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re-applying for green card after losing permanent resident status Permanent Residency

Discussion in 'Green Card, Residency, Naturalization' started by visaQ, Jul 4, 2005.

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  1. visaQ

    visaQ Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'd be very grateful for your help to understand what I should do...

    I am a British citizen, and have a US permanent-resident card. It's a conditional card, because I applied for it before I'd been married for 2 years. I was eligible for the card under the 'immediate relative' category - my wife is a US citizen.

    However, since first applying for the card, we've had to delay our plans to move to live in the USA - we are still living in the UK, whilst my wife completes her university studies here.

    I obtained the card in September 2002, but have not actually "lived" in the USA since then, as my wife is still studying oustide of the USA. Since then, I have a few times been asked to come to 'secondary inspection' at the airport upon arrival in the USA, to explain why I had been out of the USA so long. As our intention was to return to the USA upon the completion of her studies, I did not originally envisage that living in the UK for a few years would cause a serious problem, although I do realise that there is a limit to how long one can stay overseas whilst maintaining permanent-resident status.

    In the summer of 2004, which was before the 2-year deadline for filing it, I filed form I-751 to remove the conditions on my green card. I sent several items of supporting documentation, including our son's birth certificate, joint apartment rental tenancy contracts, joint credit card information, life insurance policy with my wife as the potential recipient etc.

    However, I did not hear back about this, and it turned out that my application had been placed on "overseas hold", as I was not living in the USA. I received a letter stating that if I do not come back to live in the USA by Sept. 30th 2005, they cannot process my I-751 application and it will be denied, and therefore I will lose the green card.

    I was told on the phone by a USCIS representative, that I could fax the service center and ask them to remove the overseas hold from my application, even though I'm not yet living there, since in principle we can fly over to come for interview if necessary.

    Shortly after filing the I-751, I filed an I-131 to obtain a re-entry permit, which I asked to be valid for 2 years, by which time I expected my wife would finish her studies outside of the USA and we would return to the USA.

    However, I was surprised to see that the re-entry permit I received was only valid for a few months instead of 2 years (only till Sept 2005, probably because that is the date on which my I-751 application will expire if nothing is done to remove the overseas hold).

    My situation at present is that I am not sure how long it will be before we move back to the USA (it may take somewhat more than 2 years for my wife to finish her studies), and I'm thinking that perhaps the best option available is simply to let my permanent-resident status lapse (by leaving it with the "overseas hold" on my I-751 application), since otherwise I may lose it anyway the next time I arrive in the USA, as I will have been living outside of the USA for so long.

    I will then lose my permanent-resident status, of course, but I hope I can then re-apply for a new green card in future. This will involve certain application costs and paperwork as before, but I assume I will still be eligible for it as I was originally?

    However, I have a few important questions about this course of action:

    (i) does the fact that my I-751 will be denied (due simply to its being on 'overseas hold'), make it any more difficult to obtain a new green card in the future? If so, should I request that the overseas hold is removed? Is there a good chance that I won't even be called for interview, i.e. that they will approve my I-751 on the basis of my documentation? I have nothing to fear from an interview, as my marriage had absolutely nothing to do with any eventual green card, but it's just that it is very expensive to fly to the USA at present, and it is not a convenient time for me to go there, work-wise.

    But what I want to avoid, is any problems in future in applying for a new green card, if I lose my first green card in this way. (In other words, can the fact that one has lost a green card due to an I-751 being denied -- even though it's denied simply due to overseas hold -- cause any problems, and if so what should I do to avoid these?)

    If I ask them to remove the overseas hold, when are we likely to have an interview? Could we ask it to be delayed until December/January time, when we are likely to be in the USA on holiday?

    (ii) Once I am no longer a permanent resident, what will I need to do in order to go on holiday to the USA? Am I correct that I will need to apply for a visa, even though I have a UK passport (which normally allows one to enter by the visa-waiver program). Which visa do I need to apply for?

    Thank you very much for your help and advice.
    Lover2008 likes this.

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