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10 year green card, through previous marriage, but I have been out of the states for almost 3 years.

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  • 10 year green card, through previous marriage, but I have been out of the states for almost 3 years.

    Hello Everyone,
    I am new here, I am hoping any of you can guide me into the right direction.
    I moved to United States in 2009, I was very young, and married my first boyfriend, we got divorced in 2012, abusive marriage,I was able to renew my green card, and got a 10 year one valid until 2020 or 21 .
    I started dating someone from europe almost two years after the divorce,and he had to go back to his country as his visa was over and he had to work for his family, I decided to leave everything behind and go stay with him for three months and get back after, but the three months from July 2014, turned into now, April 2017. I am now married again, but the country I am currently in, it does not really fit me, neither him. I was not able to go back the states for a long time, specially in the first two years due to financial reasons, and not being able to stay the long period I needed in order to keep my status.
    But now, that we are at a better path, I really would like to get back to the states,it is a long shot, and I have read somewhere that if you get a green card based on a marriage, and you ''abandon'' the country, you are not eligible to retrieve the status.
    Would anyone happen to have gone through similar situation? Is there anything I could do at all?
    Thank you everyone, Hope to hear back soon.


  • #2
    It has nothing to do with how you got permanent residency. All permanent residents are required to maintain residence in the US, or they will lose permanent residency. It's very hard to argue that you maintained residence in the US with a 3-year absence. Furthermore, the plastic green card is only valid for re-entry after an absence of at most 1 year. (If you had a re-entry permit, it would be valid for re-entry for the duration of validity of the re-entry permit, but even re-entry permits are issued for at most 2 years anyway.) So you technically have no document that allows you to enter the US as an immigrant.

    You have two options:
    1. Try to enter the US with your green card anyway. Although technically the card is no longer valid for re-entry, the CBP officer has discretion to waive that document requirement if they feel that you didn't abandon residence. However, with such a long absence and no compelling excuse, they will likely not let you enter. If they don't let you enter, they will ask you to voluntarily sign to abandon your permanent residence. If you refuse to sign it, they will let you temporarily enter and then give you a notice to appear for removal proceedings in immigration court. (The immigration officer at entry has no power to revoke your permanent residency; only you can voluntarily sign it away or an immigration judge can take it away from you.) At removal proceedings, you can argue to the immigration judge that you didn't abandon residence; if they agree with you then you are fine; if not you are deported. (Think of the removal proceedings as a kind of "appeal".)

    2. Alternately, you can try to apply for an SB-1 returning resident visa at the US consulate, presenting evidence to them about why your failure to return on time was due to circumstances beyond your control. However, what you have described so far does not sound sufficient; and it is hard to get SB-1 visas in general. I would say the chances of this succeeding are worse than going to the US and trying to enter directly.

    This is my personal opinion and is not to be construed as legal advice.


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