New York, NY asked in Immigration Law for New York

Q: As a LPR who lived outside of the US for 10 years but moved back 3 months ago, am I at risk of green card abandonment?

- My situation: French green card holder (since the age of 8) who wants to file for spousal green card for fiancé/ future husband

- My fiancé’s situation: French on a J1

- My issues

-- I spent the last ~10 years out of the US, with brief travels back to the US every 6 months or so

-- I recently (3-4 months ago) moved back to the US where I’m now working full time for a US firm

-- Once we get married, I would like to file for a spousal green card for my husband

-- I was told that this could trigger a review of my green card and potential claims of green card abandonment

-- I have maintained strong ties to the US (my parent is now American, my sibling and most college friends live in the US, I was trying to move back to the US with my company when it was acquired, etc.)

- My question: would you advise applying for a spousal green card for my future husband (given the risk of abandonment claims) or trying to find another way for him to come to the US (e.g. H1b)?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Laurel Deborah Scott
Laurel Deborah Scott
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Bedford, NH

A: If they let you back in the US, you should be fine as long as you don't depart again for a while. And by "a while", I would recommend you not depart for AT LEAST a year, if not longer. In order for them to revoke your permanent residence WHILE YOU ARE IN THE US, they have to take you to immigration court, which is a lot of money for the government. It's completely different if you are seeking re-entry to the US. Yes, technically if you are in possession of a facially-valid green card at a point of entry, you can demand an opportunity to see an immigration judge, but in that scenario they can take you to a detention facility while you wait to see a judge and hold you for months. Most people in that situation simply give up and voluntarily relinquish the card. Totally different if you're present in the US pursuant to a lawful entry. Then they can't hold you in detention. Bottom line, you're fine. Go ahead and petition for your husband. But do not depart the country again for AT LEAST a year, preferably longer.

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