You are outside the United States. Perhaps you’re visiting family or traveling on business, and you realize that your green card is expiring, already expired or even missing. You already know that having valid, unexpired proof of permanent resident status is critical for reentry at a U.S. port of entry. What to do? First, it’s important to understand that green card renewal from outside the U.S. is not an option. You’ll need to be physically inside the United States to renew a green card.
However, there are solutions to get you home. Although green card renewal from outside the U.S. is not possible, there are various ways to return to the United States after temporary travel abroad. Each depends on your specific situation. Continue reading
The process to obtain a family-based green card can be a long road. While some eligible relationships may only take a few months, other can take years. Naturally, it would be nice to visit family in the United States while waiting for the immigrant visa. Not so fast. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to obtain a tourist visa after signaling your intent to become a permanent resident.
It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible to obtain a visitor visa with a pending I-130 petition. Many people with pending immigrant visa petitions have successfully traveled to the United States on a B visitor visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In fact, Canadians can typically cross the border with ease with a visa or visa waiver. For others, it will be necessary to prove the trip will only be temporary. Continue reading
If you’ve lost your green card or reentry permit while outside the United States, there’s a new process to help you obtain a carrier document. USCIS recently released Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), a new form that allows permanent residents to apply for a travel document (carrier documentation) if they:
- Are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than one year, and their green card has been lost, stolen or destroyed, or
- Are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than two years, and their reentry permit has been lost, stolen or destroyed.
U.S. laws require transportation carriers such as airlines to check passengers for passports and visa before bringing them to the United States. In fact, these laws impose penalties if passengers are not in possession of the required documents. Your lost green card abroad can be a travel headache. Continue reading
Effective December 23, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the fees that must be submitted with the majority of its immigration forms. The USCIS fee increases, which were finalized in an announcement yesterday, can be found in a final rule published in the Federal Register. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include these new fees or USCIS will reject your submission.
During the early summer of 2016, USCIS announced fee increases would be coming. The USCIS fee increases became official yesterday. Fees increased by a weighted average of 21 percent for many forms. While fees for some forms increased only modestly, fees for other forms such as Form N-600 ballooned by 95 percent. Continue reading
A permanent resident can generally travel outside the United States and return by simply showing a permanent resident card (green card) upon reentry at a U.S. port of entry.
But there are situations that a reentry permit is needed in addition to the permanent resident card.
A reentry permit can help avoid two types of problems:
- Your permanent resident card becomes technically invalid for reentry into the United States if you are absent from the U.S. for 1 year or more.
- Your permanent resident status may be considered as abandoned for absences shorter than 1 year if you take up residence in another country.
After traveling abroad, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at your U.S. port of entry will need to determine if your travel was “temporary” in nature. To be temporary, you must have the intention to return to the Untied States at the time of departure and throughout the entire trip. Employment, family, filing of taxes, involvement in the community all demonstrate ties to the U.S. To determine your intentions, some of the questions that a CBP officer may ask cover topics such as: Continue reading
Unfortunately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no different than any other massive government organization – they are heavily burdened with a large workload and aren’t the most efficient organization. In fact, several agencies make up the overall immigration system. Consular offices, Department of State and the National Visa Center all play a role. Over 6 million forms are filed with USCIS each year alone. Even if you’ve used our tips for preparing USCIS forms, it’s not uncommon for these agencies to lose parts of your application package or even the whole thing. But there are some preventive measures so that you don’t have to call us to say, “USCIS lost my application!” Continue reading
The green card (officially known as a permanent resident card) is proof of your right to live and work in the United States. So if your green card is ever lost or stolen, the experience can be extremely nerve racking.
Don’t panic. You are not the first person to lose your green card. Losing your card does not mean you’ve lost your permanent resident status. But not having a green card can be a major problem when traveling, applying for a job or other daily activities.
Here is what to do when your green card is lost or stolen:
When applying for U.S. citizenship via naturalization, English and civics tests get much of the attention. But permanent residents often do not understand how travel abroad can affect their eligibility for naturalization.
Two related but separate requirements, continuous residence and physical presence, must be satisfied for one to be eligible to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Excessive travel abroad can adversely affect eligibility. Excessive travel can include one long trip or the accumulation of several trips over the period that precedes your admission as a U.S. citizen. Continue reading
After you’ve filed almost any application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will respond by mailing you a Form I-797, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-2 weeks. The I-797, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.
For applicants that have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, this receipt letter will indicate that the case has been rejected. The applicant will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, this receipt letter will indicated that your case has been accepted. Once the form has been accepted, USCIS will begin reviewing your case.
The receipt letter contains a unique 13-digit receipt number. Also known as a case number, it’s a very important number to help you track the progress of your case or identify a particular immigration filing.
5 Green Card Travel Tips to Avoid Re-Entry Problems
and Permanent Residence Abandonment
As a lawful permanent resident of the United States, your obligations for maintaining your immigration status in the United States are fairly simple. You need to notify USCIS within 10 days of moving by using Form AR-11 and renew your green card every 10 years with Form I-90. International green card travel can introduce some new hazards.
Permanent residents are free to travel outside the United States, and temporary travel generally does not affect your permanent resident status. As the term “resident” suggests, your status comes with the expectation that you will live (make your home) in the U.S. If you spend too much time abroad, you could lose your right to a green card.
Here are five tips to understand before traveling abroad: Continue reading