Maintaining U.S. Permanent Residence
A U.S. permanent resident (green card holder) must by law comply with certain responsibilities including filing U.S. taxes, registering with the U.S. Selective Services (for males ages 18-26) updating his address with the government, and
not leaving the U.S. with the intention of living somewhere else permanently
I have a green card, but have been living outside of the U.S. for years. Can I use my green card to come back into the U.S.?
Reentering the U.S. after a long trip
There is not one magic list that exists where we can check whether a green card is valid. Instead, when you apply for a benefit, such as naturalization, or you attempt to enter the U.S. from abroad, the government may determine that you abandoned your permanent resident status and will initiate a process to relinquish your green card. United States CBP has the authority to decide at the border whether a person has abandoned their residency and may not allow that person to enter.
Q: I’m a Canadian citizen married to a US citizen and I’ve never applied for adjustment of status or green card. Can I bypass the green card and apply for citizenship since I’ve been married and living in the USA for 5 years?
A: No, based on what you’ve described, you are not eligible to apply for citizenship. I think you may be confusing several regulations and procedures. A permanent resident (green card holder) is eligible to apply for citizenship after holding permanent resident (green card) status for about 3 years if she or he is married to a US citizen. However, since you do not have a green card, you would not be eligible to apply for citizenship. You’d need the green card (permanent resident status) first.
Q: I am sponsoring my wife for a green card. She has 2 children from a previous marriage. Can we add her children to her green card application as derivatives or dependents?
A: Your wife’s children may be able to receive permanent resident status (green cards), but not as derivatives of your wife. Your wife is considered an Immediate Relative for immigration purposes, and so her children would need to qualify on their own for permanent residency. Generally this is done by the stepparent (you) sponsoring the stepchildren. Here’s how it works:
Q: I am a US Citizen, and my mom is a citizen of China. She is here on a B-2 visa for a visit and she’s considering extending her stay or applying for a green card. Which is a better choice?
A: Yes, either extending a B-2 visitor visa or applying for permanent residence (a green card) might be possible for your mom. I’ll list some guidelines below to help you start to think about this situation:
Extending a B-2 visa: B-2 tourist visitors may be granted extensions up to 6 months after their status expires. To request an extension, your mom needs to apply before her current visa expires. I recommend she applies after being in the US about 3 months. When she applies, she needs to provide a reason for her request, and provide evidence of the reason if possible. A common reason for extending a B-2 tourist visa is related to health issues. Sometimes a visitor needs to stay longer because of a doctor’s order, or in order to obtain medical treatment.
Q: My Green Card is expired. Have I lost my permanent residence status? What should I do?
A. Your status as a permanent resident does not change just because your card is expired. You remain a permanent resident unless your status is terminated by “final administrative order of exclusion, deportation, removal, or rescission (8 CFR § 1001.1(p)). Also, an expired permanent resident card only shows that a person’s card has expired. It does not show that the person’s work authorization has expired (8 CFR § 274a.12(a)(1)).
Q: My friend has been waiting a long time for her green card. Her brother filed for her a while ago, but he passed away. Can she still receive a green card?
A: The short answer is yes, it may be possible. It is an easier process if your friend lives in the US, but even if she does not live in the US, there is a chance she can get the green card. For the long answer, keep reading!
To begin, your friend’s brother is considered a petitioner since he filed an application for her, and your friend is a beneficiary of the application. Previously, the death of a petitioner meant that the beneficiary could no longer receive permanent residency (a green card) except in rare cases where DHS would agree to humanitarian reinstatement. This was referred to as the “widow’s penalty” as many surviving beneficiaries were widows after their petitioner-spouse passed away. Now there is relief available under INA section 204(l) in addition to humanitarian reinstatement. Below is a brief description of the two options.
Q: I am on an F-1 visa studying in the US. What options do I have to obtain a green card in the US?
A: This is a BIG question! Generally, green cards are obtained through employment opportunities, family relationships, or via asylum status. Here is a quick summary of the options:
A: Yes, if your husband is a permanent resident (LPR) he can likely submit a petition for you to obtain a green card. Spouses of LPR’s are not immediately eligible, and need to wait until their priority date is current. Right now, the wait is about 1.5 years. While a petition is pending, you could remain in the US only if you had another valid status. You may have trouble traveling in and out of the US while your petition for permanent residency is pending, but travel is possible. You’d have to show that you had intent to return to your country (by showing your job and property owned, etc).
Q: I live in the US and my new husband lives in Canada. I am a permanent resident and would like to sponsor my spouse for a green card. How long will the process take, and can he come live with me in the US and obtain a work permit while he waits for the approval?
A: Congratulations on your recent marriage. Yes, green card holders (also called permanent residents or LPR’s) can petition for their spouses, however, the priority dates are not current for spouses of LPR’s. The Visa Bulletin shows that the current wait is about 6 months for these spouses. That means you could submit a petition for your husband, and then he would wait about 6 months initially, and then another 6-9 months for general processing. Filing a marriage petition for your spouse would not in itself give him a status in the US. He could only enter and remain in the US if he has another separate valid visa status. Most likely, he would need to wait in Canada until the process is complete.
If you are eligible to naturalize, that could help speed up the process a bit. Spouses of a US Citizen do not have to wait, and are immediately eligible to apply (meaning they only wait the general 6-9 months.)