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We became LPR 5yrs. Could not return to the US for over 3yrs. Can immigration allow my wife entry on compassionate grounds.?

Houston, TX |

My family and I became LPR 5yrs ago and due to my illness i was unable to maintain my status. My wife although kept her options open by travelling to and forth for 2 yrs. and then due to financial reasons was difficult to keep up with going back to the US. Her parents and family reside in the US and after three and half years she would like to visit them. Her parents are old and sick. Can she travel with her abandoned GC and surrender at the
POE immigration, will she be granted entry?

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Attorney answers 4


Depending on her circumstances, she may qualify for a returning resident visa if she never intended to abandon her permanent residence in the U.S. Schedule a consultation for her with an experienced U.S. immigration attorney, many of us offer Skype appointments for individuals in her situation. She must not attempt to travel to the U.S. with an expired green card.


It is risky to take this approach. At the POE, she could be sent back without being granted entry. It would be safer for her to go to the U.S. Consulate in her home country to get this straightened out.


She should:

1. Do NOT travel on that invalid document
2. DO consult with an attorney, many use Skype
3. DO go to the US Consul for either a returning resident visa, or a tourist visa

PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


The SB-1 returning resident visa is a tough sell, and most are denied by the US Embassy/Consulate BUT you won't know until you try. Who knows if you have a compelling case they may be sympathetic. You should have applied for a Re-Entry permit prior to your extended stay outside the US which would have allowed you to remain outside the US for up to 2 years. Any time outside the US for more then 11 months is deemed abandonment of your green card. If the card is still valid on its face she can try to travel to the US. If she's not quizzed by the USCBP Inspector at primary passport control about her extended absence (it does miraculously happen sometime) then she "admitted" again and as long as she doesn't leave again without at least applying for a Re-Entry Permit she's good to go. BUT, if she's placed in to Secondary Inspection Soft, most likely they will offer to either withdraw her application for admission into the US or more often allow her to physically enter the US, i.e. parole, have her green card confiscated, and given a temporary I-94 card and then issued an NTA-Notice to Appear, a charging document (essentially an appointment with the immigration judge) for a deportation hearing. Again, if she has real compelling reasons sometimes a sympathetic judge may let it fly and return her green card to her but its a high bar and complicated matter. Call me for a consult if you like, regards.