Successfully reentered USA after being out for 2+ years


Registered Users (C)
An acquaintance who has been a green card holder for several years told me, he reentered USA after spending over 2 years outside.

He consulted friends of mine and me and we told him that GC is generally invalid if you spend 1+ years outside without reentry permit or 2 years without SB-1. Knowing that, he went to US consulate where he was rejected for SB-1. Nevertheless, he decided to take a flight into USA trying to re-enter.

And you know the result. He is back in the USA boasting about his experience telling us we were scaring him and giving him bad advice. What do you think? Is he now in clear? I guess they can always go back and inquiry about past trips like that?


Super Moderator
He is most definitely not in the clear IMO, especially if he attempts to naturalize 5 years down the road. His entire immigration history will be reviewed at that point.


Well-Known Member
If he decides to apply for naturalization, they will re-examine his past history. They may find in retrospect that he abandoned residence even though CBP allowed him back in. The fact that he was denied a SB1 in my opinion makes that possibility a more likely outcome than it otherwise might be.

We do hear stories like this from time to time, of course, he is in the minority and most in this situation are in fact denied entry.


Registered Users (C)
I had seen an AmA from a CBP officer on Reddit a while back and he mentioned that the CBP ports usually do not like to initiate removal proceedings based on residency abandonment due to the extensive amount of paperwork involved. Another thing is that the DHS Chief counsel's office do not like to pursue these cases anyway since they are lower priority and the burden of proof is on the government. So they usually just let people in. Remember, unlike what many people think, CBP has absolutely no power to revoke any one's green card (unless someone volutarily signs I-407). Only an IJ can do that. CBP does all the paperwork, asks questions, takes sworn statement etc and forwards it to DHS for prosecution.

However, when applying for citizenship, as everyone rightly pointed out, this may come up. But since he/she was out for over 2 years, they will have to apply for naturalization 4 years 9 months after the last entry, so they can prove that they have established residency 5 years prior to naturalization as required by INA 316. Obviously, its prudent to take legal advice beforehand.