Living with the GC outside of the US

#1
Hello, to every one!
My mom is a GC holder for a year. This is the second time she arrived to the US this year. First time she stayed here for 5 weeks and now, 6 months after, she will stay for 3 weeks. For some reason she was called in the airport to a separate room and the officer told her that her GC will be taken away if she doesn't live in the US. As for now the situation is too complicated and she must stay in her mother country visiting here once in half a year for 3-5 weeks. For a few years, I guess. Is her GC can be taken away? What legal document can be shown in the border if the situation with calling to this room will happen in the future? Thank you!
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#2
Yes, they can take her green card away if she is deemed to abandon residence (they may ask her to sign a form giving it up, or she can demand to go before an immigration judge, but from what you have said she will have no basis for a successful argument). A green card is for residing in the US and she is clearly not. She can either relinquish her green card now and get a new one when she is ready to move, or she can file a re-entry permit (valid for 2 years at a time, but she needs to be in the US for filing and biometrics, probably requiring 4-6 weeks). A re-entry permit might help her avoid secondary screening, but it is not a guarantee.

Please see these links for some more detail:
https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/international-travel-a-permanent-resident
Specifically:
Permanent residents are free to travel outside the United States, and temporary or brief travel usually does not affect your permanent resident status. If it is determined, however, that you did not intend to make the United States your permanent home, you will be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status. A general guide used is whether you have been absent from the United States for more than a year. Abandonment may be found to occur in trips of less than a year where it is believed you did not intend to make the United States your permanent residence. While brief trips abroad generally are not problematic, the officer may consider criteria such as whether your intention was to visit abroad only temporarily, whether you maintained U.S. family and community ties, maintained U.S employment, filed U.S. income taxes as a resident, or otherwise established your intention to return to the United States as your permanent home. Other factors that may be considered include whether you maintained a U.S. mailing address, kept U.S. bank accounts and a valid U.S. driver’s license, own property or run a business in the United States, or any other evidence that supports the temporary nature of your absence.

And
https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/maintaining-permanent-residence

And (re-entry permit details)
https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/B5en.pdf
 
#4
Thank you for the reply! I know a lot of people (at least 10-12) that do the same for many years (come to the US for a week every half year) but have never stopped at the border - especially not in their first year having the Green Card. People need to finish their business in their mother land, to sell the property, to finish medical issues... Why did they stop her? Does it mean that she is flagged in the computer already?
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#5
Thank you for the reply! I know a lot of people (at least 10-12) that do the same for many years (come to the US for a week every half year) but have never stopped at the border - especially not in their first year having the Green Card. People need to finish their business in their mother land, to sell the property, to finish medical issues... Why did they stop her? Does it mean that she is flagged in the computer already?
Actually, many people do get stopped. I got warned on my first trip back (also on a return ticket, 5 months after first entry) as I was also in the process of winding up, and warned about the residency requirements. Seen a lot of other posts of it too. Some people even get it noted in their passports that they have advised residency requirements. The people you know are lucky, if you read the official information I posted it is clear that a green card is not some kind of supervisa. If people need to finish their business, they should generally be able to do it in a year. If not, as already said, get a re-entry permit or wait till they are ready to move over before getting a green catd. Your mother does not, in law, have any basis to argue that she should be allowed to touch down once every six months while living elsewhere and be able to maintain her green card.
 
#6
Thank you very much! But it doesn't mean, I hope, she got flagged in the computer?
Probably on the next trip we will do the re-entry permit.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#7
I’m sure there is a notation in the system that they have spoken to her in secondary about this. I don’t know if that counts as a flag.
 

Sm1smom

Super Moderator
#8
Thank you very much! But it doesn't mean, I hope, she got flagged in the computer?
Probably on the next trip we will do the re-entry permit.
She most likely got flagged in the system - a record of the secondary inspection gets created, this will include the reason for the secondary inspection.

The GC is meant for residing in the US, not a super visa for visiting for a couple of weeks. The 10-12 people you know practicing such have simply been lucky to not get flagged to date, that doesn’t mean it is an acceptable practice.

People who need to 3 to 5 years or a couple of years to wind up their affairs in their home country before permanently migrating to the US shouldn’t apply for a GC until they’re ready to do so. With the exception of maybe someone who is rounding up schooling. Even someone in schooling prior to getting their GC may actually be better off transferring and completing their studies in the US in the long run.
 

cafeconleche

Registered Users (C)
#9
People seem to get stopped and warned, but you're right that you have a case when you're a new permanent resident. So, if the officer decides to refer someone to an immigration judge, genuine reasons for frequent travel would work in one's favour.

Anyway, the key is to have and collect evidence of ties to the US, and the reasons for long and frequent trips abroad. When in doubt, a re-entry permit is very helpful.
 
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