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 →
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 one year or more.
Your permanent resident status may be considered as abandoned for absences shorter than one 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 United 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 →
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.
Are you getting ready to prepare an immigration form for you or a relative? In most cases you can do it by yourself without the aid of an immigration lawyer. But an inaccurate or carelessly answered question can delay an application or result in a denial. Likewise, a poorly prepared application packet can cause unnecessary delays and trigger additional questions. In fact, simple mistakes when preparing USCIS immigration forms can potentially tarnish the person’s immigration record forever.
In the fiscal year 2014, nearly 8% of the 7.7 million applications filed at USCIS lockbox facilities were rejected. That’s well over 600,000 applications rejected! Here are some helpful tips for preparing USCIS immigration applications and petitions: Continue reading →
Many applicants want to travel abroad during this time to visit family or take a vacation. But there’s a problem – an adjustment of status applicant that leaves the U.S. without Advance Parole is automatically considered to have abandoned the application. In simple terms, this person will not be allowed the re-enter the United States and the I-485 application would be terminated. To return to the U.S., this person would need to restart the immigration process through consular processing in a foreign country. This is a long and expensive journey. 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 →
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients generally do not have a path to permanent resident status (green card). However, some DACA recipients can obtain a green card if they meet specific criteria. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center recently released an advisory that explains the technical requirements necessary to navigate this path to a DACA green card.
DACA is not a legal immigration status. It’s an exercise of discretion by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that grants temporary legal presence and employment authorization in the United States. Because many DACA recipients entered the country unlawfully, it can be very difficult to obtain legal status. The unlawful entry makes them ineligible for a DACA green card. Continue reading →
USCIS Will No Longer Approve Advance Parole for DACA
People that have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), may also have the opportunity to travel abroad. The travel purposes are limited in scope, and travel must be authorized before departure through what is known as Advance Parole for DACA.
Advance Parole makes it possible to travel outside the United States and return without losing DACA status. It’s not available to everyone and for all travel reasons. Therefore, it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria and how to prepare the application for Advance Parole correctly. Continue reading →