transportation Letter, a one-entry document to help them get back home. Of course they should not leave the U.S. again until they have applied for and received their new green card. Replacement cards can be requested online after arriving back in the USA, through the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov. Even though a person can apply online, they have to be present in the USA to provide fingerprints again.”

      No, your ex-husband is not eligible for a tourist visa unless he officially surrenders his green card status at a U.S. Consulate. And no, the USA does not restrict entry or revoke green card holders for nonpayment of car loan payments.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  170. proteus
    January 31, 2011

    Thank you very much for the reply. I stayed away from US for 9 months because of the reason that my mother (who is a US citizen)was sick could not travel as she is an 80 years old lady. Finally when she was able to travel I flew her here and secondly I had to sell my property as all my family members (mother, brothers, sister and spouse + kids) are here in US. What documents should I need to present to the immigration officer at naturalization regarding my mother’s illness and selling my property?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      February 1, 2011

      Dear Proteus:

      You are welcome. However, in order to maximize your chances of obtaining citizenship, you should hire an immigration attorney, if not to represent you for the entire process, at least to review your documents (evidence) before you submit them with your naturalization application. It is impossible for me (or any other immigration attorney) to make an individualized list of documents for you without first interviewing you. Sorry that it is not easier, given all that you have been through.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  171. nawal
    January 31, 2011

    I am a 2 years green card holder, my American spouse works as an army contractor in the middle east, worked in Iraq right after we got married for a year and half then moved to Qatar for another year and half, now he is going back to Iraq. i first entered the states on April 12, 2009 stayed 12 days then went back to my country, i entered the states again on march 2010 1nd stayed 10 days and my last visit was on January 27,2011. at the airport the officer told me that next time he will take away my green card. what do i do? i have no husband or house in the states, that’s why i didn’t stay! but my husband told me we will be back on July to stay but i am afraid!
    besides i am about to fill for the 10 years green card, will that affect my application?
    thank u in advance!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 31, 2011

      Dear Nawal:

      Sorry, your case is too complicated to answer in a free blog. You and your husband will need to hire an immigration attorney in order to try to keep your 2 year green card, arrange for your re-entry into the USA, and file your I-751 Petition to obtain your 10 year card. Those airport officers are not kidding – they have the power to take away your green card.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • nawal
        January 31, 2011

        i know my situation is complicated, i will try to be more precise.
        i am still in the usa, and we will leave on 4th february, me to morocco and my husband to iraq.
        we are planing to come back in july(less than 6 months) me to stay permanently and he will be back after he finishes the year in iraq. we will lease an appartement where i will stay till he finishes his year in iraq.
        and of course we are going to fill the I 751 in few days.
        do i still need to get an immigration attorney? even if this time i will be back in less than 6 months?
        thank you for your help
        nawal

        • immigrationworkvisa
          February 1, 2011

          Dear Nawal:

          This is a high stake situation that should not be taken lightly. You and your husband will need to hire an immigration attorney in order to try to keep your 2 year green card, arrange for your re-entry into the USA, and file your I-751 Petition to obtain your 10 year card. Those airport officers are not kidding – they have the power to take away your green card.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  172. Daniel
    January 29, 2011

    I resided in the US for 1 year with a green card in 2005. I have since left the US and been out of the US for over 5 years and I have no plans to live there permanently anymore. I still have my green card (expiration in 2015) and have not surrendered it. I want to visit the US for 6 days on vacation next week. I am from a visa waiver country. Will I have problems going in for 6 days on vacation? Do I have to surrender my green card first? I plan to visit the US in 5 days. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 31, 2011

      Dear Daniel:

      Yes, you will need to officially surrender your green card at a U.S. Consulate in your country before re-entering the USA. The instructions are on their website. Because you are a green card holder, if you haven’t surrendered it yet, your online visa waiver application (called ESTA) may not be pre-approved (that is one of the questions on the ESTA questionnaire).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  173. proteus
    January 28, 2011

    I immigrated to US in June 2006 on a legal Permanent Residence Card. I had to go to my home country in 2007 and stayed there for 3 months and 7 days. I again had to go to my home country again and stayed there for 9 months. I obtained an I-131 before going this time but did not use it. Can I apply for naturalization?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 31, 2011

      Dear Proteus:

      Yes a person can apply for naturalization (citizenship) if they have one trip over 6 months (but less than 12 months) in the last 5 years, and their total days in the USA equal more than 1/2 of 5 years. But, the interviewing immigration officer need to review documents (evidence) proving your ties to the USA.

      If the officer tells you he/she cannot approve your citizenship because you don’t have enough evidence, you have the choice to “withdraw” your application so that you do not have a denial on your record. In order to maximize your chances, you should hire an immigration attorney, if not to represent you for the entire process, at least to review your documents (evidence) before you submit them with your naturalization application.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  174. Xtine
    January 27, 2011

    Hello,

    My husband’s company has contracted him to work at their office in the Philippines for one year, and my daughter and I will be joining him. His contract begins in June, 2011.

    My husband and child are both US citizens and I am a green card holder. I have had my green card for more than 15 years and I served in the military with a a honorable discharge in 2002. I was planning to file for my citizenship this year but my husband was abruptly contracted to work abroad. We have car payments, mortgages, etc… and have no intent on living in the Philippines.

    My question is is it better to request for a re-entry visa or stay abroad for 6 months and come back to the states to check in and leave again?

    With the re-entry visa, is it true that I would have to wait 4 more years to file for my citizenship?

    And if I stay abroad for 6 months and check back in to the states, how long do i have to stay in the states to go back abroad?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 31, 2011

      Dear Xtine:

      One option would be for your to file for your citizenship right now. It is taking about 4-5 months in most states.

      If you don’t plan to obtain your citizenship before June 2011, I think it is much better to file an I-131 Application for Re-Entry Permit than come back for a week in 5.9 months. It is not necessarily true that with the Re-Entry Permit you would have to wait 4 more years to file for citizenship (I don’t know your complete history, so I can’t answer that question).

      It is an unfortunate rumor that you can go abroad for 5.9 months and come back to the USA to “check in.” There is no such rule. The airport immigration officers know what you are doing and are not that stupid. With a green card, you are supposed to be living in the USA for at least 7 months a year (“the majority of the year”), or else getting a Re-Entry Permit.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  175. jc
    January 24, 2011

    Greetings! I am a conditional permanent resident, i still have to file the removal of my conditional residency on May, 2011 as my greencard will be expiring on August, 2011..my question is, can i travel to visit my family abroad even just for less than a month (say on March 2011) without yet filing the petition for removal of my conditional residency? would that be a problem? thank you so much!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 31, 2011

      Dear JC:

      Just to clarify, a conditional resident does not have to file the I-751 Petition to remove the conditions until right before the date their 2 year green card expires. The choice to file the I-751 Petition up to 90 days early is optional, not mandatory. Therefore, you do not have to file the I-751 Petition in May 20011, but you can wait until August 2011 to file the I-751 Petition. You also may travel between now and August 2011, although my clients who travel during the last month do get comments from the officers at the airport like “your card is about to expire!”

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  176. Nick
    January 23, 2011

    My Grandmother, who is 92 years of age, received her Greencard in 2004, and then traveled to india in 2007. She became ill, and was unable to return back to the US. She is doing better now, and would like to return. Her greencard is still valid, although her Permanent Resident status would have lapsed due to the time frame of being outside the US. I have read about DS-117 for SB-1 status – but I am afraid of having her go thru the tribulations of standing outside at the consulate for extended time – is there a better way of getting her back here? Should I contact my local congressman? Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 31, 2011

      Dear Nick:

      I don’t know of another way to try to keep her green card. It can’t hurt to contact your local congressman – the worst that can happen is he says no.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  177. char
    January 23, 2011

    hi im currently outside the usa i left last August 2010 im about to return to the us this Feb. but while i was out of the country my purse was stolen with my passport and california ID fortunately i left my GC at home. so now i have a new passport with no prof that i just left last aug. my used ticket and itiniray was inside my purse also what should i do tnx

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 31, 2011

      Dear Char:

      Please look on the U.S. Consulate website for the country you are now in — it should have some instructions like this about how to get a “Transportation Letter”:

      “Permanent residents who have lost their valid I-551 Alien Registration Receipt Card, ‘green card’, can request that the U.S. Consulate issue them a Transportation Letter, a one-entry document to help them get back home. Of course you should not leave the U.S. again until you have applied for and received your new green card. You can apply for your replacement card electronically after arriving back in the USA, through the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov. Even though you can apply online, you have to be present in the USA to provide fingerprints again.

      Also, if you don’t have your flight itinerary confirmation in an old email, you may be able to obtain proof of your flight directly from the airlines.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  178. Dee patel
    January 23, 2011

    Hi
    I hv a GC n could not go back to usa no over 12months.
    Reason: My mother nearly 80 yrs fall down / broke shoulder n had a opperation n now disabled and looking after her is 1st priority plus at the same time have business which i cannot sell in this very difficult economy climate in Uk and USA, where also having not to find a suitable business in usa due to difficult times in uss and not sitting around and wait for a business in usa, very important is to have some kind of income to go on and support family and expenses going through re-entry, going back and forth to USA is very costive as we are 4 with GC.
    On this note we r considering give back the GC and obtain B-2 visa for 4 of us.
    Also my daughters r 14/11 can i re-apply for GC again in later years if we ever now decide to go back to usa, as my whole family (brothers r usa citizens).
    We had our GC in 2009.
    Thank u Dee Patel

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 31, 2011

      Dear Dee,

      Yes, you may go to the U.S. Consulate in the UK and surrender your green cards and ask for B-2 visas. And yes, your brothers may file new I-130 petitions for you to get the green cards again in the future.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Dee patel
        February 1, 2011

        Thank you, Daniella
        On the note I have been reading your advices to others and i must say GOD BLESS YOU.
        In this day n age its very rare or not at all, come across likes of you n your good deed. If u ever wanted any holiday advice in the uk etc pls do note hesitate and will be wherever i can.

  179. immigrationworkvisa
    January 20, 2011

    Dear Shaik,

    Congratulations on your marriage. One way to process your green card paperwork is for your wife to file an I-130 Petition to start the process of bringing you to the USA as her husband. The I-130 form and instructions are on the http://www.uscis.gov website.

    However, sometimes it is possible (and faster) for you to enter the USA in another status (let’s say as an F-1 student) and then she can file your green card paperwork while you are here. However, that method is very tricky and you will need an immigration attorney to help you with that strategy so that you avoid the allegation of fraud.

    Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  180. poor student
    January 20, 2011

    Hi thanks for all this information, it’s really useful!

    I do have a question: I expect to undergo secondary inspection when I go to the US next week as a legal green card holder. What legal laws/documents can I read to know what my rights are in this case? I would like to know what rights I have in case they want to take my green card away. And if they take my greencard away, can I still enter the US on a tourist visa? (I am a citizen of, and coming from, a Visa Waiver program country).

    I have been a US greencard holder since I was 1 year old, and have studied abroad in the country where I have my citizenship for a few years, re-entering the US many times in between. But last year, it was difficult to come back since I can’t afford plane tickets, and it’s been 9 months now. I am almost finished with my studies and am planning to return. I have evidence of this with applications to PhD positions in the US (rejected, but I have all the rejection letters). Other than this, I don’t have much other documentation of living in the US (I have a permanent address with my boyfriend, but no bank account, mortgage, license, etc etc since that all costs money). And of course I have been raised in the US and don’t know anything else as home, so I’m pretty scared of not being let in to what I consider my home country. I expect problems, but do you think that my case will be accepted by immigration officials?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 20, 2011

      Dear Poor Student:

      Many of the laws and regulations are located on the http://www.uscis.gov website under the heading “Laws.” I am sorry but I don’t have time to list them all for you here. It will be up to the airport officers whether they let you back into the U.S. or not and I cannot predict what they will decide.

      Just try to bring a large file containing copies of documents (USA school records for elementary school, high school, photos of you with boyfriend, copies of doctor visits while in USA, copies of mail to US address with your name on it, American driver’s license, letter from US boyfriend, etc.) to hand to the airport officer.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  181. Audrey
    January 18, 2011

    Hello Danielle Nelisse
    I first want to thank you for saving us money on this free simple question consultation that you are offering. Its very helpful.

    I am a GC holder since 2008 march. I have a spouse that I am sponsoring and his case has been completed by NVC but his appointment will take about 1.5yrs(Due to the recent retrogression of the F2A). I plan to go and visit for more than 6 months but less than a year. I have a car loan, credit cards/bank accounts, drivers lisence, I intend to file all taxes in my absence (i plan to work temporily abroad to help with my finacial obligations in the usa). I presently have a Job as a teacher and hope to resign after June so that I can be close to my hubby.
    Do you think I run the risk of losing my GC and do you think that will prevent my naturization plans. Pls forgive my typo.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 20, 2011

      Dear Audrey,

      Please do not go abroad for more than 6 months. Yes, you run the risk of losing your green card and possibly delaying your citizenship plans. For the reason you listed in your question, you will have no excuse for staying abroad over 6 months because it is “not beyond your control.”

      Sorry, I know you miss your husband, but you should come back before 6 months for the protection of both of you if you truly desire to live in America.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  182. myangzkiful
    January 18, 2011

    Hi! my daughters, ages 7 & 5, both GC holders, they will be visiting me in the Philippines this March. I have always wanted them to stay even for just six months or a year but i’m worried that this may put their status at risk..can I apply for a tourist visa to accompany my kids back to the US?..what are my chances of being given such visa though I have a pending petition from their father?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 20, 2011

      Dear My Angzkiful:

      The chances of getting a tourist visa at the U.S. Consulate in Manila, PI is about 40% because there is a 90% fraud rate at that consulate. But it is worth a try! It will not hurt anything (like your pending petition) if they say no, and you could be one of the lucky applicants that are told yes. Be sure to include with your application proof of your PI bank account funds, property ownership in the PI, employment in the PI, etc. to convince them you will return to the PI after your trip to see your daughters.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  183. sahar
    January 17, 2011

    Thank you for the time you put to provide people in need for help with these great information. I have a question: My father’s green card has been taken away in the airport and he is awaiting to receive a notice for appearance in court. The court they have assigned to him is in Detroit, however my residential address is in Washington DC and he stays with me. Now my question is: How should I apply for transfer of his case from Detroit to Washington DC court? Thank you very much, in advance. Sincerely, S

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 20, 2011

      Dear Sahar:

      You have two choices: you can call the court clerk at the immigration court in Detroit and ask them how to do it, or if they won’t tell you, hire an Immigration Attorney in Detroit to do it for you. It is called a request for a “change of venue.”

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  184. kdevi
    January 15, 2011

    Please help me in filling following question on N 400 form for US citizen ship . I had jumped red light signal on oct 30, 2010 for which I had traffic fine for 300 dollar which I had paid on 15 nov, 2010 in New york court. Do I have to record this in follwing question or not , if yes please fill the answer for me
    Good Moral Character
    Q No.15 Have you ever convicted for a crime or offence for which you were not arrested Yes/No

    Q.No.16 have youever been arrestd ,cited or detained by any law enforcement officer(includingUSCIS or former INS and military officer) for any reason Yes/No

    Q No 17 Have you ever been charged with commiting any crime or offence Yes/No

    Q.No.18 Have you ever been convicted of a crime or offence Yes/No

    If yes answer to Question 15 thruogh18,complete following Question

    A-Why wereyou arrested, cited or detained or charged
    B-Date you were arrested detained cited or charged
    C_Why were you arrested cited detained or charged
    D_Outcome or disposition of the arrest,cited, detention or charged

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 16, 2011

      Dear Kdevi:

      You will need to pay an immigration attorney in New York a consultation fee to find out how to fill out the N400.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  185. Mark
    January 14, 2011

    Hi

    I received my GC a year ago last october. I have since been back and forth from the UK to the US on a number of occasions (basically to keep under the radar). Main reason being is that my girlfriend has not been granted a GC and we are not sure if she ever will be. Our plan was to move over there to stay with family etc, however as time moves on this is looking less and less likely. What are my options as I know if I cannot prove I live and work (i am still working in the UK) in the US this year they will probably take my GC off me. I have seen it mentioned I can surrender my GC to the US embassy. Is this true? and what concequences does this have? basically if i cannot live in the US I would like still to be able to visit the US freely on a regular basis. I have been told that if the GC is taken from you you cannot enter the US again for 10 years?? I hope this is not true. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards
    Mark

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 14, 2011

      Dear Mark,

      The instructions to surrender the green card in person at a U.S. Consulate are usually found on the U.S. Consulate’s website. When a person voluntarily surrenders their green card to a Consular Officer, there is usually no negative consequences, and they are allowed to either apply for a tourist visa, or apply for another green card later.

      However, if the green card is “taken away” from you (i.e., not voluntarily surrendered) there can be negative consequences.

      My blog articles is here as a service to provide you with general information. When you are ready to surrender the green card and ask for a tourist visa, you may wish to hire an immigration attorney to ask specific questions about your particular situation, at which time the immigration attorney will take the time to find out your entire immigration history and provide you with the answers you seek. It is not a good idea to base your whole future on a blog meant to help the general public and not you specifically.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  186. Gabriela
    January 12, 2011

    Hi:

    I am a US citizen as well as my youngest daughter, but my oldest one (she´s 12) obtained her green card 9 months ago, we are not currently living in the US can she lose her GC even if she´s a minor, thank you.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 12, 2011

      Dear Gabriela:

      Yes, the rules are the same for minors and adults with green cards who stay outside the USA too long.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  187. Pepe Angulo
    January 11, 2011

    I am a U.S. Permanent Resident.
    I was in Argentina for 5 months.
    I returned to the U.S. and have been here for 2 months, how long am I required to stay in the U.S. before I can leave again and remain under legal permanent resident status?
    Do I have to stay in the U.S. for 6 months?
    When can I leave on vacation again, basically, is the question.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 12, 2011

      Dear Pepe:

      If you wish to keep your US permanent residency, it would be good if each year you plan on being in the USA at least 7 months out of the year. It sounds like you were already outside the USA for 5 months. Therefore, it would be good to stay in the USA for 5 more months before you leave again (2 + 5 = 7 months) — because then you will have been in the USA for a total of 7 months. There are many other places to go on vacation within the USA (Hawaii? New York? San Diego?) that may not be as nice as Argentina, but still very nice.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  188. YoDiDi
    January 9, 2011

    Currently a US permanent resident since 1994(I was 9 years old in 1994). Left the states on December 5th, 2010 to go study abroad in China, will return on September 29th, 2011. Currently have US permanent address, US bank account, US Driver’s license, both US citizen parents live in the US. What to expect at the US airport’s Immigration & Customs desk when return from China?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 12, 2011

      Dear YoDiDi:

      Any US permanent resident who has been outside the USA for more than 6 months (but less than 12 months) should expect to be taken into secondary inspection and questioned for 1-3 hours, sometimes while videotaped. They should make sure they are rested as possible and have eaten on the plane. Bring a book to read during any wait to stay calm. Cell phone usage is not allowed, nor are attorneys or family members allowed. Cell phones, laptops, and all luggage may be searched. Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites may be accessed. Bring proof of ties to the USA (copy many documents — many more than listed in the question) to prove your place of residence is the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  189. Dana
    January 9, 2011

    Hello, thank you for all your great info you are putting out there. I appreciate it so much, as it is quite confusing to me and you can hardly ever get an answer calling the consulate here in Germany.
    I am married to a US citizen Army soldier and have had a green card since our marriage in 1999. We came to Germany with military orders in 2001 and the consulate told us as long as I am on the orders we don’t have to do anything and even though my GG experied in 2001 they told us it doesn’t apply to us because we are here on military orders and I can always travel to the US with the orders for Germany and my expired GG. Anyway, when we adopted our child internationally we found out that my case was abondoned. Since it was their mistake they pushed our case and said the easiest is to apply for a new visa and when I travel to the US I would get my 10 year green card right away. So I entered the States Dec. 09 and got my GG really quick. Sorry, this is so long I just wanted to give you all the “before” info as well.
    Anyway, my husband got stationed back to the US in Oct 09, but I didn’t go with him to live, because we knew he was getting deployed to Afghanistan soon. So I visited him in Dec 09 and May ’10 right before he left for his 1 year deployment. I left the States 3rd June 2010. Now, my husband doesn’t come back from Afghanistan until middle/end of this June and I don’t really have anyone I could visit before that. Do you think it would be a problem if I entered late June this year (so a little more then 12 month)? Or is there anything I can get from the consulate? Also, do you know if I can apply for US citizenship after a few years of being on military orders in Europe (as it seems like we will be stationed in Italy for a few years starting the end of the year) and with my husband being in the military we haven’t had a chance to live in the US for these required years in more then 12 years.
    I hope you can help me with some of my questions and sorry again that this got so long.
    Have a great day and thank you very much.
    Dana

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 12, 2011

      Dear Dana,

      Yes, with your extended history, you should expect many problems when you try to re-enter the USA. Unfortunately you will need to pay an immigration attorney to help you with both re-entering the USA and with your citizenship. Perhaps the military can assign an immigration attorney to you at no cost? The rules are too intricate for me to spell them out here for you. You do not have the type of case that can be handled through a free blog (sorry, but if you read my blog comments you will find that I don’t say that often . . . I do my best to save people money, not spend it).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  190. pete
    January 9, 2011

    Dear Danielle Nelisse
    I am a green card holder and I have questions about leaving US for more than 6 months. On 11 December 2010 I left US to Thailand because I found out that my father has cancer in his brain. The doctor said that my dad need someone with him at all time. Doctor even suggest that my dad has about 6-8 months. Currently I still don’t know when I’ll be able to go back to US, it might be longer than 6 months. I found out that i-131 required the applicant to do fingerprint in US. here’s my question
    1) Can I do finger print with US consulate in Thailand?
    2) If I apply now, how long is the fingerprint period? I may be able to go back to US, just to get fingerprint.
    3) If I leave US for more than 6 months but not over a year, will that impact my neutralization? will they take my green card away?
    Thank you,
    Pete

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 16, 2011

      Dear Pete:

      I am sorry to hear about your father. No, they do not allow you to provide your fingerprints for the I-131 at the U.S. Consulate in Thailand. If you go back to the USA and file the I-131, first you will receive your I-131 receipt, and then you will receive your biometrics (fingerprint) appointment notice. After you provide your prints you can leave the USA again. It may take 4-6 weeks to receive the receipt and then the biometrics appt. notice. It sounds like a good idea to come back to the USA now and file the I-131.

      If you leave the USA for more than 6 months but less than 12 months, you will be taken into secondary inspection for questioning upon your return to the USA. Have all the same supporting documents that are needed for the I-131 ready to show the officer to prove that you intended to return to the USA and stayed due to circumstances beyond your control.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  191. Jamal
    January 8, 2011

    hello there,
    I am a green card holder and for the past two years I have been been working outside the US with the the US Army. I have returned to the US every 6 months so far. I recently found out that I should have filled out the N-470 form. So, can these two years that I was away count towards my naturalization? What should I do at this stage?
    Thanks,
    Jamal

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 16, 2011

      Dear Jamal:

      There is too much about your case that I don’t know. You will have to retain the services of an American immigration attorney to find out how to proceed with your citizenship.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  192. Jan
    January 8, 2011

    Hello there,

    I am a green card holder ,got my GC in 2008, It has been two years now that I work as linguist for US military in Afghanistan.I have not filled out form N-470 yet. Will the two years time that I have spent abroad (in Afghanistan in support of US military mission) count toward my US residency? What choice do I have so the two years that I have worked abroad is counted toward my US residency as I don’t want my neutralization process to become delay?
    thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 16, 2011

      Dear Jan:

      There is too much about your case that I don’t know. You will have to retain the services of an American immigration attorney to find out how to proceed with your citizenship.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      Dear Jamal:

      There is too much about your case that I don’t know. You will have to retain the services of an American immigration attorney to find out how to proceed with your citizenship.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  193. Madison
    January 6, 2011

    Hi there,

    I have a permanent resident card but have been out of the USA for 1.5 years as I fell pregnant abroad so couldn’t travel. I have my ticket home booked in 8 weeks time, if I tried to use my resident card to re-enter the USA would I be sent back to the UK, or could I bring evidence of my pregnancy with me and see if they let me in? If not would I have to surrender my card and would that effect my ability to apply for a spousal visa? Would I have time to apply for a returning resident visa, and would I be likely to qualify for one? (I did work for a short while in the UK too but intended to return to the US after selling my flat. Sorry for so many questions but it’s rare to find such a good website!

    Thanks in advance for your reply

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 7, 2011

      Dear Madison:

      I’ll try to answer your many questions here:

      1. Yes, if you try to use your unexpired green card after being outside the USA for over 1 year, after hours of questioning in secondary inspection, the airport/border officers are required to consider sending you back on the next plane, or refer you to an Immigration Judge (while you may wait in an American immigration jail for months) to see if you can keep your card.
      2. There is no special “waiver” in the rules for women who couldn’t return because they were pregnant. A full term pregnancy takes 9 months, which is under 1 year.
      3. Your only choice is to either (a) surrender your green card in person at a U.S. Consulate; or, (b) apply at the U.S. Consulate for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa, which if granted, allows you to keep your green card.
      4. No one can say whether you would be “likely to qualify” for an SB-1 Returning Visa. It is up to the Consular Officers.

      Instructions for both the surrender of green cards and SB-1 Returning Resident Visas are on the U.S. Consulate/Embassy websites.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Madison
        January 8, 2011

        Thank you so so much for your reply, I wouldn’t want to risk being kept away from my daughter so will go for one of the two other options. If I do surrender my green card, would that affect my eligability to then apply for a spousal visa?

        Thanks again for all your advice!

        Madison

        • immigrationworkvisa
          January 12, 2011

          Dear Madison,

          You are welcome. If you surrender your green card, it is not supposed to negatively effect your eligibility for another green card in the future.

          Kind Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  194. jo
    January 6, 2011

    hi,
    i have a question for you.
    do US immigration know when you leave the country at the airport if you hold a US green card?
    if so, by what method do they know the exact date of exit from US soil as you are not asked to give any documentation on departure.
    I wil look forward to your reply
    many thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 7, 2011

      Dear Jo:

      It is a grave error to commit immigration fraud. Always be truthful to immigration officials about entry and departure dates.

      Regards, Danielle

  195. jo
    January 6, 2011

    hi,
    i have a question for you.
    do US immigration know when you leave the country at the airport if you hold a US green card?
    if so, by what method do they know the exact date of exit from US soil as you are not asked togive any documentation on departure.
    I wil look forward to your reply
    many thanks

  196. Annette
    January 5, 2011

    Hi,

    I am legal permanent resident of US since 1981, however I have been residing in London for the past year on work visa (I returned to the USA one month before 1 year deadline. I would like to apply for US citizenship, my question is can I apply for citizenship while still residing in London or should I wait until I return the US at the end of this year? I have maintained my US bank accounts and residence as well, in additon all my immediatefamily members reside in the US and are US naturalized citizens.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 7, 2011

      Dear Annette:

      You will need to move back to America (permanently) while you are applying for USA citizenship. If you do not return to the USA soon, you risk losing your green card permanently and not being able to apply for USA citizenship at all. USA Bank accounts and relatives will not work – you will have to make the decision to move back to the USA or risk losing legal status.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  197. Abdul Jarrah
    January 5, 2011

    My wife and I are working overseas (we both are GC holders). We plan to go home (US) on April which will be by then more than 6 months since leaving. Also, we will have our newborn boy with us, and we will be asking for a GC for him there. What should be expect at the immigration desk? Will there be any problem? we own a house there, pay utility bills and taxes, have bank accounts, credit cards in USA.
    Please let me know. Thanks.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 7, 2011

      Dear Abdul:

      When you return to the USA airport/border after 6 months abroad, expect to be taken to secondary inspection for lengthy questioning. Have all the documents ready to show your house, etc. in the USA. Yes, expect problems. If at all possible, return before being abroad 6 months to avoid complications.

      Sincerely, Danielle Nelisse

  198. jo
    January 5, 2011

    hi i congratulate you on this very informative and supportive blog.

  199. c. mercado
    January 3, 2011

    I came to the US in 2001 and stayed until 2008. I got my green card which will expire on 2012. In December of 2008, I had to urgently go back to my birth country because my father became seriously ill. Doctors advised us that my father might just be around for 2 weeks. So we decided to take care of him at home. To our gratitude, he lived for almost two years and left his body only last October 2010. This means I have been out in the U.S. for more than 2 years now. Is there any chance at all that I can go back to America? Thank you.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 7, 2011

      Dear C. Mercado:

      The only way to find out whether you have a chance to come back to America on your old green card after being abroad for 2 years is to apply for a SB-1 Returning Resident Visa at the U.S. Consulate/Embassy. The instructions are on the consulate websites.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  200. Tamara
    January 3, 2011

    Hi,
    I am green card holder since Oct,2009.
    I am planning to leave US in March 3,2011 for 9 months .
    My question is Do I will lose my continuous residency? and the 5 year should count again at the time of my next entry to USA?
    Thank you

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 7, 2011

      Dear Tamara:

      If you are abroad more than 6 months, it is presumed that you are disrupting the continuity of your residency. If you truly want USA citizenship 5 years after 2009, do not travel for extended periods until after you get your citizenship. You should accept the fact that all extended trips may delay your citizenship application.

      Sorry that I can’t be more precise – we don’t know what the laws will be in 2014.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  201. Cali
    January 3, 2011

    Hi Danielle,
    I’ve been a green card holder since Jan 22,2008. I’m now eligible to apply for a US citizenship under a 3 years/spouse is American category.I have already sent my application and got the biometric or finger print done on Dec 30th,2010. Now I’m waiting for an interview appointment.These 3 years as the resident,I have traveled out of the US all together 524 days out of the eligible 548 days. Most of these days has happened in 2009-2010 since my husband got laid off and got a new job aboard,Kuwait.(I have calculated my time by http://www.timeanddate.com)
    Since I have 24 days left to spend out of the US, I’m planing to go back to Kuwait to visit my husband. My questions is;

    1.Would it be safe for me to use up the 24 days I have left visiting my husband before coming back for an interview?

    2. If I leave Jan4-Jan22,2011,it will be all together 18 days. If I continue to stay in Kuwait after Jan22 for 2 more weeks before coming back for an interview, would these 2 weeks be counted as the time out of the US of my 3 years residency as well or they will be counted as on my 4th year of residency?

    Just want to visit my husband before coming back for an interview and want to make sure that it will not cause me a problem on my citizenship process.

    Thanks so very much in advance for your advice.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 7, 2011

      Dear Cali:

      I know that it is hard being separated from your husband.

      However, if you don’t want complications concerning your citizenship process, you should stay in the USA until your citizenship is granted at the oath ceremony. You paid a lot of money for the citizenship and it is important to finish the process. In addition to possibly missing your interview, missing a second request for fingerprints, miscalculating the days abroad, or getting delayed abroad, trips to Kuwait during processing can trigger additional security checks and delay your citizenship for many months or years.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  202. daniel
    January 2, 2011

    good day!
    i was petitioned by my mother when i was under 21 and i received my green card on 5/17/05. after i received my green card since i still have to finish 1yr in my school back in the philippines i immidiately went back for 1yr and i remember something that i read in a paper sent by the embassy that i can stay for atleast 1yr outside the U.S..my question is if the 1yr i spent outside the U.S. can be counted for the 5yr continuous residence requirement for applying U.S. citizenship?coz i need to petition my fiance ASAP.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 7, 2011

      Dear Daniel:

      Unfortunately you didn’t mention if you live in the USA now, exactly how long you were gone from the USA in 2005-2006 (365 days exactly?), or how long you have now been in the USA continuously ( 4 years and ??? days). Kindly fill out Page 4 oif the Form N400 from the http://www.uscis.gov website, save it, and email it to me at danielle@immigrationworkvisa and ask me the question again.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  203. mark
    December 30, 2010

    hi,
    i have been a permanent residence since 2000 but left the U.S in 2006 for school puposes abroad using a re-entry permit. it was my mistake that i didnt file for a citizenship though i was already allowed to since it had been more than 5 years of my residency. now that im back here in U.S will i still have a chance to be able to apply for my u.s citizenship. i understand that i have stayed abroad for more than 12 months which had already broken the continuity of my naturalization. on the contrary, prior to my departure from the u.s i have fulfilled the requirement for naturalization of 5 years of residency.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 30, 2010

      Dear Mark,

      If you are serious about getting your citizenship, you are going to need to find an immigration attorney to meet with and show your proof of “ties to the US” while you were abroad.

      Please don’t try to do your citizenship case without first showing the attorney your proof and asking if it is enough to prove that even though you were gone over 12 months, you still deserve citizenship. Meetings with immigration attorneys cost about $150 – $250 and that is worth it before paying the USCIS fees for citizenship. It is impossible to answer your question for free on a blog without looking at your documents and first asking you many questions.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  204. kaydeelee
    December 28, 2010

    Hi! I really need advise.

    I am a conditional permanent resident, went to the US with a CR1 visa. My husband and daughter are US citizens. I have yet to submit my petition to remove conditions in February but my husband got a job in Australia and we now have a business long stay visa in australia.

    My husband and I want to pursue the lifting of condition. So i am going back to the US next month (i’ll be 4 months away then) to file for it. Can i apply for a re-entry permit while my removal of condition petition is pending?

    Personally, I really want to just abandon my residency and file CR1 over again when we decide to go back to the US.

    I am really confused. I want to know which one is easier.

    Thanks in advance.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 30, 2010

      Dear Kaydeelee:

      Yes, you have difficult choices. I am assuming your husband’s job in Australia is permanent and if you return to the USA you may not return within the 2 years allowed with an approved Re-Entry Permit.

      You have the choice of being separated now, while you pursue going back to the USA to get the conditions lifted off your green card and get a Re-Entry Permit, or possibly being separated later as you pursue getting your green card all over again. Your case is complicated and you should retain the services of an immigration attorney to help you — the stakes are high (separation from your daughter and husband), the expenses will be high (either way, due to travel and living expenses) and you should not rely on free blog advice for the future of you and your family. If you read my blog answers you will see that I rarely say this.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  205. Christy Michelle Thompson-Whiteside
    December 28, 2010

    Dear mrs Nelisse,
    I am a fifteen year old girl from Montgomery, Alabama. I am a American citizen however my Mom was on a green card. Since we moved to England seven years ago (due to financieal problems)My Mom’s Green card has expired. I am severly home sick and have nearly saved up enough money for my brother, mom and me to visit Alabama for a few weeks. But My Mom doesn’t want to go because she believes that the immagration at the airport will not allow her to enter back into America because of her expired green card. Will they think that she is trying to sneek back into the country? If so do you know of any forms that we can present to enshure her return to The United Kingdom? Perhaps a letter of recomendation.
    Please help me mrs Nelisse, I very much need to see home again and i can’t go without my Mom.
    P.S.
    sorry about any spelling mistakes.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 30, 2010

      Dear Christy,

      Your mom is right – if her green card is expired the airport officers will probably not let her re-enter the United States. After a 10 year green card holder is out of the USA for more than a year, the card is no longer any good to re-enter the USA (the rules are different if she had a 2 year green card).

      If she wants to back to the USA as a tourist, she can surrender her green card in person at the U.S. Consulate in the UK. The rules about how to surrender lawful permanent residence are on the U.S. Consulate’s website.

      I don’t know if she needs a tourist (B1/B2) visa from the U.S. Consulate to enter the USA as a tourist. People who were born in the UK do not — but they do need prior approval to enter the USA through the “ESTA” system. That information is also on the U.S. Consulate website.

      It is a good idea to take care of these things before she travels. That way, when she shows up at the USA airport as a tourist/visitor, there should be no question about her status.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  206. kdevi
    December 19, 2010

    Iam green card holder since 09 july 2003 but i left usa in between as follow

    dt left dt retuned trip last6 total days
    usa usa month or more out of usa

    19dec09 05jan10 no 16
    01dec07 27dec2007 no 26
    05aug05 12july06 yes 340
    29jul04 03 jul05 yes 337
    13aug03 25 july04 yes 345
    —— 09july 03

    in the light of above mentioned detail please let me know when can i submit my application for naturalisation
    1- my 5years of continous stay will complete on 11july 2011
    2-please let me know also whether i am eligible for 4years and 1 day rule also as i am green card holder for last 7 yearsand 6months but was not in usa continously earlier to 12July2006. Can I apply for naturalization just rightnow,

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 20, 2010

      Dear Kdevi:

      Using an internet date calculator, it is necessary for you to calculate the exact number of days you have been outside the U.S. in the last 5 years. I’m sorry but I don’t have time to do it for you for free. During the last 5 years, you cannot be outside the USA more than 1/2 of the 5 years in order to qualify for naturalization.

      After you calculate the exact number of days you have been outside the U.S. in the last 5 years, you will determine whether any of your trips were for more than 6 continuous months. It appears that you had 3 trips more than 6 months in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

      A person could be eligible after the 4-year-and-one-day rule, if that is the only issue and there are no other factors making one ineligible for the N-400 filing and approval. It is not possible to provide a definitive answer for you, based on the limited information above. If the 4-year-and-one-day rule is used, then it will be necessary to rebut the presumption of a break in the continuity of residence that results from having spent more than 6 months abroad during the statutory 5 year period.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  207. Ahmed
    December 17, 2010

    Hi,
    I hold LPR which expires on 9/11..I live abroad US for more than 7 years due to difficult circumstances, I would like to return to the US ASAP, what are the chances please and what shall I do?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 20, 2010

      Dear Ahmed:

      I think your chances are slim to keep your LPR status after a 7 year absence, unless you have an extraordinary circumstance that was beyond your control. You can apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa at the U.S. Consulate in your country and ask them if you can keep your LPR status; the instructions are on the website of the U.S. Consulate.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  208. sunday
    December 17, 2010

    I’m a green card holder.I was outside the u.s from april 9,2010 but came back on september 29,2010.Are the 174 days up to six months? I mean does that breach the six months requirement of continuous residence for the purpose of naturalization? It really bothers me.Please reply.Thanks.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 17, 2010

      To calculate the exact number of days you have been outside the USA, it is best to use one of the date calculators on the internet (such as http://www.timeanddate.com). You will be asked to put in the date you left the USA, and the date you returned to the USA, and it will add up the days for you. Six months = 30 days x 6 = 180 days.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  209. vgupta
    December 16, 2010

    1 am green card holder since sept2003 and availed
    two (2years2006-07, 2008-09)and one (1 year 2010) re entry permit in last 5 yeears because of family obligation . can i apply and get one more reentry permit.Is it Safe or will it be problem

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 17, 2010

      Technically, there is no limit to the number of re-entry permits you can ask for. However, as a precautionary measure, it would be best to stay in the USA until the fourth re-entry permit is approved, and to also maintain many ties to the USA while you are gone (and bring proof of them to the airport with you when you re-enter).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  210. sibel
    December 14, 2010

    HI, THank you
    please explain in detail about form DHS-117 for alien return permit to u.s that were been extended stay out of u.s

  211. far
    December 14, 2010

    Hello
    thank you for information
    please explain about of form i-90 for reached 14th reason,(my daughter became permanent resident before 14th and now has 14 years old)if i fill I-90 for him late what will happen?because she is overseas.and her green card will not expire before 16th

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 17, 2010

      Dear Far,

      Your child’s case is more complicated than most because she is outside the USA. One strategy is to contact the U.S. Consulate in the country where your child is and ask what to do. Once it has been established that the LPR child has been outside of the USA for less than one year, and his/her 10 year Green Card is expired, the U.S. Embassy may issue a “transportation letter” to enable the LPR to board and plane and enter the USA, where he/she can submit the I-90 application for a new Green Card.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  212. Jane
    December 14, 2010

    Hi Danielle.

    Thank you for all the info on your website. I became a US permanent resident in November 2007 through marriage to my US Citizen Husband. In May 2010 we left the US to spend some time in my native country, the UK. When we left the US we didn’t think we needed the re-entry permit as we had planned to visit the US at least once a year. Now I have read more about it I am concerned that we made a mistake in not getting a re-entry permit. I currently hold a temporary job in London, and my husband is now working for the European subsidiary of a US company in London however we plan to return to the US in 2012. I really want to keep hold of my green card as we do want to return and because of the amount of time/ money it took to get it. Do you have any advice?

    Many thanks,

    Jane

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 14, 2010

      Dear Jane,

      If you had obtained your U.S. citizenship prior to leaving the USA, you wouldn’t be facing this problem. I say this so that readers of this blog might follow my advice and get their citizenship before they leave. As you are finding out, the USA does not understand why people want to be a permanent resident of the USA and then they choose to leave. All countries have this point of view about permanent residence. Once a person obtains citizenship, most countries do not monitor how long the person is absent.

      You have two choices: (1) return to the USA for 1-2 months (prior to being outside the USA 12 months) and file the I-131 application for a Re-Entry Permit (it takes 1-2 months for the biometrics to be scheduled, although if you retain an immigration attorneys they can expedite the biometrics) before going back to the UK; or, (2) apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa at the U.S. Consulate before you return to the USA in 2012. As you problably have read, your unexpired green card is not considered valid for re-entry after you have been outside the USA for 12 months or more.

      Each of these strategies has its pros and cons, and neither are guaranteed to be sucessful. The worst case scenario is that you surrender your green card and your husband files for you again (may take about 1 year if you are outside the USA).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

    • sibel
      December 14, 2010

      what will happen if i fill form i-90 for my daughter late,in the reason of reach to 14th,but her green card will not expire until 16th

      • immigrationworkvisa
        December 17, 2010

        Dear Sibel:
        If your daughter has a 2 year green card, there can be complications if you file an I-751 petition late. If your daughter has a 10 year green card there normally are no negative consequences for turning in a late I-90. A person does not lose their permanent residence status when the 10 year card expires — they just do not have proof of their legal status.

        Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  213. Shae
    December 10, 2010

    I am Australian and have had my GC ( permanent resident card) for almost 5 years. I left the US in August to move to London for work oportunities. I have been working with an Global company that has offices in NY and Boston as well London, HK and Switzerland. I am however operating out of the London office. We have a work function early april in Miami for 4 days. Will I be able to enter on my Permanent Resident card ( I will have been out of the US for 8 months by then) OR do I need to apply to come for 4 day under a different visa?

    Thank you

    Shae

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 10, 2010

      Dear Shae:

      Green card holders cannot enter the U.S. in a different (“nonimmigrant”) status because they are “immigrants” unless they surrender their green card (immigrant status) in person at a U.S. Consulate. So if you no longer wish to keep your green card, you could surrender it and ask for a tourist visa.

      If you try to re-enter after 8 months absence from the USA, you will most likely be taken into secondary inspection at the airport or land border and asked why you have been gone so long and what ties you still have to the U.S. They have the authority to deny your re-entry and take away your green card.

      If you truly wish to keep your green card, you should do it the right way: re-enter before you are outside the USA for 6 months and quickly file a Re-Entry Permit before you go back to London, which would take about 1-2 months.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      P.S. You didn’t mention if the “global company” was American owned or not, which might make a difference. If you choose to file a Re-Entry Permit application, you should hire an Immigration Attorney because your case is complicated and they know how to arrange for you to leave the USA more quickly than if you do it yourself.

  214. far
    December 6, 2010

    sorry, my grenn vard valid untill 2017

  215. Karen
    December 6, 2010

    I am currently in Australia although I have LPR status and an expired Re-Entry Permit I-131 (expired May 2010). I have been outside the US for more than 2 years now. I had a baby in June 2010 and it is just not possible to return to the US to take up residency again (via SB-1) at this stage. However, I do want to be able to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program for a vacation and visit my brother and I did not want to arrive in the US with an expired I-131 and be sent home. As it is too hard to try to maintain my LPR, I assume the best thing to do would be to formally abandon my LPR. However, I cannot find any information on the Australian US Consulate websites about how to file an I-407, only on the US Consulate site in the UK. Any suggestions? Will I be able to visit the US after abandoning my LPR on the Visa Waiver Program or must I apply for a non-immigrant Visa? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Karen
      December 6, 2010

      I have since found the I-407 form on the Australian US Consulate website, however my question about how to travel to the US as a non-immigant still stands. Will I be able to visit the US after abandoning my LPR on the Visa Waiver Program or must I apply for a non-immigrant Visa?

      • immigrationworkvisa
        December 7, 2010

        Dear Karen,
        Sorry, I cannot predict what position the U.S. Consulate in Australia will take on that issue. You will be surrendering your green card in person and you can ask them at that time.

        Sincerely, Danielle Nelisse

  216. far
    December 5, 2010

    Hello
    my family(wife^dougters)and me were been resident on july 2007 and lived there 3 month,then came back to our country for sale property but unfortunatly i sold it 1 month ago, we want to return to u.s after 4 years, and my bank account and credit cards were active till now,how can solve this problem?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 6, 2010

      Dear Far:
      Because your green cards are no longer valid to re-enter the U.S., you would have to ask the U.S. Consulate in your country if they would grant you an SB-1 Returning Resident visa, which would reactivate your green cards. The instructions are on the U.S. Consulate’s website.
      Kind regards,
      Danielle Nelisse

  217. james huntley
    December 4, 2010

    My wife and I have a U.S. immigrant visa (I-551) based on family relationship that expires May4/2011. My wife has the opportunity to take a full time position in Canada (replacing someone on Maternity leave until Sept 2011). We had planned to go to U.S. in December 2010 to spend holidays with her family and stay 2 weeks, come back in May and stay an additional 2 weeks, and then return to U.S. full time in October of 2011. However, it seems there is a substantial risk of losing the green card if we follow this course of action. Instead, our intention is to not enter the U.S. until May 2011 before the visa expires , stay for 2 weeks and then return in October to the U.S. on a full time basis. Do you see any problems with our revised plan? We appreciate any advice you can give us.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 6, 2010

      Dear James:
      Your situation is more complicated than the average case. Please call me at the phone number(s) below to discuss your case. There is no charge to call me and discuss what you need.

      Telephone: (877) 884-6644 (TOLL FREE in USA) or (619) 235-8811 from outside the USA.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  218. Mario
    December 3, 2010

    Hi
    I have been granted a green card in January 2010. I work for a US company, my contract is with the the said US company subsidiary overseas, the subsidiary is wholly owned by the mother company back in the US and I have been working for it before getting the green card. Due to my job responsabilities. I must be present overseas from 4 to 5 months at a time, and then go back to the US for 1 to 3 months at time. My spouse and our kids who are all born US citizens are with me overseas as well.
    Could this situation be a source of problems?, We maitain a home address, a bank account, a driver license, I also own a business in the US and we have extensive family ties in the US, I will file my taxes in the US and I have never nor will I abandon my inttention to live in the US.
    Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 6, 2010

      Dear Mario:

      Yes, the airport officials could take you back to secondary inspection for questioning due to being outside the USA so much. Perhaps the company can hire an Immigration Attorney to prepare a statement/evidence package for you to present when that happens. Also, your citizenship may be delayed, depending upon the rules when it is time for you to apply.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

      • Mario
        December 6, 2010

        Thanks Danielle
        I forgot to add that I have applied for an I-131 to show that I have no inttention to live outside the US.It will also allow me to stay longer than 6 months but less than 2 years if needed, this won’t hapen anyways. Meanwhile I am applying for an N-470 to maintain my residency condition for the citizenship. I am promoting a US company business overseas.
        Thanks

  219. arati
    December 3, 2010

    My Conditional GC expires on May 2011.Iam visiting my country for 4 months and i will be returning back on march 2011. Would there be any problem for Reentry??Please let me know

    Thanks for all the Info

  220. Mona Pernisco
    December 1, 2010

    Hello…Maybe someone can help me here…How do the six months count? I will be outside the US for 5 months in 2010 (10 days in January of 2010/20 days in March of 2010/and 125 days from Aug to Dec of 2010 = what totals around 5 months in the year of 2010). I wanna know if it zeros out and starts to count the 6 months again in 2011? Or if it counts a period of 6 months consecutively?? So in this case do I have to come back by the end of January… so my total last trip won’t be longer than 6 months??

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 6, 2010

      Dear Mona,

      No individual trip should last more than 6 months. However, if you are outside the USA more than inside the USA (counting total days in one year), the airport officials can try to take your green card away. Green card holders are supposed to live in the USA the majority of the time (in general 7 months a year) to keep their permanent residence. There are no set rules about when “the year” starts. The officers normally count back from the time you are re-entering the USA (tell me about your trips in the last 12 months?).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  221. Jonathan Valencia
    December 1, 2010

    Hello,

    I’ve been a resident of the US since 2004. My residency expires in 2014. I’m currently living in France and have been given a visa for 6 months. As a Salvadoran national I know that I can legally live in France for 3 months- granted that I provide proof of a return ticket.

    My question is: if I travel to the United States (for a period of one week) shortly BEFORE my 6 month visa expires will this be seen as legal? See, this is what’s going on in my mind- as stupid as it may seem.

    I land in New York get my passport stamped, leave New York with proof that I shall be returning back to the states (with a round trip ticket) stay in France for three more months and then safely be allowed to return without having to apply for a re-entry permit.

    Whew.

    Thanks for you help- and I hope that I was clear enough.

    J

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 1, 2010

      Dear Jonathan:

      I don’t quite know what you mean about the 6 month visa. I’m going to assume that it means France gave you a visa to reside in France for 6 months. I also don’t know when you left the U.S. I am going to assume you have been out of the US about 5 months. I am also going to assume you have a bank acount, credit card, apartment, car, tax returns and other ties to the US. You also did not mention whether you are working in France, or whether you married a French wife. For the purposes of this question, I am going to assume you are not working and not married. I also do not know what your travel history is like. I am going to assume this is the only extended trip you took since 2004 and you do not plan to be outside the US on an extended trip again. I am also going to assume you had a great reason to be outside the US for that long.

      In general, the US expects you to live inside the U.S. more than outside the US. That means at least 7 months out of each year, if not more, you would live in the US. In your scenario, you would be out of the US for about 9 months out of a one year period. Yes, you definitely could have problems returning to the US, even though there was a 1 week return to the US in the middle of the 9 month period. It is up to the airport officers how much to question your intent.

      Come on – the airport officers can figure out what you are trying to do. It will be completely up to the airport officers how you are treated when you try to return the second time. If you don’t want to apply for a Re-Entry Permit, when you return the second time bring a lot of documents to prove your ties to the US from 2001 to the present, as well as justification for being outside so long so that you have the best chance of success.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  222. Tia
    November 27, 2010

    Hi I come from Vietnam. I just have a question and looking forward to receiving your response ASAP with many thanks. I have been granted Temporary I551 Evidencing Permanent Residence which will be expired on 08/03/2011. Unfortunately, my dad is very ill now so I need to stay by his side. I want to extend my visa, can you pls kindly advice what I should do to apply? Thank you in advance and wish you have a nice day.

    Best regards,
    Tia Le

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 29, 2010

      Dear Tia:
      Because I don’t know your entire visa/green card history, I can’t answer your question. You could either (a) apply for a Re-Entry Permit before you leave, or (b) apply for a Returning Resident Visa at the U.S. Consulate when you want to try to come back, or (c) surrender your green card at the U.S. Consulate and start all over again. The information for all 3 is on the U.S. Consulate website.
      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  223. kismat
    November 26, 2010

    hello sir/maddam
    i have green card about 2 years and show in bank account driving licence in sinlge i have a 1 daughter after came here she born and right now 14 month she is mother my finance so how apply visa both come here can i marry on phone or i going there is hard for going there for me bcz job problum please reply on e.mail what can i do thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 29, 2010

      Dear Kismat:
      I am sorry, but your English translation is not good enough for me to understand. Please write another question with the help of someone who can help with the English translation.
      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  224. immi
    November 19, 2010

    I got married outside USA, i am living with my husband for a 14 months now, i’ve valid re-entry permit. I’m not working, so never filed taxes. Will my reason be justified, i don’t have much documentation.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 29, 2010

      Dear Immi:
      I don’t know enough of your history to give you an answer. Here are some of the things I don’t know:
      1. Who got you your green card in the first place?
      2. Why did you file the Re-Entry Permit?
      3. Where is your husband from?

      If you’d like to email me further information to my office email, perhaps I could point you in the right direction.
      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      danielle@immigrationworkvisa.com

      • immi
        November 29, 2010

        Thanks for ur reply.
        If i remain 4 months outside, and 4 months in USA, then again 4 months outside, will that cause any problem with my entry ? and what will be the effect once i apply for citizenship? Overall i will have 40months in USA, 20 Months Outside.

        • immigrationworkvisa
          December 6, 2010

          Dear Immi:

          In order to keep your green card and get your citizenship, you need to plan on living in the USA at least 7 months a year.

          Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  225. Valeria
    November 18, 2010

    Hi, THANKS FOR ALL THE INFO AND answering soo many questions! I am a Australian citizen, and a US Permanent Green card holder since June 2010,started the immigration process as a fiance in June 2007, I have lived here for 3.5 years with my husband who is a US citizen. We are starting the process for my husband to become a legal resident of Australia and need/want to go and live there for awhile while we wait out the process and to see my family again….Im frustrated with the fact that for my husband to start the Australian process,thus intend to live abroad I’m putting my US residency, time and money spent on it at risk….What is the correct, legal process for both of us to be legal in both places and be able to choose where we live eventually without loosing my residency here in the USA? Can I apply for duel citizenship as an Australian and American after 3 years even if we spend the next 2 years in Australia?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 29, 2010

      Dear Valeria:
      Thank you for your kind words.

      The best way for you both to have dual citizenship for life, is for you to get your American citizenship before leaving the U.S. The process only takes about 4-6 months. After you have your American citizenship, you will be a dual citizen of both countries and it won’t matter how long you live outside the U.S. – you will retain your American citizenship for life.
      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  226. SERKAN LACİN
    November 14, 2010

    İ HAVE A GC SİNCE 2001 AND İ LİVED İN THE USA UNTİLL JULY 2008. DUE TO THE FİNANCİAL CRİSİS İ HAD TO LEAVE THE US AND NOW WİLLİNG TO COME BACK. İ AM A LONG TİME GC HOLDER BUT İ STAYED OUTSİDE MORE THAN 2 YEARS WİTHOUT A REENTRY VİSA. WHAT SHOULD İ DO BEFORE İ TRAVEL BACK TO USA? MY GC WİLL BE EXPİRED BY APRİL 2011.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 29, 2010

      Dear Serkan,

      I am sorry that the American economy caused you to jeopardize your green card. You will have to apply for a Returning Resident Visa from the U.S. Consulate and prove to them all that you have told me, plus show them proof of ties (from 2001 to the present) to the U.S. By the way, you were supposed to be filing American tax returns whether you earned your money inside or outside the U.S.

      It is going to be the U.S. Consular Officer’s decision whether to let you keep your green card, or have you surrender it and start over again. It is much better to have the U.S. Consular Officer make this decision rather than the airport officers. As you know, even though your green card doesn’t expire until April 2011, it is not valid for re-entry after you have been abroad for over 1 year, no matter what the reason.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  227. Jean Paule
    November 12, 2010

    My card was issued on November 2000 and will expired on November 2011. Based on the duration of a green card, i would like to know when i will need to renew my green card because the expiration date is greater than 10 years. I would like to know if it was a mistake on the expiration date?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 29, 2010

      Dear Jean:
      Yes, that is unusual.
      By the way, for a 10 year green card, even when the I-551 green card expires, your actual status does not expire. The card is just proof of status. If it were me, I would make an INFOPASS appointment to go to my local USCIS office (you can make the appt. for free at http://www.uscis.gov) and ask the officers what it says in their computers and when you should apply to get a new card. Be sure to write down the name of the officer, and exactly what he/she told you.
      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  228. Paola
    November 4, 2010

    my mother has been a permanent resident since 1995. Currently she is disable. She is 52 years old and she doesn’t speak English very well. She would like to file to become a US citizen, but she is afraid to take the test due to not knowing the English language. Is she able to take the citizenship test in spanish? what options does she have.

  229. Paola
    November 4, 2010

    my mother has a green card and she wants to know how many trips within a year can she make out of the country to visit her family as long as each trip don’t last more than 6 months each?
    Last year, she left at the end of september and came back in January of 2010. Then again, she left March 31, 2010 and came back to the US June 27, 2010. She would like to go back again before the end of the year, but she wants to make sure this is not going to cause her a problem with her permanent residence. The reason for her traveling is because she is disable and she likes to visit her family for a period of time to spend time with them. Please let me know if this could cause her a problem.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 10, 2010

      The USCIS does not allow for extra traveling because a green card holder is disabled. The safest way to keep the green card is to be inside the U.S. at least 8 months each year and to keep a permanent residence, bank accounts, tax returns, credit cards, etc. to prove permanent residence in the U.S.

      Sincerely, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  230. charmie
    November 4, 2010

    Hi! im conditional permanent resident w/my green card expiring nov 15 2011,me and my husband together with our baby planning to visit my family in the philippines sept 2011 which is my baby’s 1st birthday, i just want to know is it ok if i go out of the u.s even just conditional resident and no need to apply for re-entry permit even were going to stay there in philippines for just less than a month?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 10, 2010

      Yes, there could be problems if you do not handle your I-751 Petition correctly. You will have to make the decision whether to file the I-751 Petition before you leave or after you return (I am not sure what date you will return). You are allowed to submit it up to 90 days prior to the conditional green cards’ expiration date. If you submit it earlier than 90 days, it will be sent back to you as “rejected.”

      It appears that you do not need a Re-Entry Permit because you are going to only take a one month (or less) trip, but my concern is that your 2 year card will be expiring.

      Sincerely, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  231. Brian Tomkins
    November 1, 2010

    I am British and have a GC through marriage to my American wife (issued in September 2009). We left the US to live in London (indefinitely, but likely for a couple of years at least) in September this year. We will be travelling back for a wedding in March (for 9 days).

    I assume that whatever happens, my case will be considered abandoned, but my question is around re-entry for vacations? Should I even present my GC? or can I simply travel on the UK Visa Waiver process?

    Will I epxerience any difficulty or issues?

    many thanks,

    BT

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 10, 2010

      Dear Brian:

      If you no longer want to keep your green card, you are supposed to officially “surrender” your green card at the U.S. Consulate before traveling as a tourist (on a visa waiver). There is a new ESTA registration process for visa waiver travelers where you will be answering questions about your green card – the immigration officials will know whether you ever had a green card and whether you surrendered it or not.

      If you have been outside the U.S. for over 1 year and want to see if you can keep the green card (because you intend to live in the U.S.), you would apply for an SB-1Returning Resident Visa at the U.S. Consulate.

      The instructions for applying for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa and surrendering a green card are on each U.S. Consulate’s website. Otherwise yes, you could experience difficulties with the immigration officers at the airport if you don’t make your intentions clear. It is better to make a decision about what to do with the green card ahead of time rather than leave it to the discretion of the aiport officials and miss the wedding because they put you on a plane back home due to immigration fraud.

      Sincerely, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  232. afia
    October 29, 2010

    hi,
    my family is a green card holder since 2008 ..my brother and a sister are living in US for the last three years,but my dad has got a business in home country so he has to visit his business and give time to his business here..he can afford to go to states within every 6 months bt he cant stay in states for 6 months at once,please help us in this regard.we have a plan to be shiffted to states but business over here need time to be shiffted because it already a running textile industry so what any rules for businessmans.

    secondly one of my sister is in states and another one is stuidying in home country …she has 5 years of study to be completed..if she leaves her studies in the mid that would cost him as well as would be wastage of time so what are the rules for students..she can spend 4 months summer vacations in states for just 5 years and then she also plans to be shiffted to united states after completion of her studies.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 30, 2010

      Yes, it seems that unless your family members become U.S. citizens, it will be difficult to live abroad so much and keep their green cards.

  233. joseph
    October 28, 2010

    Hi,
    My wife has been granted Green card in EB3 category in May 2010, based on her qualification as an overseas nurse and has passed CGFNS . After entry to US in July 2010, we found that the sponsored employer is unable to employee her due to credit crunch and recession. My wife is in the process of undertaking Registered Nurse(RN-NCLEX) exam only after which she can work as a RN in USA. Hence we had to return back to UK to continue her job as a RN nurse till she is able to get through the process of RN-Nclex of USA. She has made another entry to US last month for a short period of four days. Hence total two entries in last six months.
    Me, her husband have made two more entries to the US apart from my initial entry in July 2010. On my last entry, the questions which I faced gave me an impression that the immigration officers think that we are not interested in taking up permenant residence in USA. Since we have to wait for my wife to pass RN-NCLEX exam, as well as I have to obtain a job in USA before we can permenantly relocate, please advice us how we can explain our difficulties to the border immigration officers of our sincere intention and efforts taken where necessary for a smooth relocation to USA. Please advise—thanks—joseph.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 29, 2010

      Dear Joseph,
      Regrettably the airport officers are not allowed to have sympathy for your dilemma and are duty bound to follow the regulations, which state that they are required to question you if if appears you are not living in the U.S. permanently. Many new residents have had to take what they might consider to be demeaning jobs in order to make the move, if they cannot live with family members or borrow money from family to start fresh in America. Sorry, there are no special words I can tell you to “convince immigration officers of our sincere intention.”
      Kind regards, Danielle

  234. lorraine_jone
    October 26, 2010

    I have a few questions. I have a US Permanent Resident. It was issued in Sep. 2007. I have worked in the USA since May, 2000. I have filed income taxes since 2000. I have US bank accounts, US credit cards, and US medical doctors. I left the USA at the end of Sep. 2010 to care for my parents in another country (Canada). I have kept investment accounts, and credit cards from the USA. My immigration lawyer said that I should return every 2 months. However, I read that it is 6 months. Which is more correct?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 29, 2010

      Dear Lorraine:
      Both answers are correct – it depends on the situation and how long you are going to be gone. Your attorney knows your particular situation and I do not. My blog articles are written for everyone in general, not specifically for someone in your exact case.

      If you told me you were to be gone for only 1 trip, I would tell you just return before 6 months have passed. For example, I have clients who wanted to take a trip touring the world, and I told them to come back after 5 months (and not leave again for a siginicant amount of time in the same year).

      If you did not know how long you were going to be gone, which is the case for many who are caring for elderly parents, I would advise you to file a 2 year Re-Entry Permit before you leave. That way, if you ended up caring for them and not returning for 2 years (and maintained your ties to the U.S.) you would have the best chance of keeping your green card.

      If your parents needed long term care over many years (as opposed to helping them recuperate after a surgery) coming back to the U.S. every 2 months for just a few days or a week (without filing an application for the 2 year Re-Entry Permit) is bound to be noticed. The bottom line is, unless you have a Re-Entry Permit, which is good for multiple re-entries, you are supposed to be living in the U.S. more days than living in Canada each year.
      Kind regards, Danielle

  235. Nickky
    October 25, 2010

    Hi,
    I have a green card since 2008 and have been out of the US multiple times.Last time I was taken to secondary inspection, and have been warned to stay in the states. I have a business abroad and i had to leave again.This time I left the US having a 2 year re-entry permit. Can i go to the states after 2 years before it expires, or should i visit the states before 12 months? Also can apply for a re-entry permit for the second time after first one expires, and how soon should i apply for the second one?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 29, 2010

      Dear Nickky,

      Because I don’t know the particulars in your case, I am going to defer to the advice of the immigration attorney who filed your first Re-Entry permit for you. Obviously at some point in the near future you are either going to have to stop leaving so much, or give up your green card – it is just a matter of when. Good Luck!

  236. Arinla Vince
    October 24, 2010

    Hi,

    My mother won the DV lottery in 2009 and has been issued with her Green Card Oct 2010.

    The rest of my family have had our I824 forms approved and our cases have been sent to the respective national visa centres and US consulates.

    At the time of the lottery application, I was under 21 and so qualified to obtain the Green card under my mother. I am working in the UK for a British company having done my univ. degree in England.

    Q1: How long will I expect to wait before obtaining my Green Card from the London (US consulate)?

    Q2: In order to prove my intentions to stay in the US, what advice will you give me considering that I have 3 more years to go in my current graduate scheme in the UK?

    I must add, this has been a break through for my family and I really would like to qualify for naturalisation in the US within 5 years.

    Kind regards and look forward to your reply

    A.V

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 29, 2010

      Dear Arinla,

      Sorry, I cannot answer your question without knowing more about you, and you’ll have to hire an American Immigration Attorney who is familiar with the consular processing of diversity lottery green cards to get your answer — unfortunately most of us attorneys cannot afford to interview you, research the laws as it pertains to you specifically, and give you an answer for free on a blog. I suspect you are writing to me because you cannot find out on the internet for free, but there is a reason for that – you are asking a complicated question.

      If you are serious about learning whether you can still get your green card, it is worth it to pay $150-$250 U.S. to find out if you can. In general, any immigration attorney who is a member of AILA (www.aila.com) is reliable.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  237. v j patel
    October 23, 2010

    i am green card holder,i left u s in april 11,2010 i am planing to back to u s in december 2010,so csn i get entery in u s, or they may ask some qustaion on u s airport?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 29, 2010

      Dear V.J.:

      Yes, you will have been outside the U.S. for about 8 months, so you will probably be taken into secondary and asked questions. My blog articles outline the type of documents you can show the airport officers as evidence that you did not intend to leave the U.S. permanently. It will be completely up to the airport officers whether they let you back in or not, based on the answers to their questions and the evidence you show them.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  238. sam
    October 22, 2010

    Hi
    I got my GC on sept 2006. Left Usa in end of May 2008, re-entered in mid of May 2009. Again went outside US on March 2010. I am still outside usa and would be traveling in Nov 2010. This is my second trip involving more than 6 months trip. My bank account and credit card accounts got cancelled. I have documents like Western union debitcard, maintaining Experian credit agency online a/c statements, some emails to friends in usa, last 3 years It return. I haven’t filed return for 2009 yet. My question is Will the above documents are sufficient enough even though I don’t have a bank account, If I have prove my ties to usa with immigration officer?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 29, 2010

      Dear Sam,
      Probably not. I don’t know why you’ve been outside the U.S. for so long or why you don’t have more evidence of residence in the U.S. or why you didn’t file your 2009 tax returns that were due April 15, 2010. When you say “if I prove my ties to USA” I don’t know what you are talking about. If you were the officer at the airport, what would you think?

      If you want a better chance, you should hire an American immigration attorney to help you prepare for your airport interview.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  239. miraflor
    October 19, 2010

    Hi,

    I have a Permanent Resident Card that was issued last November 11, 2009 and will expire on November 11, 2011. I went to the States Nov 11, 09 and stayed there for 10 days. I left on November 21 09 and I was out in the US until July 4, 2010. We went back to the States again July 4 until July 20, 2010, and now Im currently working here overseas as a DOD Contractor with CSA LTD. (Combat Support Associates (CSA) is a company established in 1998 to compete for the Combat Services Support Contract – Kuwait (CSSC-K). Combat Support Associates and its principal subcontractor, CSA, Ltd., provide logistical support, training and force protection to U.S. Army troops and Allied Forces at camps located throughout Kuwait).

    My question is, am I able to apply for Naturalization? My husband will be working in Afghanistan and I will be working here in Kuwait. My daughter is with me because we cannot go with my husband in Afghan. Do you have any Idea how can we apply for naturalizion?

    Appreciate your help.

  240. cid
    October 14, 2010

    Hi im an immigrant who arrived here in the US last Sept 28 2010. The expiration indicated on the US visa is OCt 5, 2010 I have yet to receive my greencard though. Due to some personal matters, i may need to go back to the PI before the end of this month. Will there be any problems when i return back here in the US by January of 2011?

  241. Vijay
    October 12, 2010

    Hi,

    I left US for India in Sep 2009 and got my Green Card in March 2010 (with Jan 2010 date). Now I am planning to go back to US in Oct 2010. Would it be okay for me to do this or will I face some problems? I will really appreciate your response.

    Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 13, 2010

      I don’t have enough information to know if you will have problems. I don’t know how you got your green card (spouse, employer, diversity lottery?) or why you stayed out of the U.S. (working for U.S. employer? medical emergency?) for so long.

      You can send more information to me at danielle@immigrationworkvisa.com so that it will be confidential.

  242. MIRAFLOR
    October 11, 2010

    Hi, i am a conditional green card holder which is good for two years and i’ve been to the states twice in a year. my GC was granted on Nov’09 an will expire on Nov’2011. First time I went there was Nov ’09 and only stayed for 10 days and left. I went back July’2010 stayed for 3 weeks and left again. We are planning to go back to states on March’2011.

    Question:

    I am currently working overseas under US Government and I’m paying Taxes and kept a bank account in the states. Am I disrupting my residency?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 12, 2010

      Dear Miraflor:

      The law permits applicants whose employment promotes the interests of the United States (for example employees of the Department of State, National Security Agency, etc…) to preserve continuity of residence despite lengthy absences from the country. Therefore, those applicants who qualify for benefits under §316(b) do not suffer disruptions of continuous residence due to absences from the United States.

  243. Reeya Gabar
    October 4, 2010

    Hi! I really need your help regarding my GC, I need to know a bit of info’s ’cause I am not aware of the policy..

    I am Lawful Permanent Resident and I got my GC last March 2007, apparently, I need to leave the US to study abroad ’cause my Dad can’t afford to sent me in a school on the US, so I leave on May 2007 and have a re-entry permit with me, after that I returned US on August 2009 and due to some family problems my step-mom sent me back outside the US on October 2009, they told me that I could still go back ’cause they filed another re-entry permit and I’ve waited for that to arrived but it never did..

    Now, I am out of the US for 13 months and 5 days to be exact, and I really wanted to go back to US for me to able to help my Mom here, but I don’t know how, I’ve read all of your answers to their questions and I think that I’m at risk of losing my GC and throwing back to the country I belong once I step in at any American entry.

    Please, can you guide what to do? Should I try my luck and go back to the US? I really don’t have an idea about this. Thanks!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 7, 2010

      Dear Reeya:

      Let’s see if I have your story correct. You applied for the first Re-entry Permit before you left the U.S. for over 2 years (May 07 to Aug 09) and the immigration officials let you back in. Those two year Re-Entry Permits are dated from the time they are approved (not the date you submit them), so your Re-Entry Permit was probably not expired when you re-entered.

      Then you left again in October 2009 and allegedly a second Re-entry Permit was submitted. Did your family get a receipt for the second Re-Entry Permit, or do they have a cancelled check proving the USCIS received your second Re-Entry Permit? How do you know they really submitted it? Do you have a copy of it?

      If they did submit it, you could track its progress through the receipt number (which is usually also printed on the back of the cashed check) and try to get it approved before you return. If they did not submit it, you definitely are at risk of losing your GC and being denied entry at an American airport. Please do not just “try your luck” and arrive at an American airport without getting professional help first.

  244. amr
    October 3, 2010

    I’m Egyptian guy who work in Saudi Arabia , I got a green card through DV in 2009, traveled to USA from 19th September 2009 till 6th October 2009 then returned to Saudi Arabia where I have work contract , then I traveled for the second time to USA from 12 July 2010 till 3rd August 2010 – in the airport the custom officer asked me how long I’ll stay in USA and told me to apply for reentry permit to be in the safe side if I will leave USA again but there was no enough time to apply for it. Now I’m in Saudi to finish my work contract ( till 5thJuly 2011).
    Here is my question:
    What I should do to maintain my green card and not jeopardize my status and at the same time finish my work contract till July 2011?
    Who take the decision that the GC holder should not be denied admittance to USA , is it the custom officer or the court?

    I’ll file for my taxes, I have bank account in the USA and I can transfer my monthly salary to that account in USA , I took an equivalency certificate in pharmacy which enable me to search for an internship in a pharmacy to be able to obtain my final pharmacy license.

    I’m desperately seeking you advice on how to maintain my green card and my status during the following 10 months.

    Sorry for any inconvenience.
    Thank you so much for your time and concern.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 7, 2010

      Dear AMR:

      The airport officer makes the decision whether you may re-enter the U.S. or not. If he makes the decision to deny re-entry, you can ask the officer to refer your case to an Immigration Judge, but you may be put in custody (jail) while you wait to see the judge.

      You definitely should not wait until July 2011 to try to re-enter the U.S. if you wish to keep your green card, and you need to hire a professional to make sure you can re-enter safely . . . I do not believe that your strategy of filing taxes and opening bank accounts will work, but there are other strategies that have a higher chance of success. It would take me too long to explain the law and strategies in your case (each case is different and I don’t know your complete history) in a free blog, sorry.

  245. Maria Gab
    October 2, 2010

    hi! am Maria, a green card holder, I leave the Us twice, the first flight was on 2007 to study and have a re-entry with me, I returned to Us prior to the validation of my re-entry on 2009, stayed for a months and leave again for some medical purpose and now I have been out of the Us for at least 13 months without a re-entry permit.

    my question is, can I still go back to the Us? I’ve read all the feedbacks and as I can see, am a candidate for some questioning and at risk of losing my GC, and Is there any chance that the Immigration officers will take away my GC?

    Thanks! Godspeed..

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 7, 2010

      Dear Maria:

      Unfortunately, you will have to hire an Immigration Attorney if you wish to return to the U.S. Your case is complicated and the airport officer can state that you knew about Re-Entry Permits (because you had one before) and left the U.S. a second time without getting a second one.

      The Immigration Attorney will have to help you provide proof that you couldn’t wait in the U.S. 1-2 more weeks (i.e. the “medical purpose” was an emergency) while submitting the second Re-Entry Permit application. So yes, you are at risk of losing your GC if you try to re-enter the U.S. without help. In addition, after 1 year, your green card, even though unexpired, is no longer valid for re-entering the U.S. at an American airport or border without an approved Re-Entry Permit.

  246. Chi
    September 25, 2010

    Hi,
    I have a valid Green card. I entered the US for the first time in July 2009 and left in august after 4wks. I entered again in 13th march 2010 but left the US on the 31st of march 2010 with the intention of returning in January 2011. The reason for my long absences is due to my mother’s ill health and the need for her care. I have the intention of getting into a US school to pursue a degree next year. I also maintain a bank account in the US. However, having read your replies to questions posed by others, I get the feeling that I may have difficulties at the airport at re-entry point as i did not obtain a re-entry permit upon leaving. My question is…

    ..Should I still stick to my plan and return in January or Endeavor to enter before 6 months which will be on the 30th of September 2010.

    Your candid advice will be truly appreciated.
    Thank you

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 27, 2010

      Dear Chi:

      Each time a LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) is outside the U.S. for more than 6 months at a time without an approved Re-Entry Permit (especially after repeated trips abroad), they can be subjected to secondary inspection questioning and risk losing their green card. Some reasons for staying outside the U.S. are better than others, but it is completely up to the officer at the airport to make the decision. There are no rules about which reasons are more valid than other resaons.

      Moreover, LPRs who have remained abroad 6 months or longer have disrupted their continuity of U.S. residence for future citizenship applications. Therefore, I advise that you return to the U.S. prior to being 6 months abroad. If you simply cannot re-enter until after 1 year, you should apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Immigrant Visa at the U.S. Consulate in your country before arriving at an American airport because your I-551 green card is no longer valid for re-entry, even though it is not expired.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  247. Ankur
    September 21, 2010

    Hi,

    Howlong i can stay in india if i m green card holder?

  248. mona
    September 21, 2010

    Hi

    My family was issued with green cards which are to expire in 2013. We went to the States more than 6 years ago to complete the immigration process, and then came back to Australia, and have not been in the States since then. All my children were minors when they have their green card issued. Now my youngest daughter (19) is thinking of going to the States and live there permanently. What would be her starting point? And if I to go with her and stay with her, what should I do? I heard that if my green card is confiscated at the entry, I can apply for an appeal to prove my intention to stay in order for the green card to be reissued. Is that true, and how much would that cost? I thank you for your time and attention. Mona.

    • Danielle Nelisse
      November 29, 2010

      Dear Mona,
      It is best to straighten things out with the U.S. Consulate in your home country, rather than take any risks by simply just arriving at an American airport. You will need to do some research on the U.S. Consulate website to figure out whether to try to keep the green cards (apply for a Returning Resident Visa) or surrender the green cards (and then apply for a tourist visa to visit America for 6 months at a time).
      Best regards, Danielle Nelisse

  249. James
    September 19, 2010

    Hi,

    I’m a green card holder but I don’t live in the US anymore. I came back in France to stay with my mother, simply because I did’nt want to live in the US after having spent, like 2 years over there. I’ve been in Europe for more than a year now, but that’s not the problem.

    My card is available until 2017, I was wondering if I still could go to the US only in vacation, I mean, only with my french passport without showing my green card. Because I still have my brother and father leaving in Hawaii; and I might want to go there to spend some time with them, or even going over there with friends, not necessarily in Honolulu but NYC, LA..

    Would I be subject to questions by the officers at borders or I don’t konw what could happen ?

    Thank You.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 20, 2010

      Dear James:

      Even though your card does not apppear to expire until 2017, the airport officers are allowed to take it away from you if you try to re-enter the U.S. after being gone for over 12 months, and will subject you to questions after 6 months. Therefore it is not really good until 2017.

      A foreign national is supposed to be in America in either a permanent (immigrant) status or a temporary (nonimmigrant) status – not both at the same time. Once you attempt to enter the U.S. in a temporary status (in your case, called “Visa Waiver Program” for up to 90 days) it will be assumed you no longer want to keep your permanent status.

      Yes, of course you will be subjected to questions by officers at borders because you have been outside the U.S. more than 6 months. You should decide whether you wish to try to keep the permanent status or not, and if not surrender it at the U.S. Consulate in Paris before trying to re-enter America for a temporary vacation.

      Cheers, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  250. laylani
    September 18, 2010

    hi, i got my green card since i was 4yo, but only stays in US for only 3 months, my fatther brought me back here in the philippines cause no one can take care of me, im 30 years old now so its 26 years that im out in US. everythings is beyod my control im still young that time. I finished my studies here, got married and had my daughter. wa want to make a vacation. what will i do to my green card. and do i have to tell to my B2 APPLICATION THAT I HOLD THAT GREENCARD?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 20, 2010

      Dear Laylani:

      A foreign national is supposed to be in America in either a permanent (immigrant) status or a temporary (nonimmigrant) status – not both at the same time.

      You will need to officially surrender your green card at the U.S. Consulate in Manila and apply for a tourist visa before re-entering America for a temporary vacation. Of course you should tell the U.S. Consulate that you had green card status 26 years ago that is no longer any good. If a foreign national lies to the U.S. Consulate, they can permanently barred from entering the U.S.

      Sincerely, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  251. rita
    September 18, 2010

    HI,

    I have been on my greencard for 4 years and months.

    During the last 2 years i have i have taken multiple road trips to Canada to be with my boyfriend… each trip not lasting more than a week. Thing is on these short trips, i didn’t keep a record of when i left the country and when i re-entered from canada. Is there someway to figure out this information? HOw do i account for these trips on my citizenship application if i cant remember the exact dates?

    Each of the trips was for 1 week or less but in total over 5 years amount to more than 6 months — will that be a problem for my citizenship application?

    I have all my tax filings in the states, during 3 of the last 5 years i have held a full time job with computer firms (i am an engineer) and been enrolled at the universities as a student for 2 years. I am currently getting a my masters in international relations at a university in massachusetts.

    Thanks for your answers.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 20, 2010

      Dear Rita:

      I do not know of a way to find or request a recording of the dates you passed through land borders on your trips to Canada over the last 2 years.

      You will have to interview your friends, relatives and boyfriend to try and come up with the most accurate dates possible. Put a question mark after each date that you are not sure about.

      Because each of the trips was for 1 week or less, even though when added together they total more than 6 months, none of them trigger a disruption to your residence for purposes of U.S. citizenship.

      By the way, congratulations on your career and academic achievements!! Great work!!

      Sincerely, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  252. Romy
    September 18, 2010

    Hello. My kids are greencard holders. 14 yrs,12 yrs and 8 yr old. They went home to the philippines because as a single father here in the states, im having hard time and my eldest daughter statrting to cause some problem. I am still waiting for their mom to get here in the states since i already petitioned her. My question is they are now more than 6 months outside the states and probably go back here in Us before 1 yr. im still saving the money for their ticket back. Is their any problem with that even they are still minors? i dont want this to happenned but because of my hardship being alone is i dont have a choice. They continued their school in the philippines but will go back here after finishing it. can you give me an advice what to do?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 20, 2010

      Dear Romy,

      To my knowledge, the rules for children returning to the U.S. after a long absence are the same as for adults. Because you did not submit a request for 2 year re-entry permits for them before they left, you cannot do it now (the applications for re-entry permits have to be submitted before they leave).

      If they re-enter after being outside the U.S. between 6 months and 12 months, make sure they are carrying folders full of evidence concerning why they were gone when they re-enter the U.S. The evidence should be professionally prepared so that they are not put on a plane back to the PI.

      If they re-enter after being outside the U.S. more than 12 months, they should apply for a special “returning resident” visa at the U.S. Consulate in Manila to ensure they can re-enter and keep their green cards.

      It is very comendable what you are doing for your family, it it obvious that you are a good father.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  253. David Santana
    September 17, 2010

    Hi! My name is David and I am green card holder since 2006, when I was 17 years old. When I came to the U.S. First time I spent 4 months here only and left back to my country. Of course I didn’t know anything about terms and rules for residents, so I didn’t fill any forms or permits. The reason for leaving was my interest in finishing school in my country, however I didn’t finish school in my country I attend it for the abcense period. I decide to return to U.S. after 21 months and so I did. In airport the authorities question me about reason for leaving and I told them only the truth, after that they told my that my greencard is valid so I never even think if it’s expired. After I returned second time I spent 2 years here studying, working and paying taxes. Now I want to check my actual status because I am not sure if my green card is valid and how long do I have to wait before I can apply for naturalization. Please tell me what should I do now? P.S. I received greencard as a child of a citizen.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 20, 2010

      Dear David:

      With regard to citizenship, you have to reside in the U.S. more than 1/2 the time for the last 5 years. So, right now from 9/2005 until 9/2010 you would have to prove you were in the U.S. more than half of that time. One way to figure it out is to fill out Page 4 of the N400 Form on http://www.uscis.gov. If you are still confused but don’t want to hire an attorney, read the instructions for the N400 very carefully, as well as the special guidelines that are found on http://www.uscis.gov.

      With regard to your actual status after a 21 month absence, I am curious if/what the officer at the airport wrote in your passport after questioning you. There are 4 ways to learn more information about the validity of your current status: (1) make an INFOPASS appt. at a local USCIS office and ask; (2) request a free copy of your immigration file from http://www.uscis.gov (which may be incomplete, so be careful); (3) ask a U.S. Congress Representative for help; or (4) hire an immigration attorney to figure it out.

      Best of luck,
      Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  254. alfie
    September 17, 2010

    Hi

    I went to the college in the US, and I had a 10 year green card. Prior to college I had been renwing my 2 year re-entry permits while family wrapped up affirs in the UK (selling business, home etc). After college I returned to the UK, but returned to the US every year. I then married a US citizen inthe UK. She has always been a UK resident but got US citizenship as her mother was American.

    We have now been married >2 years, and want to move to the US, BUT I have now been absent from the US for 18 months.

    Stupid question first: Could I just show up in the US with my wife and then carry on as normal, i.e. enter without green card. Or just say I was out for a lot less time. do they know when one has left?

    question 2: how long and difficult is theprocess for obtaining residency/ citizenship by way of famly (spouse), if we move over there?

    Sorry if this question is awkward, I am just asking, before making a decision to retain someone to advise.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 17, 2010

      Sorry, but your situation is too complex to answer without taking your, and your wife’s complete history.

      Your two options may be to (a) ask the U.S. Consulate for a special visa to return, thereby keeping your green card; or (b) surrender your green card and start the process to get a new one. An option that is definitely not a good one is just showing up at a USA airport and lying.

      Yes, it is time to get someone to provide you with legal advice. Many attorneys (including myself) offer a free legal evaluation, but not on their public blogs. My website is at http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com; click on “free legal evaluation” and send me a request.

      You can include the same information as above, but please also include information on when/how to phone you – it is much easier/faster for me to ask you questions and give you my opinion over the phone and not in a public forum.

      Cheers, Danielle Nelisse
      danielle@immigrationworkvisa.com

  255. ching
    September 15, 2010

    hi im here philippines right i have some question to ask..i have a 2 yr reentry permit and its about to expire next yr january 2011 im planning to go back in us on january but im wandering if i can apply for another reentry permit to go back to philippines to finish my studies maybe for atleast 6 more months?or maybe after staying in usa for a week i can go back to the philippines again and stay there for 6 more months to finish my studies?thanks i hope you can answer my question..im a greencard holder anyway 🙂

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 17, 2010

      Dear Ching,

      Yes, you can apply for a second re-entry permit when you return in January. However, there is no guarantee it will be approved. FYI, you cannot leave until you (a) submit the I-131 application (which must be submitted while you are in America) AND (b) get an appointment to provide your fingerprints (called a “biometric” appt.) which may take up to 2 months to get scheduled. Therefore, it will be impossible for you to leave again within 1 week.

      If you leave the USA within 1 week without filing a new re-entry permit it is very possible your green card will be taken away from you when you try to re-enter after your 6 months study in the PI. The risk is up to you.

      Cheers, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney

  256. Kate
    September 15, 2010

    Hi, my grandfather left to Poland and never reaplied for reentry , he is a green card holder. It beem 2 yrs since he left. he dosen’t really care if can keep his green card but can he apply for a travel visa so he can come visit us atleast once a year for 2-3 weeks? What should i do to help him? Thank you

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 17, 2010

      Dear Kate:

      You will find the rules for surrendering the green card on the website of the U.S. Consulate (or U.S. Embassy – the names are used interchangeably) in Poland. After he surrenders his green card (which usually requires that he appear in person and sign some paperwork), he can immediately (often the same day) apply for a 10 year B1/B2 visa so that he can visit you once a year for a few weeks.

      The process is pretty straight forward and most of the the U.S. Consulates have clear instructions on how to proceed, so I don’t think he will need to hire an attorney (especially if he has you to help him!).

      Cheers, Danielle Nelisse
      Immigration Attorney
      http://www.immigrationworkvisa.com

  257. Claudette
    September 13, 2010

    Im a green card holder, unfortunately due to illhealth, I have being in the UK with my sons for the past 18 months. My eldest son who is at University here in the Uk, went to Dallas as part of his degree programn is 1 year in Dallas had to pay $540. to renew his resident visa, is this the new pocedure. If this so
    what can I do as Iam going to back to the USA in December.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 15, 2010

      Dear Claudette:
      Three months before you plan to return to the U.S. you should hire an immigration attorney to try to help you keep your green card. I assume you did not get a re-entry permit before you left, so the U.S. will try to take your green card away. Please do not fly to an American airport without fixing your green card first – it is very probable your green card will be taken away and you immediately be put on a plane back to the UK.

      I am sorry I cannot give you the exact steps to try to keep your green card – every case is different. Regrettably, this matter is too serious for you to be trying to get free help on blogs in order to avoid paying an attorney to help you.
      Good luck! Attorney Danielle Nelisse

  258. renata barbieri
    September 12, 2010

    Hi,
    I’m a green card holder since 2006, and I’ve always lived in the US ever since.. This year,I’ve spent a lot of time in my home country due some family issues.
    Jan 1st – Mar 24(outside US)
    March 25 – April 13 (in US)
    April 14 – May 22 (outside)
    May 23 – July 11 (in US)
    July 12 – till Sep 22. Will I be ok when return to the country?? Please advise me on this regard. THANK YOU.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 15, 2010

      Dear Renata:

      I am assuming you did not get your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen and that you need to wait 5 years after getting your green card to be eligible for citizenship. However, I cannot answer your legal question until after you give me the answers to the following:

      1. How many days total have you been outside the U.S. in the last 5 years?
      2. How many of those trips were for more than 6 months?

      Best regards,

      Danielle Nelisse, Immigration Attorney

      P.S. There is a calendar calculator website to help you add the days at:
      http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html

  259. Canadian
    September 9, 2010

    Hi. I’ve had a Green Card for over 8 years. I’ve recently moved out of the US for work but typically return every 3-4 months. I’m currently overseas working and was planning to return in November, which would be around 5 1/2 months out of the US, but may not be able to return until December…which is beyond 6 months. I still file taxes, have bank accounts, and own a house in the US. Should I make an emergency trip back, even for a few days to not go beyond 6 months, or will I be ok to simply return in December. I’ll be back for 2 weeks or so for the holidays and then return for work assignment abroad.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 15, 2010

      I am sorry, but I cannot advise you because there is so much I don’t know, such as:

      What type of work do you do?
      How did you get your green card in the first place?
      If you want to be a USA permanent resident, why are you gone so much?
      Who are your immediate relatives, what is their status, and where do they live?
      Do you work for an American company?
      Do you work for the American government?
      Other questions (too many to put all of them here)

      Your case is too complicated to try and get free legal advise through a blog. Immigration Attorneys generally charge $200-$300 for a legal consultation and in your case it is worth it so that your green card is not taken away the next time you land at an American airport. The airport officers are getting more and more strict and I am surprised you haven’t had it taken away already.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse, Immgration Attorney

  260. Alexandro Vieira
    September 5, 2010

    Hello – I’m a green card holder. I travel a lot overseas for work and I was never asked questions when returning to the States. I’m planning on taking a business course in the UK for a year. How can the U.S. authorities know that I left the country for such a long period? Thanks, ALex

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 7, 2010

      Dear Alexandro:

      The immigration authorities will know how long you have been out of the U.S. because (a) the airlines submit their passenger lists to the U.S. government; and (b) you will tell them the truth when you re-enter the U.S. because you do not want to be charged with fraud or misrepresentation of information to the U.S. government.

  261. sanjeev
    September 5, 2010

    Hello,

    first of all thanks for the information which has been provided it helps a lot.
    I have a green card issue going on rite now PLZ GUIDE ME. my parents are green card holders from last 8 to 9 years. Until this year i was also a green card holder but i became citizen last month. Until now my parents they visited me every year staying only for 2 to 3 months and then they used to go back to India.
    Now since last year they are having lot of trouble as officials at airport ask my parents lottt of questions they even say that as per my mother that they’l take away green card if they kept on doing this. My parents are above 62 and are retired they can’t work here in US also becsue of health issues. Usually they have to return back to India because my father went thru serious surgery 2 years aog and still he is under medical medicines.
    Now what should i do. I am planning that my parents from nowonwards start staying with me for atleast more than 6 months and then they can go back to india and return within 6 months. meaning thet stay with me for 6 months then they go back to india for no more thatn 4 or 5 months DUE YOU THINK IT’L STILL BE A PROBLEM WHEN THEY RETURN TO US. i am not sure i asked many people but got no proper answer PLZ HELP.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 7, 2010

      Dear Sanjeev:

      You could get your parents a 2 year Re-Entry Permit, and it will help, but it will not stop the questions at the airport. You may be able to renew the 2 year Re-Entry Permit once or twice, but it is not a long term solution. Your parents are only in their 60’s and may live well into their 90’s, so you are looking at a 30 year situation.

      The U.S. authorities do not like to give permanent residence to foreign nationals who do not wish to live here full time. Your parents will need to stay in America at least 9 months a year if they wish to keep their green cards, and they will always be questioned at the airport.

      You could help them out by (a) getting them their first Re-Entry Permit and (b) preparing a folder of documents to show the airport officials when they re-enter the U.S. that proves their “ties” to the U.S., including their annual American tax returns (even though they are retired they must get some income from somewhere to report).

  262. Madam
    September 3, 2010

    I have been a green card holder for over 10 years and never filed taxes in the US as I was supported from income from another country. How can I apply for US citizenship? Do I have to file back taxes and on income from another country?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 3, 2010

      I believe that the U.S. tax rules require that you file U.S. tax returns even though you were supported by income from another country. However, I am not licensed to offer tax advice – you need to consult with a Certified Public Accountant who is knowledgeable about foreign income sources and tax return rules. I do know that it is possible to file your tax returns late for the last 10 years, and that it is necessary to do so in order to get U.S. citizenship. Good luck!

  263. cecile uson
    August 31, 2010

    Hi! we will enter US as permanent resident on march 2011, go back to the philippines on april to aug then return to the US again on Sept then back to the Phils on Oct. Will it be a problem if we do that?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 1, 2010

      Hello Cecile,
      O.K., let’s see if I have this correct. You will enter the U.S. for 1 month, leave for 5 months, enter again for only 1 month and then leave again.

      You will probably have difficulty when you re-enter the U.S. second time in September 2011 and every time after that. The Immigration Officers at the airport will be thinking “why did you get your permanent resident status if you don’t want to live in the U.S.?”

      It would be a good idea to file an application for a 2 year Re-Entry Permit in March 2011 (it has to be mailed when you are in the U.S., and you have to get fingerprinted before you leave) explaining why you are out of the U.S. so much. If you do want to file the application for the Re-Entry Permit, it takes about 3 months to prepare it, so start getting it ready in December 2010 for each family member.

      danielle@immigrationworkvisa.com

  264. Nette
    August 26, 2010

    I’m a conditional permanent resident w/ my greencard expiring on January 2011. My husband and I took trips outside the country before when we’re still together. We split up last March because of his infidelity. I went back to the Philippines to try to recover from the heartbreak, and surround myself w/ family’s love and support. I would like to go back to the US soon. I can still go back to my old job, but all my US bank accts and creditcards were all canceled. Would this cause me a problem? Please help, thanks.

  265. John
    August 26, 2010

    I’m a greencard holder,i left usa on january 16th,2010 for d purpose of completing my university degree finally this september 2010 in my country but unfortunately for me,my school embarked on an indefinite strike,so i’m planning to come back to usa pending when the strike will b over.I want to ask if i’l not have any problem going back to usa,because i’v only spent less than a year outside usa…Thankz

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 1, 2010

      Yes, you may have a problem re-entering the U.S.

      danielle@immigrationworkvisa.com

    • jim
      September 1, 2010

      well john, i left 3x and stayed in my country for more than 6 months but not more that 12 months I was able to enter usa. they just said not to do it again. 🙂

  266. Nan
    August 20, 2010

    Hi,

    I’m a Green Card holder since Dec. 2005.Every year I went back to my country for vacation,but each time no more than 2 months, total about 180 days(6 months). I’m planning to visit my country again around end of Aug.-Nov.1 of this year.Do you think I will have any problem when I enter the state? Please see my visiting schedules below, thank you.

    1.1/20/06-2/04/06
    2.10/16/06-11/25/06
    3.10/13/07-12/05/07
    4.7/22/09-8/11/09
    5.10/02/09-11/19/09
    6.leaving 8/29/10-11/1/10

  267. ladykin
    August 19, 2010

    please i need help regarding my green card issue, me and my dad and mom have the green card for 6 years now, we travelled for a vacation outside the US to our home country, however the trip had to be extended for reasons that we had no control over, it has been 14 months now outside the US, and we don’t want to lose our GC, should we go and try our luck on entering the US, or there has been no exceptions whatsoever for people absent more than a year?, and the officer will automatically take away our greencard?, i really hope thats not the case, in case it was and our green cards were taken away, can i get a visitor visa in the future for me to be able to do my medical residency in the US, or the fact that i have abandoned the GC will affect their decision on whether i deserve a visa or not

    please help i would really appreciate the answer, thank you for your time

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 19, 2010

      In answer to your question, every case is different and because I don’t know the details of your case (why were you gone so long? how many times did you leave before? why did all three of you need to stay absent? why didn’t you try to get help before? what happened to your house/apt. and jobs/school when your vacation got extended?) I cannot tell you whether you can keep your green cards or not.

      I know you are probably trying to save money and get legal advice for free, but if you wish to save your green cards you have no choice but to hire a reputable immigration attorney to give you legal advice.

  268. alpana
    August 15, 2010

    HI

    My friend is a green card holder but 8 months back she got divorced from her USA citizen husband. she is out of USA for last 11 months. she didnt apply for reentry permit as she didnt have any knowledge about all these rules and regulations regarding green card holders.her two kids are with her ex husband having custody over them. Her husband kept her in dark about the rules etc.
    I got introduced to her just 15 days back and got to know everything.I gave her information that if a green card holder lives more than a year outside USA without reentry permit there could be problem and the green card status may get cancelled.she wants to return to USA to be around her children so that she could meet them once awhile. What should she do? What are the problems she would face at immigration? what are her chances of gettting permission to return to USA> What should be done for saving her green card status?
    kindly guide
    Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 16, 2010

      If she has her 10 year green card, she probably should try to re-enter the U.S. prior to being outside the U.S. 12 months, but only if she has documentation of her ties to the U.S. to show the officers at the airport. In addition to bank account statements, driver’s license, etc., she should have copies of her children’s birth certificates and proof they live in the U.S. There are a lot more complications in her case and she really should hire an immigration attorney to help her. Chances are, if she gets legal help she will be allowed to return to the U.S.

      However, if she only has her 2 year green card, the situation is a lot more serious. Each of these cases are different, and it would take me hours to explain all the rules – unfortunately she has no choice but to get legal help.

  269. Dan
    August 14, 2010

    HI Im really desperate to know the answer for this question. Please help me. My green card started on January 8 2006 then I left usa on April 1 2007 went back to school to finish nursing in the Philippines but did not apply for re entry, I came back on December 8 2007 and stayed for 9 days then left USA again on December 16 2007. I came back on October 20 2008 and again left on Nov 8 2008 and went to the Philippines again. After I graduated I came back here on August 31 2009 for good. I was out of the USA 2x and stayed there for more than 6 months but not longer than 1 year. The question is, am I not eligible for citizenship anymore since I have broken my continues residency? Can I apply for citizenship and if so When can I do that?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 16, 2010

      It sounds like you are eligible for citizenship, but the question is when. It is not possible for me to answer that question without you filling out the page on the N400 Form (found on http://www.uscis.gov) that lists your trips abroad and faxing that page to me at (619) 235-8822. I don’t charge a legal fee to tell you when you would be eligible to file your citizenship application.

      • Dan
        August 16, 2010

        thats good to know, I will fax it. I just hope it wont take another 5 years again.

  270. zichao
    August 12, 2010

    I will apply my citizenship in end of this year. But I went back to my home country once per year for 5 years, each time stay there about 2 month, so overall more than 6 month, but I have never stay oversea more than 6 month for any of the single year. So do you think this is a problem when I apply my citizenship? Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 13, 2010

      Let’s see. You have not been out of the U.S. on any one trip 6 months or more in the last 5 years, so you did not disrupt the continuity of residence. The individual trips are not added together to figure out if you disrupted the continuity of residence in the U.S.

      With regard to physical presence, the trips are added together. Out of the entire 5 years (5 years x 365 days per year = 1825 days) you were outside the U.S. for about 300 days (60 days per year x 5 years = 300 days). Because you were outside the U.S. less than half of the 5 years (1/2 of 1825 = 912.5) you should not have a problem when you apply for citizenship in terms of residence or physcial presence.

  271. Anonymous
    July 25, 2010

    I’m a greencard holder residing in america 8 months go back to philippines on february 2010 for my husband was in I.C.U DIED MARCH I want to go back in AMERICA on september do i have problem for this ? please help.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 26, 2010

      Yes, you will probably have a problem at the airport when you re-enter America. When you are gone more than 6 months but less than 1 year the airport officers still have the authority to question you in secondary about why you were gone so long. When you return, try to bring all of your proof of why you were gone (husband’s illness and death, selling property, funeral, etc.) and why you are returning to the U.S. (bank accounts, job, property, relatives, etc.). You didn’t mention if this was your first absence or not, but if it was, perhaps the airport officer will be sympathetic.

  272. Victor
    June 15, 2010

    My second 2-year re-entry permit expires later this year.
    How likely will an application for another one be approved? Will it be for 2 years again, or just one?
    If I decide to return to the US for work, how long will it be until I can apply again for a re-entry permit?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 17, 2010

      Did you use the first or second 2-year re-entry permit? For how long? For what reason? Do you work for the U.S. military or U.S. government? When will you return to the U.S.? What type of ties have you maintained with the U.S. while you were abroad (bank accounts, residence, tax returns, family, etc.)? Sorry, but is impossible to answer your questions without a lot more information.

  273. Paul
    June 8, 2010

    If there any waiver, if someone haven’t applied for re-entry permit and stayed for more than year, and have a valid reason why he had to stay in his native country.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 13, 2010

      Sometimes there is a way to re-enter the U.S. successfully, after a Lawful Permanent Resident has remained abroad for over a year without first getting a re-entry permit; it depends upon the reason for remaining abroad and many other factors, such as the type and number of ties to the U.S. (federal tax returns, property, bank accounts, etc.) that were maintained while the person was abroad.

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  275. tere
    April 29, 2010

    i’ve been out of the US for 1 year and 1 month, I, my husband and son (both US citizens)have settled in Manila already (though we still file income tax in the US). I was wondering, how do I surrender the green card so I can apply for a tourist visa? do i just surrender the green card during my tourist visa interview or is there a process?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 29, 2010

      Every U.S. Embassy handles the surrender of green cards a little differently. In general, if you wish to surrender your green card, the U.S. Embassy requests that you submit a completed form I-407 (Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status). A Consular Officer usually interviews you and officially accepts your application. Some U.S. Embassies allow you to apply for a visitor visa on the same day you surrender the green card. Most of the U.S. Embassies do not accept the I-407 and green card by mail – be sure to check the website for the U.S. Embassy in Manila, PI to find out what their procedures are for surrendering green cards.

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