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Re-entry in the US

Discussion in 'Life After The Green Card' started by Autre Pensee, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member


    I obtained a green card through employment in 2009. I have since married a US Citizen and had a US born daughter.
    In 2014, and for family reasons, I left to return to my home country (part of the EU) without any idea of the duration of that stay. I did not have the time to get a reentry permit at the time. I have since returned to the US for several short stays and never had issues at immigration (longest exit time was 9 months). I exited the US the last time on March 1st 2016.

    I will be travelling back to the US on March 30th with my wife and daughter and am wondering how to handle my passage through immigration.

    My wife and I have retained familty ties in the US, have bank accounts in several financial institutions and are current on US taxes.

    I do not wish to relinquish permanent residency if at all possible as we are potentially moving back very soon.

    Here are my questions:
    - Is there a chance, based upon the facts layed out above, and with any physical proof I may bring with me, that I am allowed to enter with my green card?
    - What will happen if I am denied entry with my green card? Based on my findings, I would be asked by the immigration officer to sign a document stating that I relinquish voluntarily my permanent residency and if I refuse to sign said document, I will be allowed entry and be convocated to appear in front of an immigration judge to state my case.
    Is that true?
    - Do I risk being completely denied entry?
    Asking for an ESTA would be like admitting abandonment of PRS so I really do not know what is the best course of action.

    All of this seems rather silly given my strong family ties to the US....
  2. Pierre82

    Pierre82 Well-Known Member

    Hi Autre.

    I can only answer 2 of your questions

    -The first one it will all depend on the CBP Office, if they decide to let you in or not
    - I don't see any valid reason to ask for an ESTA. Others in the forum might be able to help on your second question.
  3. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member

    Thank-you Pierre.
    You mention you see no need to fill out esta prior to departure. What would happen if my green card is deemed invalid by the CBP officer? Would I still be granted entry under some other form of non immigrant Visa?
  4. Pierre82

    Pierre82 Well-Known Member

    Hi Autre Pensee,

    In the case the CPB denies entry, then you will be placed on removal proceedings and you will have to expose your situation to a immigration judge. He will decide at the end your future in terms of your green card.

    Let us know how it goes when you return to the U.S. and best of luck.
  5. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member

    Thank you again for your post. I read-up on removal proceedings trying to understand and select what applies to my case. It seems quite scary!
    Would I be given a notice to appear a few days or weeks after entry?
    My emergency trip right now is of a short duration. What happens if I have exited the US before the hearing?

    Also, does removal procedings (I have also seen it called Deferred inspection appointment?) affect my chances of getting green card again through marriage?

    I am quite intimidated by all these risks.
    I have read that following removal proceedings which appears equivalent to deportation, that i could be denied entry for up to 10 years??
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  6. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member

    From nolo:
    seems to indicate that i would be offered the chance to abandon the green card at the port of entry by signing I-407, in case the CBP officers deems the permanent resident status revoked. Is that the case? If yes, and if i sign the form, am I certain to be allowed entry on a non-immigrant basis? with just my valid french passport and no esta?

    Thank you again
  7. Pierre82

    Pierre82 Well-Known Member

    Hi Autre,

    Nolo is correct on the info provided and the I-407 should not be forced to be signed is done voluntarily. I don't think that they will let you in if you sign the I-407, since all nonimmigrants need to follow a process before entering the United States, in the case they do let you in, it will depend on the CBP officer. I will also copy a couple of experts in the topic that could provide further advise @Triple Citizen @cafeconleche Please provide us with further advise on this if possible.
  8. Britsimon

    Britsimon Super Moderator

    So you could have avoided this hassle by entering the USA a few weeks ago!

    With the greatest respect to those that try to help, you should take this more seriously than trying to figure it out for yourself, or asking some people on the internet.

    In your position, I would consult a USA based lawyer. It will cost you a few bucks but will be cheaper in the long run. Personally I would NOT think you want to sign the I-407, but it depends on your circumstances. If you don't sign that form, you can be "paroled" into the country on the condition that you appear in front of an immigration judge to argue that you have not abandoned your status. If you DO sign the form you are giving up your LPR status in order to be admitted in to the country as a tourist. You would then at some later date apply for LPR status again (since you are entitled and seem to want that), but that will probably cost a lot more money and time in the long run than defending your current status - and you might not be able to do that from inside the USA.

    The point is, get some expert help.
  9. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member

    Thank you for your answer.
    I'm trying to talk to an immigration lawyer but in the mean time I'm trying to get as much information as possible.
    Indeed I've been lucky so far. What's difficult is to gauge what to do now. If a CBP officer decides to stop green card entry and issue me an nta in front of a judge,I don't believe I would have any more chance convincing the judge of non abandonment, and being placed in removal proceedings seems way more detrimental than having to apply for the green card again at a later time IF we decide to move back.
    This is why right now I'm leaning towards one of the two solutions:
    - Trying to enter with GC. If the cbpo decides I abandoned lpr status and offers me the I407, I would then sign it. I would choose this solution only if I can be sure to be granted a tourist entry after signing 407. Someone earlier said they think this would not happen and I'd like to understand why.
    - requesting esta thus admitting abandonment before the trip and avoiding the risk albeit while having to go through the trouble time and money to apply again for GC should we immigrate back
  10. Britsimon

    Britsimon Super Moderator

    Oh my gosh - you are making bad decisions. Talk to a lawyer.
  11. Pierre82

    Pierre82 Well-Known Member

    Hi Autre Pense,

    I think you should follow up Britsimon advise and get in touch with a immigration lawyer based in the U.S. before you travel over there. There is no need to file for ESTA at this point to be honest. I'm sure a U.S. based immigration lawyer will provide better advise and steps to follow and recommend on the best solution to your situation.

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
  12. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member

    I'm still waiting on a call back from an immigration lawyer. In the mean time, can you please expand on your answer?
  13. Pierre82

    Pierre82 Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that currently you are a green card holder and you need to resolve your situation first before considering the ESTA. Try to see what recommendations the lawyer offers you and from there you move forward.
  14. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member

    Yes I know. I assumed that I would just fill out form 407 here at home, apply for ESTA and present both to the CBPO. It is too late to send form 407 to the embassy. This is an emergency trip...
  15. Pierre82

    Pierre82 Well-Known Member

    I don't have an answer for that and you will have to contact the U.S. Embassy in your country. Keep in mind that these are stuff that don't happen in 24 to 48 hours. It takes time and you need to take your time on this, instead of rushing a decision that you will regret in the future.
  16. Britsimon

    Britsimon Super Moderator

    I don't consider myself an expert on these matters by any means - so take this advice accordingly.

    I'm assuming that your intention is to return to the USA to settle. If that isn't correct then yes you could give up your LPR status. However, my comments below assume the idea is to retain LPR status and LIVE in the USA (since the GC is for that purpose, and not just a glorified visa).

    What you should have done is entered the USA a few weeks ago. You would have been under 12 months absence and therefore avoided the hassle.

    However, for someone who has been out of the USA for more than 1 year, the next "normal" step would be to apply at a local consulate for permission to re-enter the USA. There is a process involving completing a form, paying a fee and probably having an interview. In reality though it sounds like you have booked travel plans already in the next week or so. So - in that case you may as well do plan "B".

    Plan B means travelling to the USA and applying for readmission (i.e. go through immigration and be inspected).

    There is a chance that the CBP officer would simply admit you (with or without a lecture about following the rules). However, if they decide to not let you in without hassle they will do one of two things.

    1. They could "invite" you to complete form I-407 to abandon your LPR status. You are entitled to decline that "invitation". I suggest you would do that.
    2. The other option is to parole you in to the USA given you notice to appear before an immigration judge. The CBP officer cannot strip you of your LPR status, you are "entitled" to that hearing, so you will be paroled in if you decline to sign in the I-407.

    At the hearing you would be expected to show that you did not mean to give up your LPR status. Good evidence of that is things like having kept current on tax filing, maintained bank accounts, family connections, job connections, and of course having a home (either one you have kept or one you plan to live in upon your return). A one way ticket for the trip is also compelling. You will also be expected to explain why you did not return within the 12 months. Given that the absence is a few weeks over the 12 months, and that your spouse and child are citizens, I would think you have a strong chance of winning that case. A conversation with a Lawyer would confirm/deny that perspective.

    What would make this more difficult would be two things you have mentioned. Applying for an ESTA or completing the I-407 in advance would be detrimental to that position. You would actually be CREATING evidence that you considered yourself to have abandoned your LPR status.

    If things don't go your way, you would be found to have abandoned your LPR status at the hearing. You could, I believe, immediately file a new immigrant petition based on your marriage to a citizen. The judge would know that and would take the eventual success of your case into account. Again, this is something a lawyer would confirm or deny - and at least you would have a plan in mind.

    There are some members on this forum that would be able to give you better advice about this. I don't think Pierre or I are experienced enough to be advising you. Pierre, I apologize if you feel I underestimate your skills and you know better, but there are times when we are better off sticking to statements we know to be correct, rather than speculating based on some googling. If you are speculating, make your amateur status clear.

    However, as I think I have made clear, a consultation with a lawyer would be a worthwhile precaution.
  17. Pierre82

    Pierre82 Well-Known Member

    Hi Britsimon,

    No problem from my side and I totally understand your point and will follow your advise.

    Thanks again
  18. cafeconleche

    cafeconleche Registered Users (C)

    I don't think I've seen whether your trip at the end of the month is your FINAL trip to the US to start life here again. Is it? If it's just a visit, your case with the immigration judge would be severely weakened.

    As mentioned here, we are not legal experts generally. If I were in your shoes, I would relinquish my GC abroad and either apply for a B visa, or apply for an ESTA (if you qualify for one after abandoning LPR status - I don't know the rules in this case).
  19. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member

    Thank you for your answer. No it is not. We may possibly move back in the near future but for now we are travelling on an emergency trip to visit an ill family member. This is why I do not have time to relinquish my green card at the embassy. I would never get the stamped receipt back in time for my travel.
  20. Autre Pensee

    Autre Pensee New Member

    Hello and thank you for your response.
    I agree about the shoulds everybody has mentioned to me. But unfortunately life is not always that simple. We were planning on travelling back on several occasions but could not make it happen.
    As of now, as I mentioned, we've had a pretty rough time in France and we may have to move back (I understand this has no bearing in the decision of me keeping my green card). If I ever get through immigration, I may actually have a work interview. So loosing my green card would obviously make life much harder for me.
    However, this is not my main concern at the moment since, I can get it back through my wife, at a hefty but manageable cost (~1500$ from what I've seen).
    My main concern is entry in the US for this trip AND not imparing future potential green card applications.

    I thought after a year of no entry applying for ESTA would simply categorize me as a tourist and I would be granted entry as such under the visa waiver program. However everybody seems to tell me that it isnt the case. (on this forum and 2 of the 3 lawyers i have contacted). One lawyer even told me applying for ESTA is the worst thing I could do. I dont understand why.
    Also, If i attempt an entry via green card and the CBPO "refuses" entry I thought I would be granted entry as a tourist. Again, everybody seems to tell me that it isnt the case.

    What I cannot do is wait weeks or months in the US for an immigration judge appointment. I still have a job in France and need to be able to return with my family at the end of this emergency trip.

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