Keeping Green Card with a Re-entry Permit

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Are you a lawful permanent resident (Green Card Holder) and have long absences coming up outside of the United States? How can a Reentry Permit help you keep your Green Card?

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[Question] “Working in Canada while I have a Green Card. Coming to the United
States last time, I was told I need a travel document. Is that
the I-131 and can that be applied” It can’t.That’s a really
important question.
I’m glad you asked that because no, you can’t. If
you have a Green Card and you’re spending too
much time outside of the United States and not really residing
here, that’s problematic.
Because a Green Card means “I’m a resident of America, I’m
living there.”
But if you’re actually not living there and you’re outside, that could
cause accusations of Abandonment of your Green Card and cause
you to lose it.
And so one of the ways to help bolster your arguments and
say, “This is just temporary work and I don’t plan
on giving up my Green Card and abandoning my residency in
the United States” is submitting what’s called a Re-entry
Permit with Form I-131. Re-entry Permit Form I-131.
There are some nuances to this. A Re-entry Permit requires
you by regulation that you be physically in the United States
when you apply for it, so you can’t be overseas.
You have to be in the United States. And typically, there’s
a fingerprinting appointment that comes 1 or 2 months later.
So with saying that, if you do submit it and there’s
going to be a fingerprinting appointment where you have to be
in the U.S. again.
Historically too, I would have my clients submit
the case once they have it in the Government’s hands.
We know we have it, they would leave and then whenever we
get the fingerprinting appointment, they would come back.
But under this Administration, it’s not clear whether that
is still legal or not.
So I tell clients to submit Biometrics and wait for
a fingerprinting appointment, which means you might be stuck
here 1 or 2 months on typical circumstances, but 2
other nuances
come. One is, with the coronavirus, the fingerprinting appointments
have shut down.
So we have cases where they submit it, months and months go
by, and no fingerprinting appointment.
So that’s a weird thing.
Although they have started to reopen the fingerprinting.
Secondly, a colleague just posted today that they got a Re-entry
Permit that they had submitted in January or February,
approved today without fingerprints.
So that may happen, too. So it’s a really difficult position.
They put you in between the coronavirus and all the all the
stuff that’s going on with the current Administration, but
the short answer to your question of do you have to physically be in
the United
States when it’s applied?” Yes. Will there be Biometrics?
Probably, now that they’re reopening. Can you leave in
between? Maybe. Not the best answers.
But if you’re in Canada, this might be easy enough for you.
Just come back and forth in the U.S.
frequently enough to avoid that kind of problem and
maybe keep a residence here, have utilities.
Do you really need to consult an attorney to plan for this
kind of stuff?
So have a consultation with an attorney to look over your
life, your plans, and strategize how to avoid losing the Green
Card and losing residency.
And so you really need to have… hopefully have an
attorney when you got your Green Card. That’s important,
having an advocate or a consultant, a person that’s
with you and plans for these things ahead of time.
You shouldn’t have had to been told this. You should have
been prepared beforehand, so that when the time comes at
the border, you wouldn’t have to deal with this kind of situation.
That all comes with planning with your individual attorney,
and that’s what we’re here for.
This is just one of the many things you
have to watch out for and to be prepared for. So hopefully that
information helped and you get the help that you need eventually.

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