inside immigration information about marriage green cards and work visas in America

****** ABOUT US ******

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OFFICE PHONE: (619) 235-8811

ATTORNEY NELISSE  is an experienced immigration attorney in America who practices exclusively 100% immigration law, providing immigration & naturalization legal services to clients throughout the world.

She is a longstanding member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and her immigration law office is located in Maui, Hawaii.

Attorney Nelisse was admitted to practice law by the District of Columbia in 1999 and practices exclusively USA Immigration and Nationality Law. She is not licensed by the State of Hawaii to practice Hawaiian law, but through her District of Columbia license is allowed to practice immigration law in every state. This is because an attorney licensed by any state in the United States is allowed (by federal law 8 CFR §292.1(a)(1) ) to practice immigration law before the Dept. of Homeland Security, the USCIS, ICE, CBP, Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in all of the American states.

immigration attorney san diego customer reviewWith 20 years of immigration law experience, DANIELLE NELISSE, ESQ.  devotes 100% of her law practice to American immigration law and is an author and editor of immigration books and blogs, an immigration law lecturer, and is a mentor to immigration law interns.

She has prepared hundreds of U.S. immigration applications for foreign national clients and American companies throughout the United States of America and abroad related to:


Personal Background – How Did Danielle Become an Immigration Attorney?

Danielle had a few different careers before taking out law school loans and applying for law school at age 40.  She was married in high school and had two children by the time she was 21 years old. She finished high school at night and was able to go to San Diego State University when she was 24 years old.  She chose Public Administration as her major, with an emphasis in Labor Relations, and Womens’ Studies as her minor and graduated in 2 years instead of 4 years.

After getting her Bachelor’s degree, Danielle was asked to head up a project at a juvenile court, where she met with kids locked up in the juvenile jail and developed alternative sentencing plans for impoverished juveniles accused of crimes, which she proposed during sentencing hearings before Superior Court Juvenile Court Judges.

She testified in front of the Judges in over 500 cases, explaining her alternative sentencing options, 80% of which were ordered.  At 26, it was her first taste of how, as an Expert in Alternative Sentencing, one person can impact the lives of others within the legal system.

Danielle went on to work as a Labor Negotiator for a labor union, learning how the labor attorneys prepared and presented cases to city officials.  She was then urged to start a private detective firm made up of all women detectives – one of the first of its kind in the United States. As a licensed Private Detective, she and her lady detectives worked on important murder cases, traveling around the United States to meet with witnesses and discover new evidence.

By the time Danielle’s children were finished with high school, she decided it was time to go to law school and instead of working for attorneys, become one herself.  She graduated law school in 2 years instead of 3 and was able to study law in not only the United States, but in Florence, Italy,  Strasbourg, France and Vienna, Austria.  One of her professors was Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the U.S. Supreme Court Judges.

After law school, Danielle was hired by a prestigious law firm in Boston, Massachusetts. She practiced criminal defense law, family law, and civil law, but when one of the partners asked “does anyone want to start practicing immigration law?” Danielle was the only one to say “I do!” because it is so rewarding for her to help other people.

Danielle opened her own immigration law firm in 1999 and has become one of the leading immigration attorneys in America.  After her first husband passed away, she met a man from the Netherlands, married again, and helped her new husband get his marriage green card and USA citizenship.

Her husband works as a commercial pilot and they live in Maui, Hawaii.  When she is not at work, she spends time with her grown children, has an art studio to paint large oil paintings, and spends time traveling with her husband.

Questions about hiring Attorney Nelisse?  


93 comments on “****** ABOUT US ******

  1. Izumi
    June 28, 2013

    Hello! First of all, thank you so much for this wonderful blog. I have some questions if you dont mind. I have been a green card holder for 12 years now. Last year, I left the US for about 6 mos. (205 days). I came back to the US for 2 months, this time having applied and completed my biometrics for the re-entry permit. I will be leaving the US again for probably about 5 months, then afterwards I will go back to the US for good. My question is that, when I come back could I apply for citizenship? Or would I have to do another 5 years again? Thanks so much for your help. I hope to hear from you soon.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 1, 2013

      Dear Izumi,

      Thank you for your kind words. You will have to check the laws when you return.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  2. fbme2u
    June 10, 2013

    Hi Danielle, First off thank you in advance for taking the time to respond to the question. Here is the scenario – A family of three, the husband and young son are US citizens while the wife has a greencard. They have been away from America for nearly 3 years because Husband was posted in another country for work. Family wants to go to the States for a month or so. What can the wife expect to encounter upon arrival at airport immigration? She did not apply for a re-entry permit because originally her husbands contract was just for 1 year but her husbands company kept extending his contract and now they are into their 3rd year overseas. In your opinion/experience, will the wife be denied entry, will her greencard be revoked? Will there be a secondary interrogation, what kind of questions can she expect to be asked? How can she prepare for it?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 21, 2013

      Dear Fbme2u:

      Please hire an immigration attorney for your wife and do not depend on free blogs, which only contain general information, for something so important. I know you are trying to save money, but there is a lot of information (that is not in your question) that the immigration attorney will need to ask to answer your questions. You sound nice and I am sorry I cannot help you.

      Kind regards,

      Danielle Nelisse, Immigration Attorney

  3. Marisa Chrysochoou
    May 6, 2013

    Hello Danielle,
    thank you for your blog and helpful information. I also have a question: I have had my green card for 4 years now and I am going on sabbatical leave for two years this June (I am a tenured professor). I will be spending the next year in Greece with occasional trips to the U.S. to keep up with my students here. I would like to not break my residence status and apply for a citizenship in January, when I become eligible. Is that possible? I will maintain an address in my home state, but I am wondering what I will need to declare as “residence” in the N-400. I am not intending to abandon the U.S., I am keeping my job and want to come back, this is a temporary research project I am working on. I am ok with hiring an attorney to do this, but I would like to know what I should do before I even leave. Thank you, Marisa

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 21, 2013

      Dear Marisa:

      Please file the I-131 Re-Entry Permit and provide your fingerprints before you leave the USA in order to declare your official intent to return and keep your green card, which is a separate issue than the citizenship issues. There are airport officers taking away green cards from persons who repeatedly leave for even 3 months at a time. Once the airport officers put a warning in the computer about your repeated absences they will flag your green card to be watched.

      Secondly, please do not let any one trip be over 6 months in duration so that your residency will not be disrupted for citizenship purposes.

      Kind regards,

      Danielle Nelisse, Immigration Attorney

  4. Tiffany
    March 5, 2013

    Hi Danielle, my name is Tiffany and thank you for writing this free blog about visas, it’s very helpful. I hope you can shine some light on our situation. I’ve recently been told that myself along with my immediate family members will be receiving our GCs after being on the family wait list for 20 years! Whilst this is exciting news, I currently live in the UK and I’ve been here for 8 years and have been naturalized as a British citizen. My partner (British) and I also have an 1yr old who was born in the UK. I would very much like to maintain my GC as I’d like to move back to the US and live permanently at some point in the next 5 years and I’d like my daughter to have the option of going to college in the States in the future. For obvious reason I can’t stay in the US for a long amount of time and I won’t be able to travel back and forth for at most 3 times a year because of the expense. How can I keep my GC? Should I apply for re-entry permit over and over again?! Should I just give up the GC and apply later when I am ready to move back to the States and if so, how long would that take and how would I even do it, through family again? Sorry about all the questions and hopefully it’s not too confusing. Thank you.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 12, 2013

      Dear Tiffany,

      Many green card holders face this very situation. The best advice I can give is to stay in the USA long enough to get your USA citizenship and then you will be set for life. The repeat re-entry permit strategy may not work more than twice, as it gets harder to prove that you intend to move to the USA permanently and then you don’t.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  5. john
    November 14, 2012

    My wife entered the US with with her new green card about 11 years ago, was handed a voter registration postcard when she got her driver’s license the same day I did. She completed it and got registered, not realizing it was a mistake. We both voted. Five years later on her naturalization interview she was asked if she had ever voted, she said yes. They guy was super nice and said he had to stop the interview there, and said he didn’t record her response due to the situation she described, but that her process was stopped. Now, it’s been six years since then and no change. Can she apply for naturalization again? Thanks for your advice! 🙂

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 12, 2013

      Dear John,

      Please do not rely on free blog advice for her case. Unfortunately, now that she is in this predicament, you will need to pay an immigration attorney for legal advice. There are recent court cases concerning this exact issue, and they will need to show them to you and give you their opinion on whether, based on the new cases, she should file the N400 again or not.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  6. yaqcath
    September 13, 2012


    How can I find out the processing times for I-130’s- filed in California? I applied for three for myself (one via my mother, and two via my brothers – all US Citizens) in March 2012. I am currently on an H1B visa (extending another 3 years now) and need to find a permanant residence solution for myself and my family (husband + 2 sons) before Sept 2015 (or sooner). I have looked at the processing times on the USCIS website and it says about 26-30 months but I was under the impression it can take up to 10 years?! Any assistance or information would be greatly appreciated.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 13, 2012

      Dear Catherine:

      The processing times for the I-130 petitions are not only on the USCIS website.

      1. First an I-130 petition has to be approved. The processing time for the amount of time it takes to process an I-130 petition is on the USCIS website.

      2. If the family member who filed the I-130 petition is not an “immediate relative” of yours, then there will be a wait before the I-130 petition can be used for a green card (even if it has already been approved). The waiting list for that is on the “Visa Bulletin.”

      ere is a blog article about how to read the “Visa Bulletin:”

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  7. gnwiraira
    August 7, 2012

    Hi Danielle, I hope you are doing well. My mom just got her green card back in our country, but she is not ready to live in America yet. She is taking care of my grandmother, and also she still have some business and real estate she has to take care. Is there a way to actually have a waiver for the 6 months rule to live in the U.S for a certain period of time until she is all ready to move to the United States? Thank you, I appreciate your answer!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 10, 2012

      Dear GNW:

      None that I know about, sorry.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  8. clara
    August 4, 2012

    Hi Danielle my name is clara oliveira i was brought here when i was 13 and today i’m 25married with three babies i didnt finish high school but i’m taking classes starting september to get my ged anytime soon classes lastes 1 year but i can take the test anytime i feel question is can i stiil apply for dream’s act ?what do i need to prove?or is anything else i can do to become legal if i’m here for 12 yrs and have familY? thank u

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 4, 2012

      Dear Clara –
      This goes for everyone – THE RULES HAVE NOT BEEN RELEASED YET! ON AUGUST 15, 2012 THE RULES ARE EXPECTED TO BE RELEASED AND WE WILL BE ABLE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS. PLEASE CHECK BACK ON AUGUST 15, 2012. Thank you for your patience, I know it is very hard to wait a couple more weeks.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  9. Roberto
    August 3, 2012

    Hi Danielle, I just signed up for your blog and was trying to read for something that might answer my question but unfortunately I was not able to. Anyway, I would like to know what are the complications of having both Canadian and US permanent residencies. Our family came to the US in 2008 due to my wife’s work transfer and she was issued first L1 and then H1B visas. So my children and I were all issued L4 and H4, respectively. And in 2009 while in the US, we received our Canadian permanent residencies (we applied for this in 2003). While in the US, my wife’s organization started the Green Card application for all of us and we all got it early 2012. However, before receiving our Green Cards, my son went off to university in Canada in 2011. He comes back to the US every time there’s a long break and for summer this year. He is about to return to school by the end of this month and we’re worried about him having US and Canadian permanent residencies. We’re thinking that he will show his Canadian PR card going into Canada and his Green Card when going into the US. Also, does he need the re-entry permit to the US? What are the possible issues in his situation? Thank you in advance for your reply.

    Warm regards,


    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 3, 2012

      Dear Roberto:

      As you know from reading my blog articles, the USA does not like its permanent residents to live outside of the USA. Yes, to protect your son’s green card, I would recommend his obtaining a re-entry permit to officially show his intent to live in the USA the majority of the time in the future.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  10. brayant ramirez
    August 2, 2012

    Hi my name is brayant I came to the US when I was 5 and I only left once to my home country in Mexico when I was 10 and ever since its been 9 years that I haven’t left the US I have done all of my education in the US and I have my diploma continuing my education on to college I have no criminal record and I was wondering if by applying for the dream act law if I mite also have the opportunity to apply for my citizenship since I was practically raised here in the US

  11. Tom
    July 24, 2012


    Thank you for all the helpful information. Here is a questions I have not come across yet on your blog. But maybe I missed it.

    I am a US citizen, my wife is a 10 year Green Card Holder. Up until now we have been traveling back and forth to her home country several times a year. We are spending MORE time in her country than in the USA.

    In July 2012 we entered the USA and the airport official questioned her intentions to live in the USA. He allowed her to enter but he told us she needs to decide where she is going to live. He explained the I-131 filing for up to 2 year absence but also said that if she gives up her Green Card voluntarily and takes a tourist visa instead, there is a process to get the Green Card back when we decide to come live in the USA again. Is that true?

    We will be traveling back and forth from the USA for at least the next 7 years. What does she have to do to give up her Green Card? Does she automatically get a tourist visa? If she want to come back to the USA to live would we have to start the Green Card Process all over again? Would there be any consideration given to her for giving up her Green Card voluntarily.

    Thank you for any insight you can provide.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 25, 2012

      Dear Tom:

      There is a special form to fill out to surrender a green card. It needs to be filed in person and submitted with the green card at a U.S. Consulate. Most consulates allow the person to apply for a tourist visa on the same day. However, each U.S. Consulate may have a different procedure, and there is no guarantee that the tourist visa will be issued.

      U.S. Consulates have instructions on their websites for surrendering green cards and applying for tourist visas.

      Normally there is not a problem in getting a second green card through marriage, but of course no one can guarantee it.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  12. May
    July 20, 2012

    Hi. I would like to seek for some advice. Three years ago I was petitioned by my US citizen father and I was able to go to the US in September 2008. I was 16 back then. I got my green card not long after I arrived. I stayed there for almost 9 months with my dad, grand parents, step mom and half siblings. I had decided to go back to the Philippines for a while since I had a year left to finish high school. I went back to the Philippines and over stayed for more than 3 years now because of personal issues. My dad and I had a misunderstanding, main reason why I didn’t have the chance to go back to the US. We’ve patched things up and now we’re trying to figure out how can I go back to the US. He has already file a new petition for me a year ago but we haven’t gotten respond from them yet. I’m just curious if there’s any other easier way we could do. Thank you for paying attention to my message. I’ll patiently wait for your response.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      July 23, 2012

      Dear May:

      There are many ways to come to the USA and most of them are not easy or inexpensive.

      Regards, Danielle Nelisse

  13. Ben
    June 28, 2012

    This is the Law I was refering to, which I am sure you are familiar with. Would a grandparent count in this regard? We can take this offline if you rather.

    One parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth and the birthdate is before November 14, 1986 but after October 10, 1952

    The parents are married at the time of birth and the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. or its territories for a period of at least ten years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, at least five of which were after his or her 14th birthday.

    If the U.S. citizen parent spent time abroad in any of the following three capacities, this can also be counted towards the physical presence requirement:

    Serving honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces;
    Employed with the U.S. Government; or
    Employed with certain international organizations.
    Additionally, time spent abroad by the U.S. citizen parent while the U.S. citizen parent was the unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person who meets any of the three conditions listed above can also be counted

  14. Ben
    June 28, 2012


    I do not have my citizenship because it has never been a need. Because my Dad was not a US citizen and my mother had moved out of the country at 18, less than the 14 years old plus 5 years. She could not pass on citizenship to her children born outside USA. Then in 2000 the law changed that if you were under the age if 18 to a citizen and a couple other criteria had to be met you could fill out some paper work and become a citizen. I met them all except for the fact that I was 20 in 2000.

    So the only way I know of now is to go through the whole naturalization process and that is time consuming and takes long.

  15. Ben
    June 21, 2012

    I would like to know if you recommend that I fill out and submit a Re-Entry Permit based on the circumstances below.

    I plan to move with my (US citizen) wife to Costa rica for a year.

    I am an I-551 (Green Card) holder since 1983 since I was 3 years old.
    I am born to an American mother, but have Austrian citizenship, which is where I was born, of which country my father is a citizen of.

    I am married to an american citizen
    have lived continuosly in the US for almost 30 years.
    I also plan on coming back during the 1 year stay (currently i was planning with a 6 month period) however I would then want to go back after a couple weeks for the remainder of the year.

    I appreciate any feedback you can provide.


    • Ben
      June 21, 2012

      Also I additonal question, If I get the Re-Entry permit, can I still go back and forth between the US and the country abroad within that 2 year Re-Entry permit period?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 22, 2012

      Dear Ben:

      Why don’t you have your USA citizenship so you son’t have to bother?

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  16. Anonymous
    June 21, 2012

    I have a 14yrs old ,who came into the U.S. when he was 3yrs,is he qualify to apply under the dream act policy?

  17. CG
    June 12, 2012

    Hi Danielle.

    Thanks for the wonderful information and insights about all those immigration issues.

    I’m a LPR who filed a petition for my wife on DEC2010. Our son was born abroad on March2012 and the case was approved and sent to NVC on April2012. AOS+VisaApplication fees were received the same date but have not been paid. I sent the child’s birth certificate last week.

    Now, my questions are:

    – Do I have to do anything else to include my child in the petition?
    – Does he need a separate I130? If so, does that mean going through the full process separately, including the long wait for approval from USCIS?
    – I’ve read different oppinions about the “derivative beneficiary” applicability in these cases. Any comments?
    – Should I pay the fees that they sent already or do I have to wait for something else?
    – Will my petition be delayed by any means?

    I know these cases are not common and I apologize if it does not fall in any of the categories that you listed.

    I appreciate your help. Thanks in advance.

  18. ham
    June 11, 2012

    i just apply on i-751 i have baby on usa my wife is american how many days take me to receive my 10 years green card your letter say they receive my papers .

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 11, 2012

      Hi Ham:

      It has been taking anywhere from 3 – 9 months for my clients to get their 10 year green cards after they submit their I-751 Petitions.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  19. Drago Maximov
    June 6, 2012

    Dear Danielle
    My mom 72 years old is a green card holder for last 4 years and is being spending a lot of time abroad for the reason of taking care of 2 older persons 85 and 89 years old.

    she goes for a time frame of 5 but less than 6 months than comeback for a month and than goes back. When she comeback (last week) she was stopped at the customs at the airport, Because she does not speak English i received a call from the officer that explained that my mom may lose her green card next time because of spending time abroad. Explained to him that she needs to take care of the older person and that’s why she is abroad. Than the officer told me that she could apply for I-135 or get a court judge permission for her caring for loved one. The last i did not get because after researching on the internet i did not find anything regarding that matter. The problem is that she needs to leave the country on 6.25.12 for 4-5 months and i could not get I-135 THAT QUICK. I know that the biometrics take long time and i believe she could not get it at the local embassy.

    I afraid they will confiscate her green card when she comes back.

    don’t know what to do.

    she has local doctor, Cal ID, medical card, US address and that’s it.

    Preciate your advice.

    Best Regards

    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 8, 2012

      Dear Drago:

      I believe the officers meant I-131, not I-135 — that’s why you could not find the I-135. She should not leave the USA until she (a) files the I -131 and (2) gets the I-131 receipt and biometrics notice; and (3) goes to a USCIS Application Support Center to give her biometrics. If she leaves the USA again without doing these things she risks losing her green card because the officers already warned her not to leave without doing it, called you and told you, and most likely put their notes in the computer under her name. I know it is hard to tell a mother what to do but either she reschedules her trip planned for next week, or she faxes losing her green card.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  20. Tom Fullum
    May 29, 2012

    My name is Tom and I am a US citizen, and my wife and stepson (6 yr) are CR and will receive LPR in May 2013 (likely interview is February/March 2013). We also have a dual citizen baby (8 mons) born in the Philippines and living with us in the USA. We would like to live abroad in the Philippines for 4 years starting in June 2013 and returning April 2017 while my wife goes to nursing school to become an RN. We want to keep the family together during her studies. I am a photographer who can work from home anywhere in the world. We will maintain a residence in the USA, file taxes, pay utilities, keep state DLs, bank accounts, etc. to prove our intention to permanently reside and live in the USA. We will return to the USA at least once to twice each year, as her study program allows (Philippine schools are very rigorous with few breaks), for anywhere from one week to 2-3 months.

    At the end of 4 years of study, we will return to the USA so that my wife can begin her career as an RN. Of course, we are at the whims of the USCIS and airport immigration officer everytime we travel back and forth during her study abroad and want this 4-year period to be trouble free.

    Is there anyway to discuss this matter ahead of time with the USCIS and discuss our intentions to simultaneously have my wife study abroad while keeping our family together with an immigration officer? What about the officer who conducted our CR interview in February 2011?

    Should we still apply for a re-entry permit even if we intend to travel back to the USA 1-2x each year? Applying for the re-entry permit seems to be a potential way to inform USCIS that my wife and stepson will be spending the majority of their time in the Philippines over the course of 4 years with multiple return visits during this period.

    Are there any concerns for our 6 year-old stepson to live with us in the Philippines? Would USCIS expect the family to be separated and for him to reside in the USA during her study abroad?

    Due to critical labor shortages, I know there are special rules for RNs to immigrate and work in the USA? How about special rules for GC-LPRs to study abroad and then return as an RN?


    • immigrationworkvisa
      June 1, 2012

      Dear Tom: Yes, it is necessary to get two I-131 Re-Entry Permits (one for wife and one for stepchild) twice.

      Sorry, I do not know of a way to discuss this matter ahead of time with the USCIS. You are right – filing the I-131 indicates a green card holder’s intention to return to the USA permanently.

      Yes, please file the I-131 Re-Entry Permits for both your wife and stepson — traveling back to the USA 1-2 x a year is not cutting it anymore. The airport officers know that green card holders are supposed to live in the USA the majority of the time and if they don’t — the USCIS has the authority to cancel a green card if the green card holder does not have an approved Re-Entry Permit.

      Yes, your stepchild also needs a Re-Entry Permit – there are no special rules concerning family separation.

      Sorry, there are also no special rules for GC-LPRs who wish to study abroad and then return as an RN. Green Card holders are expected to live in the USA permanently and study to be an RN inside the USA. If there were special rules for separation of families or for GC-LPRs studying to be RNS abroad, I would have written about it in the blog article.

      Basically you are going to probably save some money paying less for the RN school in the PI, but is it worth it if you are going to spend time and money (1) getting two Re-Entry Permits (twice) and then (2) being questioned in secondary inspection at the american airports every time you re-enter the USA?

      The only reason for a green card holder with an approved Re-Entry Permit to come back to the USA before being abroad 6 months is for naturalization purposes – not for the purpose to keep the green card.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  21. Matthew
    April 24, 2012

    Dear Danielle,
    Thank you for your amazingly helpful blog and informative commentary. I am a US citizen living in Canada and my girlfriend of four years has been a US GC holder for the last 6 years. She has spent over 1500 days in the US in total.

    After graduating, she got an 16-month internship that requires her to basically travel abroad as a translator/researcher for a newspaper. Although the position is technically based in New York, in reality she spends no time there. Since then (late June 2011) she has been back to the US one time for a three-week stay (in early December 2011, never having exceeded 6 months outside the country). She was not questioned at all by immigration officials. She is now planning a week-long trip home (her family lives in Texas and her mother and step father are US citizens) next month, specifically so that she does not exceed the 6-months of continuous stay abroad rule. Her current position will end in early October, after which she will return to the US and not leave again.

    According to the travel schedule she has created, she will not spend more that 6 months abroad on any one trip, but she would have only spent a little over one month in the US out of the most recent 16.

    She does not have a re-entry permit (as we just learned of this a few weeks ago), but she does have plenty of ties to the US (family, tax returns, insurance, doctor appointment records, dental, etc). I have read through your blog post on this issue carefully and I would just like to ask if there is anything particularly useful she should carry or say if she is questioned? Will this internship period affect her application for naturalization? Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Thank you!!!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 26, 2012

      Dear Matthew:

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, there are things she should always carry, and yes her extended time abroad may effect her application for naturalization. Sorry, but it is impossible for me to address these important issues on an individualized basis on a free blog.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  22. Adil
    April 19, 2012

    Hello Danielle,
    Thanks for creating this forum .I am Adil from Morocco. I am a green card holder .I want to know if i can study abroad for 3 years abroad and each years i Will spend a 1 month in USA.
    After i will stay definitively here.
    Thank you so much.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 26, 2012

      Dear Adil:

      Possibly. You will probably get one re-entry permit approved for 2 years, but it is harder to get the second one approved.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  23. Thuy Du
    March 29, 2012

    Hello Danielle,
    I just received my Green Card today. I was very disappointed when I saw they made a stupid mistake on it. The Country of Birth is supposed to be “Vietnam”, but on the card is “North Vietnam” !!!
    My husband and I planned to go to Vietnam in May, 21 and we already bought the tickets. I already made an infopass appointment to ask them to replace a new one but they aren’t available until next week. Moreover, i don’t know if I have to pay any fee because this is definitely their mistake. And that i don’t know how long it will take to receive the replace one because I’m worried that if I don’t receive the replace one before May, 21, how can I go to vietnam without the Green Card??

    Thank you so much and have a good day.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      April 7, 2012

      Dear Thuy:

      In my experience you don’t have to pay to have the green card corrected (see the instructions on the website for the I-90) but it usually takes 6-8 months to get the corrected green card back from the USCIS. To make things worse, you have to send the original green card to them in order for them to accept the I-90. I have not had luck trying to get a corrected green card issued quickly. Sorry that I don’t have better news.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

    • sola
      April 25, 2012


      I am a grown daughter of a US citizen. My father just petitioned for me and my two siblings through I-135. We have arrived the US now, and awaiting our green card but i intend returning back to my country of residence immediately after i recieve my green card where i intend spending about 6 months before i return back to the US. Can you advice if i can proceed on this trip immediately i get my green card (Within two weeks ), will this trip jeopardise my green card in any way.


  24. Anonymous
    March 8, 2012

    Hello Danielle,

    I am a green card holder since 2003. I have been studying abroad for my BA and MBA, but since 2003 always coming before 6 months and spending time with my parents that live here. In 2010 I decided to move to New York where I reside, I would like to do my citizenship. I know I need 5 years, at least 931 days in the country. if I go back 5 years ago, 2007-2012 I have cumulated 838 days so far, but in 2008 I broke my continuous residence, I stayed 8 months abroad but didnt have to do a re entry permit.I couln’t come because I was passing my exams, and got my degree in that date. So I am still eligible? or should I wait until 2014 and go back 5 years (2009-2014) respecting continous residence + physical presence?

    Let me Know,

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 15, 2012

      Dear Anonymous:

      Congratulations on getting your BA and MBA!

      To approve citizenship where there was 1 trip that was between 6-12 months is going to be up to the immigration officer based on your “ties to America” evidence. It just depends on whether you feel like rolling the dice on your $680 filing fee. No guarantees, but I’ve seen some cases like yours approved (and others were not). Feeling luck?

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  25. lillian
    March 7, 2012


    My parents have GC. They left the state at the end of 2008 for a short trip to China. During their trip in China, my dad was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. Subsequently it developed to liver cancer. Because my dad does not have health insurance in the state, he decided to receive medical treatment in China. Dad passed away last month.
    My mom wants to return to US now. Since she is out of the state for more than 2 years, will she have trouble of entering the state? What can I do to help her re-enter the state and retain her GC?



    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 15, 2012

      Dear Lillian:

      Sorry to hear about your father. Your mom has 2 choices. She can apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa at the U.S. Consulate in China and try to convince the Consular Officer that her entire time outside the USA was due to circumstances “beyond her control.” If she wins, she will in effect be reinstating her old green card. It can take 6-12 months for that process because she will have to undergo another medical exam and background check.

      Or, she can skip that step and ask you to sponsor her for another green card (assuming you are over 21 and a USC), which will probably take 9-12 months while she waits in China.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  26. sohel
    March 7, 2012

    Dear Danielle,

    My wife and I have green card , recently my wife delivered a child in india.
    my question is what is the process to get my child to USA? can I get my child here on visit visa? can i apply for his GC and how long the process takes.

    Thanks in advance.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 15, 2012

      Hi Sohel:

      For an LPR to apply for a child’s green card, the parent must first file an I-130 Petition. After the I-130 Petition is approved, the child is put on a waiting list. Unfortunately, the child of an LPR is in Family Category F2A and there is a 3 year waiting list for that category. After you or your wife become U.S. Citizens, there is no wait (although it can still take 8-12 months just to process).

      Here is an article about how to figure out which family category is applicable, and the waiting list for each family category:

      You could apply to the U.S.Consulate for a B2 Tourist Visa for the child instead, but it will be up to the Consular Officer at the U.S. Consulate in India whether to grant it or not, given the fact that both parents are LPRs and will undoubtedly be processing a green card for the child in the future.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  27. reymay
    March 6, 2012

    My name is Rey. Thanks for the info it helps me a lot I am a huge fan of your page. Hi ms. danielle I am a green card holder and been living in the U.S for 4 years and 6 months and I decided to visit my country for 1 month and 1 week. I did the website and the count of days for staying there and it was 40 days. My question is how will that affect my naturalization? Because when I was trying to fill up the free online question for naturalization it says “are you out in the country for more than 30 days?” the only applicable to my answer was none of the above. It followed with the error and can’t apply for citizenship. I know that if you only pass the 6 months and it could lead to a problem.Please help me because I need this naturalization to get my parent and siblings.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      March 15, 2012

      Dear Rey,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I don’t know what free online question asks if you are out of the country for more than 30 days. It is ok to call me at (619) 235-8811 PST so we can figure it out (no charge for the call). The citizenship application is available for free at (called the “N-400”) and there is no “error” message like you described.

      Kind regards, Danielle

  28. Alex
    January 15, 2012

    Dear Danielle,
    My wife’s grandfather (mother’s side only) was born in the US in 1910 and left when he was 10 or so.
    My wife-s great grandfather emigrated to the US and died there.
    My wife’s mother was born in Poland in 1935 whose sister born in 1940 gained citizenship in the 90’s due to her father being an American.
    Is my wife american – derived from her grandfather?

  29. WorriedInLove
    December 28, 2011

    Hello Danielle, Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of your blog! So I am a US citizen that has married a Chinese citizen that was in the US on a J1 visa. We’ve been dating for 2 years and have been married for 5 months. We have plans to have a big wedding in China with both of our families in Oct of 2012. However, 5 months ago, we had a very small ceremony and got a self-uniting (common in PA) marriage license and only had a few friends included in that ceremony and did not take pictures of the ceremony since we are planning another large ceremony in China. We have been very successful in doing all of the paperwork needed and will be having our interview in 2 weeks. We can prove that we are truly in love with each other and have been living together for about 1.5 years, have joint accounts, joint lease, ect. However, I’m now worried that our choice to have a small legal ceremony and not have any pictures of it will possibly cause us to get denied a green card. What is your experience with this? Am I just being overly worried or is there a good risk of getting denied because of this? I’ve read on a few other sites of other people getting married in front of a judge and not even having a ceremony and they got their green card. Any input is much appreciated. Keep up the great work!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 28, 2011

      Dear Worried:

      Each green card by marriage case is different, so it is hard for me to answer your question about the marriage green card interview. The best way to be safe is to have an immigration attorney prepare you for the marriage green card interview, either in person or over the phone. The average charge is $250.00 USD. I know the economy is bad, but I think the peace of mind about the safety of your spouse is worth it.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  30. hassan hussein abdullahi
    December 24, 2011

    my name is hassan hussein abdullahi
    i am in africa right now but i am requesting for those whom are concern for this good work to help me becase i like very much to come to USA i am always recalling to get for this golden aportunity with golden country so please i need your help

    December 19, 2011

    Hi my name is Jasmine. I am helping someone who is a green card holder to ask a question. He got his green card in 2002 and the expired date is 2014. I thought green card can only hold for 10 years and have to renew it. However, it is confused that this card holder will expired after 12 years. Is it possible or is a mistake?
    Thank you.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 21, 2011

      Dear Jasmine:

      Yes it may be a mistake. Please urge him to get his USA citizenship so that it won’t be an issue.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

    • Law Student
      December 29, 2011

      Most likely, he was married and had a “temporary” green card for 2 years. Thereafter, he likely obtained his 10 year greencard; so I don’t believe it is a mistake. INS (or rather shall we say Dept. of Homeland Security) rarely would make such mistakes. Depending on his country of origin, there may be negative consequences (eg. losing his current passport due to the fact such country does not permit dual citizenship, US tax filing requirements – once he is a citizen) – so obtaining US citizenship, should be carefully considered.

  32. Dennis E. Homant
    December 19, 2011

    Hi Danielle.

    My wife arrived here on a K-1 Visa. I had always thought that she could bring the rest of her family here on an I-130 as soon as she received her 2 year residence. Now she tells me that since her daughters recently married she cannot request them coming here even on a I-130 until she has her citizenship which we know will take 5 years. And she tells me that she cannot even request that her mom come live with us until her citizenship (a blessing?).

    Is all this true?


  33. Hazel
    December 16, 2011

    Danielle God Bless you have this. I have a friend of the family who her and her family are my host everytime I go to the Philippines.I’ve known the mother of the family for a long time and her daughter since birth who is now married,4 kids,full time job,has a business,has a husband working at Carnival,etc. To extend my gratitude to them I invited her and her daughter to visit me and I would take care of the plane tickets and they can stay for free. In March she was denied. I’m assuming Embassy thinks she’s going to go with her husband but her husband rarely on land and truly works in sea. So now December her husband comes back after his contract ends she reapplys again with her daughter to come.Consul asked her few questions she answered appropriately but then asked about her husband.She stated he was in Phil & contracted ended.Consular said “But he’s renewing right?”She said “yes but it’s not a guarantee” then Consular assumed husband was sponsoring the trip & basically insulted her stating “I wanna believe you but your husband only make $7000” your trip should cost $10,000 (which is way over priced his estimate).”She replied “HE’s not the one sponsoring my family friend will be the one (although she has enough to pay her own ticket but I offered so she can use her money for trip plus I stayed free board with them).Then without even checking 1 piece of paperwork he stated that her story was “UNBELIEVABLE.”I am more than capable of taking care of their trip and she’s capable of her expenses yet the US CONSUL did not bother to CHECK her docs for anything bank statements,title,birth certs for the kids,job paychecks stubs,etc. She offered to prove finances but he kept telling her “I don’t look at documents and your story is unbelievable.”I thought going there you should tell the truth on how you’re planning your trip but this Consul did not even bother to let her show her documents at all.First I wanted to ask is it because I am not related to her that he finds my invitation unbelievable? We even brought pictures of me with her entire family to prove they are more like family to me then my own.Do they think she’s going to stay because her husband will go back on the boat and she will stay with him when he’s in Miami and I all the way in NEW YORK? But he’s not even here the time she applied to go. Seems like the CONSUL collects the $140 time and time again but won’t allow her to give any chance to prove otherwise. I understand that the consul looks at everyone as if their intention is to immigrate to the US and each applicant must prove otherwise but is calling her story UNBELIEVABLE when it’s the truth and without letting her put any docs up for him to see justifiable? I guess it is and US EMBASSY really doesn’t care do they. More like a business. Any advice I’d appreciate sincerely.


    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 21, 2011

      Dear Hazel:

      Regrettably, the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Manila, PI has the highest rate of fraudulent tourist applications. It has made the consular staff suspicious of everyone. I know it seems unfair. If you wish to pursue assisting someone with a tourist visa, you have the highest chance of success when you hire an immigration attorney who specializes in applications for tourist visas.

      In addition, once a denial is on the record, it is often necessary to ask the help of a U.S. Congressman/woman so that the application documents are actually reviewed prior to the decision.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  34. Dabberdabberdo
    December 9, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    I was a green card holder. The card expired in 2000. (That’s over 10 years ago). I left the US in 1997. I was a minor then. After reading a few pages of this blog and comments…

    Well, here’s the question. If I attempt re-entry using the green card, then of course they will take it away and say I’ve long since abandoned my permanent resident status, and then send me back.

    However, until I formally surrender my green card to a US Embassy or until I attempt to re-enter the US using the green card, then my status is still not abandoned. Is that correct? The physical plastic card is expired, but my status is not.

    Which means if I enter the US legally not using my green card, then … well I am legally there and I’ll just spend the next 5 years there (and apply for renewal of my green card from within the US) and then apply for Citizenship.

    Does that make sense? (I will not be entering as a tourist.)

    Because applying for a brand new green card is going to take me 7 to 10 years. Applying for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa will most likely result in a negative assessment and revoking of my status.

    I will not be entering the US illegally.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 21, 2011

      Dear David:

      No, this strategy does not make sense.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  35. Immius
    December 5, 2011

    First of all, thanks for creating this forum to help all of us US-immigration-lost-souls.

    I got married in January 2007 and ultimately could reach to my husband’s in May 2009; I got my GC which has a 10-year validity printed over it, in June 2009 while staying together at my husband’s place, who happens to be a US citizen. My sis-in-law had sponsored me at that time bcause he had lost his job during the great depression and could not get anything till the time I was there with him; he was surviving with his ‘unemployment bonus’ and maintaining his 3 kids who used to stay with his ex. Like many other people, driven by situation, we had a tough time and had frequent fights and as a result I left the country. Till that time, I am in my home-country. Now, after almost 2 years, I am thinking of going back again. Will it be possible at all? If yes, how should I proceed? Please guide.

    Thanks for your time.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 21, 2011

      Dear Immius:

      Because you have been outside the USA more than 1 year, your 10 year green card is no longer valid for re-entry. Unfortunately, the USA government does not allow for economic difficulties and expected you to stay in the USA. Your two choices are to either try to convince the U.S. Consulate Officer in your country that you were outside the USA for reasons beyond your control (file an application for an SB-1 Visa) or your husband (or someone else) can try to file applications for you to get a new green card.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  36. jh
    December 2, 2011

    Hi Danielle,

    First off, thanks for creating this forum to help all of us US-immigration-lost-souls.

    I have a green card since 2004, it expires in 2014. My husband is a US citizen and my daughter has dual citizenship. Starting from this year, we have been spending more time in my home country as my kid started attending school there. She and I have been returning to the US twice a year during her school holidays, for about 3-4 weeks each time in the last 4 years.

    We have a property in the US, along with utility, credit card, insurance bills and drivers’ license. We co-own an S-Corp based in CA and have also been filing US income taxes as citizens/residents for over a decade. We have the full intention of returning to the US but at this point, we have chosen to educate our kid in my home country because of the bilingual education. Jobs prospect for my husband here has been bad too and he’s able to find more work outside of the US. Hence the decision to spend more time away now.

    My questions are:
    1. If I continue this pattern of travel activities, will there be a problem with my permanent residency (each time leaving no more than 6 months)?

    2. If I can keep my green card till 2014, will there be a problem renewing it at 2014?


    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 2, 2011

      Dear Jh:

      I don’t see how you can keep your permanent residency if you don’t live in the USA the majority of the time. If you read the other blog comments, you will see how the airport immigration officers eventually figure out that you are not living in the USA. They are not stupid. The good news is that if you lose the green card while you are with your daughter abroad, your USC husband should be able to sponsor you for another green card – that is if you can prove you are still married (even though you spend so much time apart?).

      Kind regards, Danielle

      P.S. The USA has special private bilingual schools, and the airport immigration officers know it, so they don’t think that bilingual education it is a good ready to live abroad. In addition, they don’t care if your child speaks 2 languages – they just want her to speak English. Sounds provincial, but there you have it. Americans move and their children have to switch schools all the time. It is a better strategy to enroll her in an American bilingual school until you get your citizenship, which only takes 3 years when you are married to a USA citizen. After you get your USA citizenship, you can live abroad all you want.

      Kind regards, Danielle

  37. Ob
    November 30, 2011

    Hello Danielle,
    Thanks for creating this forum. I am a US citizen and my parents have green cards, well, until recently. My father left the US for over a year and was denied re-entry last October. We am fully aware of the rules and our concern now is how this may affect the immigrant visa petition that he filed for my sister. She recently received a notice from the NVC to submit a copy of the biographic data page of her passport, birth certificate, photos, and a police certificate. Our guess is that these are required before she is invited for an interview at the embassy in Africa. We are trying to be proactive and do all we can to help her case. Since my dad was the petitioner on her DS230 application, he filed the Affidavit of support for her. I am listed as her Agent and provided my tax docs as proof that she will be under my care upon arrival. Is there anything else that I can do to ensure that she gets a favorable decision?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 2, 2011

      Dear Ob:

      If your father is no longer has green card status, I don’t see how he can sponsor your sister. You will probably have to retain the services of an immigration attorney to get his green card status back in time for her interview at the U.S. Consulate.

      Kind regards, Danielle

  38. Regine Monigold
    November 29, 2011

    Good day to you..My name is Regine, married to US citizen, I am a green card holder. I was able to go to America on K-1 Visa, i got there and got married last August 18, 2010, I got my green card after 1 year staying there and decided to come back here in Philippines to visit my family. I got here last Sept 2, 2011 and need to be back in US this February. My question is i don’t have a re-entry permit, do i need to get that in able to get back to the US? What are the process that i need to take to get back into the US? What else i need to do so that i will not have any problems getting back in? Please help, Thank you and Stay Safe.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 2, 2011

      Dear Regine:

      Please don’t stay abroad more than 6 months. Even if you are gone less than 6 months (let’s say 5 1/2 months) you will probably be questioned in secondary inspection for a few hours upon re-entering the USA, so be sure to bring a lot of “ties to America” documents. The airport immigration officers are less and less tolerant of permanent residents who live abroad for so long. When Americans visit their families, it is usually for 2 weeks, so when you stay abroad longer it implies that you really want to keep living in the Philippines.

      Kind regards, Danielle

  39. Amir
    November 26, 2011

    Hello My name is Amir
    My mom has a green card holder since 2002, she left USA on april of 2009 to viist her illed mother, 3 months after her trip she was diagnosed with breast canser and had no choice than staying in Iran for treatment up to July of 2011 . she couldn’t ask for extention since there is no embassy in Iran. she arraived in USA on August with all medical docs translated .her Green card and passport was taken away from her. and she was given the court date for Oct 25th,which she attended and was given a choice to give up her green card or another court date will be set for July 2012.Do you have any idea what is she going to face, and if the medical docs is enough for her to be able to retain her green card . any advice is appreciated. Thanks

    • immigrationworkvisa
      December 2, 2011

      Dear Amir:

      I’m sorry, you will not be able to rely on free legal advice off of a blog. Your mom needs to hire an immigration attorney to represent her in front of the Immigration Judge.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  40. Wendy
    November 7, 2011

    Hi Danielle:

    Thanks for giving us a place to address our questions and confusions. I am a Malaysian citizens married to a US citizen in 12/2002, and gave birth to 3 beautiful kids in 9 years, residing in Colorado. I have my 10 years greencard that won’t expired until sometimes in 2015 or 2016. My husband and I own properties in Colorado and California. I am planning to take my youngest kid with me to visit my elderly parents in Malaysia this January and to help around to sort things out for them, as my mom has alot of health issues, until my US citizen husband and 2 kids join us in July/August and then go back to the state together. So, I am looking into staying 6-7months out of the state with my youngest American-born son.

    Am I going to have issues returning to the state with my husband and 3 kids? I do not wish to apply for the reentry permit thing if it is not necessary. I hope the fact that my US citizen husband and 3 kids will be with me, will help them to see that US is my home now, but sometimes, we still have matters at our origin country, that we have to help to take care.


    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 8, 2011

      Dear Wendy,

      Please get either your USA citizenship or a Re-Entry Permit before you go on an extended trip abroad of 6-7 months involving caring for an unwell parent. Do you really want to be faced with the possible choice between leaving your mom on her deathbed in Malaysia or losing your green card and having to start the green card process over again? All you have to do is read the 500+ comments on my blog to see that this is a situation that many wish they had handled better.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  41. Gul
    October 11, 2011

    Hi my name is Gul,
    My husband and I have a final hearing at the immigration court in Chicago for this coming march and We are almost sure that the judge will grant us our green cards. A couple months ago something urgent came up and I had to come to my home country with my three US Citizen children without letting the authorities know about it. My husband is still back there running our business. Since I don’t have a valid visa, I can’t go back. I really don’t want to miss our court date. Is there any way to get any kind of visa or permission to go back?

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 11, 2011

      Dear Gul:

      You will need to hire an Immigration Attorney in Chicago to represent you in this matter. You should not rely on free blogs for this serious, complicated situation. I’m sorry I don’t have a quick, easy answer for you.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  42. rotaryitalia2090
    September 29, 2011

    Hello Danielle,
    I am a US citizen, currently living in the Italy. My husband is Italian and has a green card. We lived in the states for 7 years from 1997 to 2004 but had to move back due to his mother’s failing health. She has dementia and has a hard time moving around. His green card expired a couple of years back and he went back and was able to get it renewed. We have property in the US and bank accounts as we will move back one day but do not know when. He did have a re-entry permit but that has expired and know that it cannot be renewed. Immigration officials know that his mother needs assistance. My husband takes care of all her financials and legal aspects. While we don’t want her to die she’s hanging on.
    My husband goes back to the states once or twice a year (two of our children live in the US). Due to his mother’s ill health, he hasn’t been back since January 2011. Does he need to re-enter within 12 months or does it go by the year? Also, what documents need to bring in once he goes back to the states? Do you advise that he renounce his green card and re-apply later once we are ready to move back?
    Thank you for your assistance.
    Lisa Minelli

    • immigrationworkvisa
      September 29, 2011

      Dear Lisa:

      I believe that the answers to some of your questions are here:

      For example, we all know that after 1 year abroad, your husband can no longer use his unexpired green card (if he still has one) to re-enter the USA. But even after 6 months abroad (which disrupts the continuity of residence in the USA) the airport officers are asking for proof that the green card holder lives in the USA the majority of the time (which would be 7 months per year). It is very hard for me to make a list of documents for you because every case is so different. Some people own cars in the USA, and some don’t. Some maintain their credit cards, and some don’t. The differences and variations between cases are infinite.

      What makes it hard in your husband’s case is we have no way to predict when his mother may pass. If we knew she was going to pass soon, it might be worth it coming back to the USA frequently to try to maintain the green card. But if she does not pass away soon, it might be better save the money flying back and forth and use it to reapply for his green card again later (no need to “renounce” it – it is just “surrendered” when you sponsor him for the second marriage green card).

      All my best for a peaceful ending to his mom’s life – it is not easy for any family to endure.

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  43. ET
    August 24, 2011

    Hi danielle, mi husband is a DV 2012 winner and we have our interview soon. The thing is that we have our B visa since 2006 (expires on 2016), and last year we wanted our son to be a U.S. citizen and so he was born in the U.S. We paid all of the doctors and hospital expenses (we were not an economic burden to us government and we did not overstay in the us according to our visa approved period). Can this cause the denial of the inmigrant visa? Can they void our actual B visa? Please give us your recommendations on how to act and what to say to the officer in order to increase our probabilities to get the inmigrant visa. Thank you!

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 25, 2011

      Dear ET:

      The circumstances as you described them should not automatically result in a denial of your immigrant visas (green cards). If your immigrant visas were to be denied, it would be hard to say whether the B visa would be cancelled or not because I don’t know the reason for the denial. In general, a person can only be one category at a time: either an immigrant (immigrant visa/green card) or nonimmigrant (B visa holder).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  44. A
    July 28, 2011

    I have been charged for petty theft and court date is after 2 week. I am here on L1 B visa.
    How it will affect on my visa Can i come back this is my first offence Whether my company will have access to my case using visa details.

    In which case there will not be any immigartion consequences please suggest.

    • immigrationworkvisa
      August 2, 2011

      I don’t know where you live, but you should retain the services of an Immigration Attorney to answer these important questions. If I could give you some general guidelines I would, but I cannot because each state is different in the way they handle privacy, convictions of petty theft, and reporting policies. Even though immigration law is federal and therefore mostly the same in all of the 50 American states, with regard to criminal convictions, the immigration law may be applied differently according to the wording of each state’s criminal laws.

      Good luck, Danielle Nelisse
      American Immigration Attorney

  45. nabeel
    January 14, 2011

    good day to you,
    (lawyer fees for changing outh cermony date)


    • immigrationworkvisa
      January 16, 2011

      Dear Nabeel:

      You don’t really need an attorney to change the oath ceremony date. You could make an “infopass” appt. online at and go to your local USCIS office and ask them to change the date.

      If you are abroad and unable to do so, you could hire an immigration attorney – the fee would depend on where you live and how soon the oath ceremony is scheduled for. For example, in San Diego, California I can go to the local USCIS office for you and charge $350. If you are not in San Diego, CA I would have to charge $500 to change the date (if there is time for me to do it).

      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  46. Sam
    November 15, 2010

    Hi Danielle.My name is Sam and I would like to ask you the question.My parents have a GC since november 2008.They left to Monetengro on December of last year and my Dad had a stroke in May of this year so they couldn’t come back in USA.My Dad wasn’t able to travel since he was paralized,and worst from it He was hospitalized agai week ago and we don’t know what is going to happen.Please let me know what do I have to do so they won’t loose their papers.Thank you so much Sam

    • immigrationworkvisa
      November 29, 2010

      Dear Sam:
      Because (I assume) your parents did not file for a Re-Entry Permit before they left, they cannot do so now (it has to be filed before leaving the U.S.).

      The best thing is for your parents to try to retain all of their “ties” with the U.S. that they had when they left (keep filing tax returns, keep bank accounts, cars, homes, etc.). That way when they are ready to return to the U.S. they will have as much evidence as possible to convince the U.S. Consular Officer that they deserve to be granted a “Returning Resident Visa” which will let them keep their green cards. If the U.S. Consular Officer feels they have been gone too long, or that there is not enough evidence of ties to the U.S. while they were gone, they will have to surrender their green cards and start all over again.
      Kind regards, Danielle Nelisse

  47. Hanna Bordan Little
    October 16, 2010

    hello! my name is Hanna Bordan Little. I am green card holder.and it wont expire until september 2015. my question is, how am i going to be able to go back to the US since i have been here in Philippines for two years now? do i still have a chance to go back? my husband is there as well as my two children. i came back here because i was very depressed there and cant find any help without getting harmed.i felt i was emotionally threatened there. and when i came back here in october 2008, my sister sent me to school and i took a two year course as a computer march next year i will be graduating and i wish to go back to my family there in florida since they moved there this summer from ohio.please tell me what to do.i do need your help. i am looking forward for your response. thank you! God bless you!

    hanna little

    • immigrationworkvisa
      October 20, 2010

      Dear Hanna:

      You cannot re-enter the U.S. with your green card because you have been outside the U.S. for more than 1 year. I know that the green card doesn’t expire until September 2015, but it is not valid for purposes of re-entering the U.S. anymore. You would need to apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa at the U.S. Consulate in the Philippines to see if America will let you keep your green card. If not, your husband will need to start the process to get a new green card for you.

      Good luck, Danielle

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