Could really use advise/insight

Blue92

New Member
Hello all! First time poster.

A friend of mine was born in Scandinavia, but his family moved to the US when he was about 7 years old. He's in his mid-20's now. From 2001 until October 2014, he lived in the US. His family moved to the US because his father got a job there so the whole family was there on a visa. In 2008, they got their GC.
In October 2014, he returned to Scandinavia for medical reasons (free healthcare). Not knowing how long he would be gone, and also because he didn't know about it, he didn't apply for a re-entry permit. It's now been a little over two years and he is more than ready to come home.

What he needs advice on is the following:

Last May, he went to the US to visit his family, friends, and fiancée. He applied for an ESTA because the ticket cost him a lot of money and he didn't want to risk being turned away at PoE. He spent three months in the US and came back to Scandinavia. What he would like to know is, if in getting an ESTA when he visited last summer, he screwed any chance of using his GC to get back in this time.

He's aware that at this point, it's considered abandonment, so that point need not be made. However, he's also read mixed reviews on this forum. He's read about people who were questioned at PoE and given a warning, some who were simply let through, and others who were asked to sign a form (I-407 ?) in order to relinquish their GC. Not signing that form will get you a summons in front of an immigration judge who will then determine one's fate.

My friend thinks he could make a good case to a judge, should he end up in front of one, that his extended stay was medical in nature and that he therefore had no way of knowing how long it would take. That and the fact that he has spent the majority of his life in the US (13 years), has family there, friends, and a fiancée.

So my question is, does my friend have any chance at all at coming home?

Additional information: His passport expired while getting treatment, so he had to get a new one in order to visit his fiancée, family, friends last summer. The new passport has a Scandinavian address in it and a stamp with a "date in/date must be out by" from his last visit back home. Would getting a new passport reduce the amount of questions at PoE and increase likelihood of a warning, or would that just exacerbate things?

Also, while visiting last summer, he worked for a family friend in order to have some spending cash while visiting. This family friend is very above the table about everything and required SSN in order to gain employment. Because his family had moved to a new address five minutes down the road from their previous one while he was getting treatment, and not being able to find his SS card in any moving boxes, he decided to apply for a new one. He went to a government office, filled out all the paper work, used his GC as a form of ID, and wrote down his old SSN which he had committed to memory on the form. A few weeks later, a new SS card came in the mail with the same SSN on it. Does that bode well or is that inconsequential?

Thank you for any help.
 

Pierre82

Well-Known Member
Hey Pierre! Thanks for the kind welcome and response.

His green card is still valid until November 2018.

I notice that he entered the U.S. with an ESTA and this causes a lot of troubles in terms of his green card. I would recommend he starts the process to get a new green card and keep in mind that this will take several years. Your friend can also get in touch with an immigration lawyer in the US for further advise, but I think that by entering to the U.S. with an ESTA, he is basically saying, that he is no longer a U.S. residence.

Best of luck to your friend.
 
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Blue92

New Member
I notice that he entered the U.S. with an ESTA and this causes a lot of troubles in terms of his green card. I would recommend he starts the process to get a new green card and keep in mind that this will take several years. Your friend can also get in touch with an immigration lawyer in the US for further advise, but I think that by entering to the U.S. with an ESTA, he is basically saying, that he is no longer a U.S. residence.

Best of luck to your friend.

What would happen if he tried to enter using his GC and claimed ignorance to the consequences of using an ESTA? Would they consider that? Or would they simply turn him away and send him back to Scandinavia on the spot? At this point, he is hoping to end up in front of an immigration judge as he is confident he could make a good case that he has in fact not abandoned his home there.
 

Blue92

New Member
It was really out of ignorance that he used an ESTA the last time he visited. That and he had misplaced his GC and figured that applying for an ESTA would be safer than hoping that his GC would turn up before his trip.
 

Sm1smom

Super Moderator
What would happen if he tried to enter using his GC and claimed ignorance to the consequences of using an ESTA?

It was really out of ignorance that he used an ESTA the last time he visited. That and he had misplaced his GC and figured that applying for an ESTA would be safer than hoping that his GC would turn up before his trip.

Ignorantia juris non excusat - ignorant of the law excuses not. Look that up.

You effectively sealed your fate as having abandoned your GC by using the visa waiver to enter the US.
 

Blue92

New Member
Ignorantia juris non excusat - ignorant of the law excuses not. Look that up.

You effectively sealed your fate as having abandoned your GC by using the visa waiver to enter the US.

What would be the outcome of using it though? Would that land you in front of an immigration judge or would they send you back right away?
 

Pierre82

Well-Known Member
What would be the outcome of using it though? Would that land you in front of an immigration judge or would they send you back right away?

Best advice is to simply start a new green card request via his parents or wife (in case she is a U.S. Citizen or Resident) and wait for a couple of years. There is not point to go this route because of the previous ESTA, since this confirms abandonment of his U.S. Residence status. This is just my personal advise and at the end your friend decides on what he will do.
 

newacct

Well-Known Member
What would be the outcome of using it though? Would that land you in front of an immigration judge or would they send you back right away?
An immigration officer has no power to revoke his green card. Only he can voluntarily give it up or an immigration judge can take it away from him. If he manages to arrive at a US port of entry, and the officer determines he shouldn't be admitted, they will ask him to voluntarily sign I-407 to give up his green card. If he refuses, they will let him in on parole and give him a notice to appear in immigration court for removal proceedings. There, he can try to convince the immigration judge that he didn't abandon residence.
 

Pierre82

Well-Known Member
An immigration officer has no power to revoke his green card. Only he can voluntarily give it up or an immigration judge can take it away from him. If he manages to arrive at a US port of entry, and the officer determines he shouldn't be admitted, they will ask him to voluntarily sign I-407 to give up his green card. If he refuses, they will let him in on parole and give him a notice to appear in immigration court for removal proceedings. There, he can try to convince the immigration judge that he didn't abandon residence.

Hi @newacct

This will also apply even if he entered with an ESTA? I guess they only check if the green card is still valid and not expired? Just wanted to know for knowledge purposes
 

Blue92

New Member
An immigration officer has no power to revoke his green card. Only he can voluntarily give it up or an immigration judge can take it away from him. If he manages to arrive at a US port of entry, and the officer determines he shouldn't be admitted, they will ask him to voluntarily sign I-407 to give up his green card. If he refuses, they will let him in on parole and give him a notice to appear in immigration court for removal proceedings. There, he can try to convince the immigration judge that he didn't abandon residence.

Thanks for the reply! That's what I had gathered, but I'll pass the information on. Same follow up question as Pierre. Does that apply even if he entered the country with an ESTA?
 

Blue92

New Member
Another question. My friend has been considering taking a flight to Montreal and meeting up with a mutual friend who was born there but now lives in the US with a GC. He's been flirting with the idea of meeting up with his friend in Montreal, spending a few days there together and then driving back across the border with his friend. His logic is that the customs agents on the Canadian border are probably more relaxed than the airport customs agents who see thousands of people a day and are more rigid in their work. I've told him that this seems like a more "under the table" kind of approach, and that he probably shouldn't go with that option. I said I would ask on here if anyone has experience with the agents on the Canadian border and if this would be a more "hassle free" way to go about it.

Thoughts?
 

Pierre82

Well-Known Member
Another question. My friend has been considering taking a flight to Montreal and meeting up with a mutual friend who was born there but now lives in the US with a GC. He's been flirting with the idea of meeting up with his friend in Montreal, spending a few days there together and then driving back across the border with his friend. His logic is that the customs agents on the Canadian border are probably more relaxed than the airport customs agents who see thousands of people a day and are more rigid in their work. I've told him that this seems like a more "under the table" kind of approach, and that he probably shouldn't go with that option. I said I would ask on here if anyone has experience with the agents on the Canadian border and if this would be a more "hassle free" way to go about it.

Thoughts?

I don't think they are more relaxed compared to airport but again all of this process is a risk your friend needs to be aware of the risks and make sure he gets a good lawyer that can assist him.
 

Blue92

New Member
I don't think they are more relaxed compared to airport but again all of this process is a risk your friend needs to be aware of the risks and make sure he gets a good lawyer that can assist him.

What are the risks exactly? I've been doing research to try and help him out with this, and short of an immigration judge straight up turning him away, I haven't been able to find anything risk wise :/
Isn't it as simple as taking a flight to the US, hoping for the best at customs, and worst case scenario, pleading his case in front of an immigration judge? He has never had a criminal record, has family, friends, and a fiancée who can be character witnesses, and he's spent the vast majority of his life in the US. I've talked him out of doing anything fishy like his Canada plan. He's meeting with his father and sister in France for a 1 week family celebration and then plans to return home to the US with them.
 
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