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Thread: Preserving Residency

  1. #1
    I received my green card in 1996 and lived and worked continuously in the US until 2004. Since then I have maintained a residence in the US, filed taxes, maintained a car, bank accounts etc. but not worked. Because of family-related responsibilities in Canada (not married) and an investment company I own in Mexico, I travel regularly between Mexico and Canada via the US. Consequently, while I have never been out of the US for more than a few weeks or months at a time, I am not in the US for more than a few weeks or days either. My intention is to naturalize and live in the US. Occasionally (three times to date) I've been interviewed in secondary at the border. The last time, the officer told me to spend more time in the US, to document my situation and to file for a re-entry permit.

    Per the re-entry permit, the form asks: "During the past five years, how much total time have you spent outside of the US?" What are the implications if the answer is 'more than four years' ?

    Also, I read a post somewhere that indicated that having PR status for more than 12 years presents other options if I wanted to naturalize now.

    Further, form N-470 to preserve residence for immigration purposes, indicates I might qualify as the manager of my foreign corporation:

    "Check Box E if you are employed by a qualifying organization. Necessary for the protection of property rights outside the United States of an American firm or corporation engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the United States."

    Do I need to incorporate a US company to 'own' the Mexican corporation if I want to try an qualify for this?

    I understand immigration law is complex and I should hire an immigration attorney which I intend to do. In the meantime, I need to travel and would like to have a better understanding of the 'basics' if there are any.

    Any, all guidance appreciated!

  2. #2
    I received my green card in 1996 and lived and worked continuously in the US until 2004. Since then I have maintained a residence in the US, filed taxes, maintained a car, bank accounts etc. but not worked. Because of family-related responsibilities in Canada (not married) and an investment company I own in Mexico, I travel regularly between Mexico and Canada via the US. Consequently, while I have never been out of the US for more than a few weeks or months at a time, I am not in the US for more than a few weeks or days either. My intention is to naturalize and live in the US. Occasionally (three times to date) I've been interviewed in secondary at the border. The last time, the officer told me to spend more time in the US, to document my situation and to file for a re-entry permit.

    Per the re-entry permit, the form asks: "During the past five years, how much total time have you spent outside of the US?" What are the implications if the answer is 'more than four years' ?

    Also, I read a post somewhere that indicated that having PR status for more than 12 years presents other options if I wanted to naturalize now.

    Further, form N-470 to preserve residence for immigration purposes, indicates I might qualify as the manager of my foreign corporation:

    "Check Box E if you are employed by a qualifying organization. Necessary for the protection of property rights outside the United States of an American firm or corporation engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the United States."

    Do I need to incorporate a US company to 'own' the Mexican corporation if I want to try an qualify for this?

    I understand immigration law is complex and I should hire an immigration attorney which I intend to do. In the meantime, I need to travel and would like to have a better understanding of the 'basics' if there are any.

    Any, all guidance appreciated!

  3. #3
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">while I have never been out of the US for more than a few weeks or months at a time, I am not in the US for more than a few weeks or days either. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Hi and welcome. I'm not sure I understand your statement above. Where do you spend most of your time?

    Anyway, the rules for naturalization are you cannot reside outside of the US for more than 6 months at a time. If you can meet these requirements and are able to naturalize, it won't matter how much time you spend outside the US.

    It would be best to discuss this with an attorney, as you said. Good luck.

  4. #4
    You have to spend at least 30 months continuously (2.5yrs) inside the US out of the 60 months (5yr) qualifying period. If you don't the Natz clock resets until you meet the conditions.

    I'm not sure about the US corporation entity operating outside the US. You might want to check that with a immigration lawyer.
    "What you see in the photograph isn't what you saw at the time. The real skill of photography is organized visual lying."

  5. #5
    Thanks for the welcome ProudUSC.

    So, my $64,000 question is: if I apply for a re-entry permit and I check the box that says 'during the past five years I've spent more than 4 years total time outside of the US' can I expect to receive approval? (providing taxes OK etc.)

    And, what's good resource for help finding an immigration attorney? I prefer the online/paypal approach.

  6. #6
    Try here for a lawyer search.
    "What you see in the photograph isn't what you saw at the time. The real skill of photography is organized visual lying."

  7. #7
    If you cannot answer that your unrelinquished residence is in the U.S. then you are in violation of your status as an LPR. Next time you travel you will be placed in removal proceedings or given the opportunity to relinquish your green card.

  8. #8
    I can honestly state that my residence is in the US. I pay rent, have bank accounts, a car, file returns, the whole bit. Because of circumstances beyond my control I must travel as described. According to the website floridadabar.org, I should ensure the following:

    &gt;&gt;
    Preserving LPR Status

    Your continued intention to remain a lawful permanent resident is central to preserving your LPR status; however, a mere statement to this effect is not alone sufficient. You should:
    always file U.S. tax returns as a resident;
    always obtain a reentry permit if you will be abroad for more than a brief trip;
    always make entries to the United States as a lawful permanent resident;
    maintain your United States bank accounts, credit cards and driver's license;
    and maintain memberships in professional and/or social organizations.

    Remember that CIS also considers the following in determining if you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status:

    place of your actual home;
    place of your employment;
    location of your close family members;
    your spouse and children's immigration status;
    and ownership of property.
    &gt;&gt;

    So, step one in my mind is filing for an 1-131. And checking off as much of this list as possible and hoping I don't get a nasty INS inspector.

    OR, am I so far gone and my circumstances so beyond my control (so as to be indefinite) that the best course is to abandon my green card now and apply again later. If so, what are the implications of this? (I have the card through my naturalized father. What if he dies?)

    My main questions at this point:

    Per I-131 application: I will need to check the box indicating "more than 4 years out of 5 out of the US" - what are the implications of this?

    If I own a US corp that holds the Mexican corp will that [help] satisfy the 'works in US' criterion for assessing intent?

  9. #9
    File form N-400 as soon as possible instead of I-131. You own a company, you're not an employee, so for sure you can tweak your schedule to stay on US soil for some time. You may be traveling often now but you've already satisfied your residency requirement since you stayed put from 1996 to 2004, as you said. Your current burden is just listing down your numerous exits and reentries. That's quite laborious but poses no problem at all as long as you can recall them.

    An unfortunate though inevitable death of your original petitioner (father) has no material bearing on your LPR status as of now. It would only have, in a case where such status has been obtained through fraud. You don't seem to be under such rare category, so in my opinion you're cool to go.

  10. #10
    I'm all over the N-400 idea and that's the advice my naturalized friends tell me but I obviously don't want to make a false statement on the form and since 2004 it's been ugly in the time-in-the-us category.

    I've received opinions from two immigration attorneys operating out of justanswer.com (OK service FWIW) and they both said I'm no longer legal, I have a 50/50 chance of getting an I-131 and that's no guarantee against an INS agent looking back and taking my card anyway.

    I'm calling an Immigration Attorney ASAP but I read posts suggesting that is a real hit or miss proposition unless one can properly vet their expertise.

    I guess I could apply for my N-400, state the in/outs and hope for the best. If I'm denied. I'm denied.

    Would like to know the downsides of abandoning
    my green card ie. does it adversely affect me getting another one down the road?

    Thanks 'Rough Neighbor' for your encouraging post!

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