GC holder has been out of US for 18 months. Apply for SB-1 visa or not?

#1
Hello,

I'm a GC holder and have been out of US for 18 months. Now I want to go back to US.

I wonder what my odds of being admitted by the Immigration Officer is if I simply fly back (without an SB-1 visa, which I heard is very difficult to obtain). I heard some GC holders got admitted after starying out of US for more than 1 year, but I understand it's becoming more strict nowadays.

Did anyone have similiar experence, or hear any recent case? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You!
 

ponyo_rocks

Registered Users (C)
#3
Do you qualify for SB-1 visa? I read that it is given for those who stay long for reasons beyond their control, such as medical. If you get denied then

I know some people who have been admitted after 1+ year stays outside the country, but I suppose it greatly depends on the IO and their day. If you really want to take your chances, there is no harm in trying (other than money & time). You may be admitted or you may be asked to sign the letter to give up your green card (or appear in front of Immigration Judge). I am not sure how you'll convince an IJ to admit you, but that scenario is best discussed with a lawyer, if it comes to that.

I returned after a stay abroad that was 1+ years (this was over 5 yrs ago), but no questions were asked at POE how long I was away. I voluntarily produced my re-entry permit and then the IO asked about my stay abroad and what I did there etc.
 
#4
Thanks for your replies.

What will happen if the IO asks me to sign the form to give up my green card at POE and I refuse to do so? Will I be admitted or not? thanks
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#5
Thanks for your replies.

What will happen if the IO asks me to sign the form to give up my green card at POE and I refuse to do so? Will I be admitted or not? thanks
You’ll be referred to an immigration judge. As far as I understand you may either be paroled in to do so or you may be kept in DHS custody until then, I don’t know what the IJ court backlogs are like now, if they are long I guess custody is less likely.


I returned after a stay abroad that was 1+ years (this was over 5 yrs ago), but no questions were asked at POE how long I was away. I voluntarily produced my re-entry permit and then the IO asked about my stay abroad and what I did there etc.
You had a re-entry permit that allows a 2-year stay outside, so not same situation as OP. They would have seen that in the system when you produced your green card.
 
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1AurCitizen

Registered Users (C)
#6
OP didn't respond to one earlier query about the reasons for being out for so long.

A green card holder is expected to live in the US and not overseas without a reentry permit. Before even getting to an IO, an individual has to get past the airline check-in agent and exit immigration who look out for extended overseas stays on green cards. There is a possibility of a denied a boarding pass to board a US bound flight. I recall a recent post about an individual being denied boarding and instead asked to contact the US embassy because of a period overseas extending past a year.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#7
OP didn't respond to one earlier query about the reasons for being out for so long.

A green card holder is expected to live in the US and not overseas without a reentry permit. Before even getting to an IO, an individual has to get past the airline check-in agent and exit immigration who look out for extended overseas stays on green cards. There is a possibility of a denied a boarding pass to board a US bound flight. I recall a recent post about an individual being denied boarding and instead asked to contact the US embassy because of a period overseas extending past a year.
This reminds me - when we returned recently from a trip abroad, the airline agent did ask how long we had been out of the US. I don’t recall having been asked this in the past. I wonder if US immigration has asked the airlines to tighten up on this?
 

1AurCitizen

Registered Users (C)
#8
We had something similar, the airline agents asked to see entry documents and entry dates into the country. No issues for us, but something new.

I too wonder if there's been a tightening; perhaps an informal advisory of sorts from CBP to airlines? I've seen scattered posts across various forums of extended overseas stays by LPRs being scrutinized because it's a loophole that continues to be exploited by some GC holders.
 
#9
Thank you for your replies!

The reason I've been staying outside of the US for so long this time is to take care of my aging parents and in-laws. My dad broke his right arm last year and then my father-in-law had a surgery earlier this year. The good news is both of them have recovered pretty well, and I'd like to go back to the US soon.

After some research, I plan to try the SB-1 route first. If that fails, I'll have to apply for a new Green Card. Does that make sense?

Also, I read somewhere that one cannot apply for a new Green Card until his/her prior LPR status has been terminated affirmatively either by filing the I-407 or through an administrative or judicial determination that one has abandoned his/her prior LPR startus. My question is - does the denial of SB-1 application constitutes an administrative or judicial determination of the abandonment of my prior LPR status by itself?

Thank you!
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#10
You’d be able to ask them that question in the SB1 interview, I’m guessing the answer would be yes.
How would you apply for a new green card, out of interest?
 

1AurCitizen

Registered Users (C)
#11
You could attempt to fly to the US by obtaining a boarding pass at the airport and applying for admission at POE. CBP could either let you in, or hold you in custody by referral to an IJ for revocation of the GC.

Or the airline may not issue a boarding pass, have you contact the US embassy for a travel document that costs money and takes time.

We simply don't have sufficient information to offer suggestions on how things would transpire. You have to have a sponsoring relative to be petitioned again for a green card if the current one is deemed invalid. Where was your spouse all this time? Is s/he a USC or LPR?

FYI, since you didn't have a broken arm, and you didn't have surgery, it's a stretch to imagine that circumstances for staying out of the US were out of your control.
 
#12
Thanks again for your replies.

I thought about directly flying to the US. Besides the risk of being unable to obtain the boarding pass, I'm more concerned about being put in the custody (instead of being paroled in). Does anyone by any chance know the likelihood of that happening?

Do you think SB-1 is worth a try? I agree it's a long shot because it's my dad and father-in-law who were injured/sick, not me. However, taking care of aging parents is the culture and legal obligation in my home country, which I hope the interviewer at the consulate is aware of. Both my wife and son are US citizens.
 

Sm1smom

Super Moderator
#14
Do you think SB-1 is worth a try? I agree it's a long shot because it's my dad and father-in-law who were injured/sick, not me. However, taking care of aging parents is the culture and legal obligation in my home country, which I hope the interviewer at the consulate is aware of. Both my wife and son are US citizens.
Taking care of aged parents is a “legal obligation” in your country? Meaning you can be sued for not performing this obligation? Curious to know which country has this legal obligation on their citizens, care to say which country this is?

Anyway, the legal obligations or cultural norms of your country have no bearings on the US immigration laws unfortunately. Even if the US embassy is aware of such obligations in your country, they cannot bend the US immigration laws regarding SB1 to meet with your definition of circumstances beyond your control.
 
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