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Pending I 751 and stay out of USA. Help please !

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  • Pending I 751 and stay out of USA. Help please !

    Dear friends,

    I have a pending petition for removal of conditions I 751 at Nebraska Service Center. My extension letter expires on March 1st 2005. I am planning to stay out of USA for more than 6 months. Can I do that? If my extension letter expires, will I be able to enter USA? Can I extend my green card at US embassy in other country? Please help me to understand this; your responses will be appreciated.

  • #2
    Dear friends,

    I have a pending petition for removal of conditions I 751 at Nebraska Service Center. My extension letter expires on March 1st 2005. I am planning to stay out of USA for more than 6 months. Can I do that? If my extension letter expires, will I be able to enter USA? Can I extend my green card at US embassy in other country? Please help me to understand this; your responses will be appreciated.


    • #3

      There are two issues involved here:

      (Issue 1) Your extension letter may expire but your status does not. So, the only worry would be if the immigration officer at the POE is not familiar with the law. He will see that your card has expired and that your NOA has expired but he should also be able to pull up your file in MFAS and see that your I-751 status is still pending. If you are worried then I would attempt to get a stamp at a consulate (if you are already overseas) or at your local district office (before you embark on your 6-month trip).

      See the memo issued last December.

      Documenting a Conditional Resident's Status

      According to the regulations at 8 CFR 216.4(a)(1), "Upon receipt of a properly filed Form I-751, the alien's conditional permanent resident status shall be extended automatically, if necessary, until such time as the director has adjudicated the petition." Thus, any conditional resident who has filed a Form I-751 remains a conditional resident until a decision is made on his or her Form I-751. Such conditional resident is eligible to receive evidence of his or her conditional resident status.

      If a conditional resident whose I-551 has expired and whose I-797 has "expired" or is about to "expire" requests documentation of his or her status for travel or employment purposes, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) officer who is processing this request should first check MFAS. If the Form I-751 is still pending, the BCIS officer should collect the expired Form I-551 and issue either:

      "¢ A temporary I-551 stamp with a 12-month expiration date in the conditional resident's unexpired, foreign passport (if the expiration date of the passport is one year or more); or

      "¢ If the conditional resident is not in possession of an unexpired foreign passport, a Form I-94 (arrival portion) containing a temporary I-551 stamp with a 12-month expiration date and a photograph of the conditional resident.

      (2) If you are going to be out of the country for 6 months then I would file a re-entry permit (I-131). You need to make sure you can prove that you have not abandoned your permanent resident status.


      • #4
        Dear sphyrapicus3,

        Thanks for your response. I am in US but planning to leave in one month. Should I file a re entry permit since I have not left the country yet? Can you please explain it to me? Where should I file re entry permit and how long will it take to receive re entry permit after filing? if I understood it correctly, I must also keep my expired green card and extension letter with me. Thanks !


        • #5
          I have one more question; can I renew my extension letter in advance before departure even though it expires on March 1st of next year ?


          • #6
            Hi Pratham,

            I was in the similar situation. I was outside the US at the time NOA (extension of GC) was expiring. I was advised to make a trip to the US and get another extension, which I did.

            ''..if the alien is outside the United States at the time of filing, he or she must return to the United States, with his or her spouse and dependent children, to comply with the interview requirements contained in the Act.... Once the petition has been properly filed, the alien may travel outside the United States and return if in possession of documentation as set forth in § 211.1(b)(1) of this chapter, provided the alien and the petitioning spouse comply with the interview requirements described in § 216.4(b). An alien who is not physically present in the United States during the filing period but subsequently applies for admission to the United States shall be processed in accordance with § 235.11 of this chapter.''

            Will you be able to enter the US after your NOA expires? Read the following INA 235.11 c:
            ''...Therefore, an alien who is seeking admission as a returning resident subsequent to the second anniversary of the date on which conditional residence was obtained (except as provided in § 211.1(b)(1) of this chapter) and whose conditional basis of such residence has not been removed pursuant to section 216(c) or 216A(c) of the Act, whichever is applicable, shall be placed under removal proceedings. However, in a case where conditional residence was based on a marriage, removal proceedings may be terminated and the alien may be admitted as a returning resident if the required Form I-751 is filed jointly, or by the alien alone (if appropriate), and approved by the Service.''

            You can return to the US as returning resident (not sure, but I think that means one has to apply for returning resident SB-1 visa at the embassy - fee is $365) only after I-751 has been approved. You may have a big problem if you get called for an interview after March 2005 (expired NOA, can't do SB-1). By the way, not many SB-1 visas get approved.

            My suggestion is that you watch NSC processing times for I-751 very closely. Things may speed up, and you may get I-751 approved or called for interview before March 2005. Anyhow, I think you should plan a trip back to the US at the begining of 2005 for either:
            A I-551 stamp in your passport at the local office, to extend GC for another year (late February)
            B interview (if and when you are called)
            C fingerprinting for new GC when your I-751 is approved without the interview

            Hopefully, B or C will happen before you need A. Otherwise, after doing A, you will still have to do either B or C.

            I was in contact with the Embassy. They were very nice and understanding but they couldn't help me.

            Good luck


            • #7
              I just read Sphyrapicus answer. I did not know that. Lets assume POE officer knows the law and can check the status, but will the airline people belive one and allow boarding, if all they can see is expired document? They become very rigorous lately.

              You have to apply for the re-entry permit while in the US. You can write on it you foreign address. The local Emassy will contact you once re-entry permit is approved. It is a good idea to have it, but the bad news is it takes a year to process it... so if you stay abroad 10 months .. you may be back before you see it..


              • #8
                Dear aneri,

                Thanks for your response. Nebraska is processing application for May 2003; my application is dated March 2004. I do not know if they will process my application within 6 months but if I am called for interview, I will fly back. I am worried about dealing with US embassy in my country because it is very hard, time consuming and plain nightmare. I understood from your response that I must come back before my extension letter expires. Can you please give your guidance on my other questions?

                Re entry permit – where should I file and how long will it take to get it after filing application? Can I enter the United States with re entry permit even if my extension letter is expired?

                Extension stamp in passport – my extension letter expires in March 2005; can I extend it for one more year before I leave the states in one month? Thanks for your response !


                • #9
                  They will not allow the boarding on any flight in my country if extension letter is expired.


                  • #10
                    Dear aneri,

                    I just read your other reply. If I understood it correctly, the only option I have is come back before extension letter expires; can I get extension stamp before departure? Thanks !


                    • #11
                      Yes, coming back before NOA expires is the only option - according to what I was told.

                      Right now it takes about 13-16 months to get an answer on I-751. This may change and you may hear from NSC earlier - before NOA expires!

                      I was told that one can get passport stamped with the new extension only shortly before NOA expires - a week or two. Sorry. You may try to call your local office and ask if they would be willing to do it now.

                      You may want to check this, but I have the impression that with the re-entry permit, you don't even need to show your passport or GC. Not sure.


                      • #12
                        Dear aneri,

                        Thanks a bunch ! I appreciate your responses and help. One last question if I may ask you; where can I find address and phone number of my local office? I live in Vernon Hills, IL. It's a Chicago suburb. Thanks!


                        • #13
                          Where did you go for AOS interview? If you haven't moved since then, that's your local office.
                          If you moved, look at your local listings. Maybe under Department of Homeland Security. There are also listings of all Local offices with the area they are serving on USCIS web site. I am not so familiar with Chicago area..


                          • #14
                            Thanks for your speedy response. I did not go for interview in USA because we filed the petition in India. Do you know any website where I can find the local office? Thanks !


                            • #15
                              You can find it at:


                              Does this sound like yours:

                              Street Address:
                              Chicago District Office
                              10 West Jackson Boulevard
                              Chicago, Illinois 60604

                              Mailing Address:
                              Chicago District Office
                              10 West Jackson Boulevard
                              Chicago, IL 60604

                              The Chicago Office serves the state of Illinois and the following counties in Northwest Indiana: Lake, Porter, LaPorte and St. Joseph.


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