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Thread: Green card but living abroad with the military

  1. #1
    Hello, I'm a French citizen who's been married to a US servicemember since 2004. I have a green card. We own a house in the US that we are currently renting, because the US Navy sent my husband to a base overseas for 3 years.
    I sent everything to request my re-entry approval document before leaving in March 2007. I just got a paper in the mail today that states that they need more evidence, and gave me a deadline of May 23, 2007. Obviously the deadline is way past, but I just got the letter today (even though it was postmarked Feb 28). I do not know what to do - I'm assuming my case is denied since I wasn't able to produce the evidence requested on time, the money I sent them is lost, and I can't reapply since I live overseas. Does anyone know of any special circumstances for people married to someone in the military? Obviously the reason I had to leave the US (only temporarily, since we plan on returning to our house in 3 years) was outside of my control and dictated by the military...
    If my case is denied and I can't reapply, I suppose my only option at this point is to make sure I pay for a ticket to go back to the US before March 2008 for a visit... expensive, but if that's my only option I will do that.
    Does anyone know what qualifies as "US" for the purpose of that one-year period? ie, if I go to a US territory (US Virgin Islands, Guam, etc) within a year, would that be ok or do I need to go to an actual US state?
    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Hello, I'm a French citizen who's been married to a US servicemember since 2004. I have a green card. We own a house in the US that we are currently renting, because the US Navy sent my husband to a base overseas for 3 years.
    I sent everything to request my re-entry approval document before leaving in March 2007. I just got a paper in the mail today that states that they need more evidence, and gave me a deadline of May 23, 2007. Obviously the deadline is way past, but I just got the letter today (even though it was postmarked Feb 28). I do not know what to do - I'm assuming my case is denied since I wasn't able to produce the evidence requested on time, the money I sent them is lost, and I can't reapply since I live overseas. Does anyone know of any special circumstances for people married to someone in the military? Obviously the reason I had to leave the US (only temporarily, since we plan on returning to our house in 3 years) was outside of my control and dictated by the military...
    If my case is denied and I can't reapply, I suppose my only option at this point is to make sure I pay for a ticket to go back to the US before March 2008 for a visit... expensive, but if that's my only option I will do that.
    Does anyone know what qualifies as "US" for the purpose of that one-year period? ie, if I go to a US territory (US Virgin Islands, Guam, etc) within a year, would that be ok or do I need to go to an actual US state?
    Thanks for your help!

  3. #3
    I would do three things (if I were you):

    1) respond to the request for additional evidence, though late, supplementing my response with the bonafides of my spouse's deployment and with a statement about the real and actual circumstances surrounding my belated communication;

    2) instead of the territories, I would enter into Hawaii, if need be; and

    3) take care of my mail forwarding mechanism so that the same problem doesn't happen again in the future.

    What money you said was lost?

  4. #4
    Thank you! I will do that. I can easily send documentation on his deployment and orders that show that we are stationed abroad with the military.
    The money I was referring to is just the fee that I paid when I sent the paperwork to USCIS. I'm assuming if they deny my case, they will keep the money, correct?
    Thank you very much for the insights!

  5. #5
    Oh, you mean your Form I-131 filing fee. Hahaha, it's gone and it's gone for good. Once your application/petition has been accepted/receipted by the USCIS, and whether it's a positive or a negative OUTCOME afterwards, your fees become the government's positive INCOME!

  6. #6
    1)Fees paid to USCIS are not refundable.

    2)I don't think you will have any difficulty straightening this issue out.

    As US Navy spouse, I beleive you are allowed to stay outside of US for longer periods of time and are not subject to "LPR abandonment" rules that generally apply to spouses of non-governmental employees.


    3)If there is a US Consulate nearby your current location, you could simply go there and ask for assistance/advise.


    Good luck

  7. #7
    Thank you!! I will call USCIS and explain my situation on Monday!

  8. #8
    You are welcome.

    If your case is not denied yet (with an access to internet you may check the current status of your case at USCIS website) then it makes sense to call USCIS and speak to an Officer at the Center where your application is processed (there are prompts that allow you to be transfered to an speak to an Officer).

  9. #9
    Well, I just got off the phone with USCIS and the answer was "no extension... the deadline's the deadline, misplaced mail or not - no exceptions!"
    I don't know that I can afford to go back to the US every 12 months. I probably will go back a few times while we're stationed overseas, but I don't know that it will be at least once every 12 months... tickets are expensive and my husband is on deployment more than half of the year, each year.
    I now need to look into whether being in Guam would count as me being in the US. I can definitely get there easily once every 12 months (possibly for free if I fly space-A with the military). The USCIS lady told me Guam would be fine, but USCIS representatives have given me erroneous information in the past (the first time I called about this issue, I was told that since I was traveling with my husband being stationed overseas, the reentry permit requirement didn't apply... I called again just to make sure and it turns out I did need it!) so I always have to double-check the info they give me!

  10. #10
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GreenCard77:
    Hello, I'm a French citizen who's been married to a US servicemember since 2004. I have a green card. We own a house in the US that we are currently renting, because the US Navy sent my husband to a base overseas for 3 years.
    I sent everything to request my re-entry approval document before leaving in March 2007. I just got a paper in the mail today that states that they need more evidence, and gave me a deadline of May 23, 2007. Obviously the deadline is way past, but I just got the letter today (even though it was postmarked Feb 28). I do not know what to do - I'm assuming my case is denied since I wasn't able to produce the evidence requested on time, the money I sent them is lost, and I can't reapply since I live overseas. Does anyone know of any special circumstances for people married to someone in the military? Obviously the reason I had to leave the US (only temporarily, since we plan on returning to our house in 3 years) was outside of my control and dictated by the military...
    If my case is denied and I can't reapply, I suppose my only option at this point is to make sure I pay for a ticket to go back to the US before March 2008 for a visit... expensive, but if that's my only option I will do that.
    Does anyone know what qualifies as "US" for the purpose of that one-year period? ie, if I go to a US territory (US Virgin Islands, Guam, etc) within a year, would that be ok or do I need to go to an actual US state?
    Thanks for your help! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Did the initial evidence include any information that your spouse is in the military with his/her current orders being stationed abroad? If the answer is no, then that is the evidence they are looking for. If the answer is yes, then they need info on why you are with your husband and not in the US working. If you married your husband while in your home country being stationed abroad, then the green card should noth have been issued in the first place. Consular office made the mistake and it won't be the first time.
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

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