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Some Dos and Don’ts for Permanent Residents

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
February 2014
Some Dos and Don’ts for Permanent Residents

Q: I have recently become a Permanent Resident (green card holder). How long can I travel out of the U.S., while maintaining my status?
A:
You can travel for up to one year at a time without losing your permanent residence. If you stay out for over one year, your green card becomes technically invalid. Also, if you stay out of the U.S. for extended periods of time, you may be questioned upon reentry to show proof that you are maintaining residence in the U.S. and not in another country. If you are not concerned with timing in regards to filing for your naturalization, then you may also apply for a reentry permit, which allows you to travel for up to two years at a time. There are limitations, however, and you should consult with an immigration attorney before traveling for any long periods of time.

Q: What is a reentry permit and when would I need to apply for one?
A:
A reentry permit establishes that you did not intend to abandon status, and it allows you to apply for admission to the United States after traveling abroad for up to two years without having to obtain a returning resident visa. Reentry permits are normally valid for two years from the date of issuance.

They are not renewable, but you can return to the U.S. and get new ones issued. You must be present in the U.S. when you apply and must complete biometrics here. After biometrics, you can leave the country before it is approved.

You may also want to get a reentry permit if you plan on traveling outside the United States and cannot or do not wish to get a passport from your home country. Many countries throughout the world may allow you to use a reentry permit much like you would use a passport—placing necessary visas and entry and exit stamps in the permit—so you may use it as your main travel document. Be sure to check with any country you plan to visit about specific requirements before you travel.

Q: I have just married abroad and want to sponsor my spouse, but I am a green card holder and not a citizen. Will it take from two to four years?
A:
In the past, this category (F2A- spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents) used to have a backlogged visa priority date, resulting in three to four years of waiting for most people. Fortunately, the Department of State realized the absurdity of this waiting period and allocated more visa numbers to this category, which is now almost current. What this means is that you are in almost the same position as a U.S. citizen. You can apply now for the I-130 relative petition, which is currently taking about eight months, and after approval, the case will be shifted to the National Visa Center, which will take approximately another four to five months, before scheduling the final interview abroad.

Q: As a Permanent Resident, can I apply for a fiancée visa? How about an immigrant visa for my parents or siblings?
A:
No. Only U.S. citizens can apply for a fiancée visa, or an immigrant visa for parents or siblings. A green card holder may only apply for a spouse and unmarried children.

VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR February 2014

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

01Jan07

01Jan07

2A

08Sep13

08Sep13

2B

08Jul06

08Jul08

3rd

15May03

15May03

4th

22Oct01

22Oct01

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

15Nov04

Current

3rd

01Sep03

01Jun12

Other

01Sep03

01Jun12

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B



 

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