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GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Old Sep 3rd 2019, 5:44 am
  #1  
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Default GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

I'd be grateful if anyone could share experiences or informed advice about my family's situation.

After 10+ years living in the US we moved to Singapore for a 3-year stint that will finish at the end of next year. We may wish to return to the US at that time.

Our status is as follows:

Me: UKC by birth but naturalized as USC while living in the US.
Wife: German citizen and with GC obtained at the same time as me through my employment soon after we initially moved to the US all those years ago.
Daughter: USC by birth and UK/German by descent.

I believe from web research that my wife will have effectively abandoned her residency by the time we return, having been away for 3 years. (We did not seek a re-entry permit before leaving and regardless I think these are valid 2 years max. anyway).

1. Will I have to follow the same process as any USC bringing their spouse to the USA (i.e. as if she'd never lived there)? If so I'll need to get reading up on the process, timelines and costs for that.

2. Does the fact that she's held a GC before in any way complicate the above? If so are there any additional steps required to mitigate?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Sep 3rd 2019, 9:57 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

1. Yes.
2. No.

She can always try using the green card. Who knows, maybe she'll get lucky and be let into the USA no questions asked (as long as the green card is not expired).

Rene
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Old Sep 3rd 2019, 10:42 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Agree with Noorah.

Bare in mind that if she chooses to try her luck, and the officer does not agree, she can be detained before being put in front of an immigration judge for a determination on abandonment. More likely she will be paroled in in anticipation of a court date though.
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Old Sep 3rd 2019, 4:18 pm
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Ok so just ignore that she's ever been a PR and apply from new then. We won't want the hassle of the "turn up and see" approach.
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Old Sep 3rd 2019, 6:05 pm
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

The re-entry permit can be extended with reasonable cause. Did you move to Singapore on a desire for a change of culture or because of business. If business, she should contact the US Consulate/Embassy in Singapore and see about getting a returning resident document. Being your wife, that a good reason for being outside of the US for more than a year. Can't hurt to try and a lot cheaper than spending one to two thousand dollars for a new visa.
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 12:32 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
The re-entry permit can be extended with reasonable cause. Did you move to Singapore on a desire for a change of culture or because of business. If business, she should contact the US Consulate/Embassy in Singapore and see about getting a returning resident document. Being your wife, that a good reason for being outside of the US for more than a year. Can't hurt to try and a lot cheaper than spending one to two thousand dollars for a new visa.
We never obtained a re-entry permit in the first place, so I don't know whether this invalidates the rest of the idea. We moved here for business for a 3-year term. At the time we didn't know where we would move next, although I remain a US employee of my company on a US contract. It's now looking increasingly likely that we want to move back to the US, although the company isn't forcing us to - offering UK also to us as an option.

Do you think it might still be worth an appointment at the consulate?
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 12:35 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

If Rete's idea about trying for a returning resident visa doesn't work due to it being our choice to remain outside of the US to allow for my 3-year fixed term work assignment, then we will have to reapply for a GC for my wife through her marriage to me as discussed above. I have done a small amount of research about the process and have some questions based on my situation. I would be grateful for any opinions about any of this and also if anyone can point out wherever my assumptions appear to be incorrect or require clarification.

Step 1 is to establish the relationship (I-130). I have read that this can take from 7-15 months. Does this timeline ring true, and also is it any likely to be quicker given our situation? (i.e. Recent GCH married for 15 years, lived in the US for 13 of those, proved our relationship before for L1/2 and previous GC applications)

Step 2 is to apply for the green card (I-485). I have read that this can take from 9-11 months. Does this timeline ring true, and also do our circumstances likely make that any quicker? (i.e. all the previous history plus affidavit to support will include my 15+ years in a well-paid job with with my US employer so hopefully no questions there).

Step 3 is to attend the GC interview and await approval. I think once the interview is booked this part is fast. Is there any time restriction about how quickly the applicant must then enter the US? (i.e. how long can you leave it? If steps 1 and 2 were to proceed faster than we anticipated could she potentially wait months before entering the US?)

We could be in a difficult spot here as the sum of the higher end of the timeline estimates above exceed the remaining duration of my contract abroad. Due to having a young daughter of school age I don't think we want to entertain having to be apart as a family for any length of time nor having to move to a third country (e.g. UK) for a holding period before being able to head to the US.


​​​​​​(By the way, I have seen a lot of info about timelines online, and I also know how elastic these things can be from prior experience in our previous immigration journey. the website I pulled these from is called boundless.com, which may or may not be currently representative of the truth).

Last edited by tonrob; Sep 4th 2019 at 2:16 am.
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 1:07 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
We never obtained a re-entry permit in the first place, so I don't know whether this invalidates the rest of the idea. We moved here for business for a 3-year term. At the time we didn't know where we would move next, although I remain a US employee of my company on a US contract. It's now looking increasingly likely that we want to move back to the US, although the company isn't forcing us to - offering UK also to us as an option.

Do you think it might still be worth an appointment at the consulate?
It appears you don't understand what I posted. Let me try it again.

They are different. A re-entry permit is gotten through the filing of the I-131 stateside before you leave the US. The returning resident document is obtained at the US Embassy/Consulate and is sought by those people who "forgot" to apply for and get the re-entry permit from the USCIS before leaving for a long duration.
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 1:11 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Started reading about the process of obtaining a new marriage GC from scratch. Seems the first step is establishing our relationship - do we really need to do this as we've already proved it once or will those records effectively be ignored by the USCIS for the purpose of this new application?

Wondering how long the whole process typically takes from filing I-130 to being able to arrive in the US, as our intention if we move back will be to land in December 2020. Any ideas?
If you had to file the I-130 stateside, it is going to take 14-20 months. It will take 12-15 months just to get through the Service Center Stateside and then the National Visa Center and then it is passed on to the US Consulate. There are lots of different steps during each of those movements. If you can file directly at the US Consulate in Singapore, it would cut the timeframe down quite a bit but something tells me that you can't do this. And yes, you will have to prove your relationship. That's not a big deal. You are living together for x number of years and you have moved outside of the US together and are still living together. She got a green card based on your ability to adjust status originally. (Your employer filed for you and she was on your coat tail).

Last edited by Rete; Sep 4th 2019 at 1:13 am.
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 2:27 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

tonrob,

The I-485 is not applicable in your situation.

You would file the I-130, then once approved the case moves to NVC, where she will submit an I-864 affidavit of support and other documents. Then the case moves to the consulate where she applies for the visa and has an in person interview.

You can expect this whole process to take about a year and a half.

Rene
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 5:54 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
It appears you don't understand what I posted. Let me try it again.

They are different. A re-entry permit is gotten through the filing of the I-131 stateside before you leave the US. The returning resident document is obtained at the US Embassy/Consulate and is sought by those people who "forgot" to apply for and get the re-entry permit from the USCIS before leaving for a long duration.
Thanks. Do you know how quickly she would have to use (i.e. re-enter the US) it once approved? We need to remain in Singapore for another 15 months with my job.

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
If you had to file the I-130 stateside, it is going to take 14-20 months. It will take 12-15 months just to get through the Service Center Stateside and then the National Visa Center and then it is passed on to the US Consulate. There are lots of different steps during each of those movements. If you can file directly at the US Consulate in Singapore, it would cut the timeframe down quite a bit but something tells me that you can't do this. And yes, you will have to prove your relationship. That's not a big deal. You are living together for x number of years and you have moved outside of the US together and are still living together. She got a green card based on your ability to adjust status originally. (Your employer filed for you and she was on your coat tail).
Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
tonrob,

The I-485 is not applicable in your situation.

You would file the I-130, then once approved the case moves to NVC, where she will submit an I-864 affidavit of support and other documents. Then the case moves to the consulate where she applies for the visa and has an in person interview.

You can expect this whole process to take about a year and a half.

Rene
This is confusing as it's different to what I read, but then again I couldn't find an article specifically relating to our situation - however I have a huge amount of trust in what you're saying as I know you've been giving sage advice on here for years. Is there are a good, simple article I can read to educate myself on the end-to-end process?

Noorah - in your example we'd need to send the I-130 now as we only have 15 months left on my Singapore contract. It sounds like the I-864 would then be done via mail from here and the case finally moves to the Singapore consulate for her to go for interview. If this takes longer than 15 months we will no longer be allowed in Singapore (my status will end here along with my contract), but also I very much assume we can't show up in the states until the whole process is over and she's approved.

P.S. My wife has read that she would have to fill in a form to officially abandon her current green card first. Is that correct?

P.P.S. If she wanted to visit the US at any point in the interim (e.g. short family visit) are there any circumstances under which this would be possible?
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 9:44 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Hi tonrob. I hate to be very specific because I'm not 100% sure of details... for example it might be possible to scan things to NVC and take originals to the interview, but I'm not sure.

You will want to research "IR-1 immigrant visa" for the details.

I-485 is only for those who are already in the USA under some other status and adjusting that status to permanent resident, so does not apply to you.

You can specify which consulate you want the interview at (on the I-130), so might be a good idea to put Germany and have it there even if living in Singapore, just in case time runs out.

Yes, she probably should use the form to formally give up her current PR status, but I'd first try Rete's idea of the returning resident document obtained at the US embassy.

If she doesn't want to try using her current green card, she can visit using the VWP (if Germany takes part in that program). If not, then she'd need a B-2 visa, but being married to a USC might make that difficult to obtain.

Rene
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 11:22 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

The BE wiki for the CR-1 (IR-1) is found here: https://britishexpats.com/wiki/CR-1_

Don't worry about the CR which is Conditional Resident. Conditional only applies if the marriage is less than 2 years in length. You're way pass that, so for your wife it is IR (Immediate Relative). The process is the SAME.

The timeline on the wiki example needs updating as it is much longer these days.
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Old Sep 4th 2019, 12:40 pm
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

I know most of our British members are frugal and I applaud their ability to do without or pay as little as possible for what they want. This suggestion might well cost your wife money but since you are the guy showing members how to accumulate flight points for freebies or upgrades maybe you have enough to cut the expense.

Wife gets the returning resident document from the US Consulate; within a month from then she flies to the US for a short visit using the RRD; her green card is then 'saved'; she leaves the US and returns to you and can use her green card when you both return to the US when you job term is over.
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Old Sep 5th 2019, 1:41 am
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Default Re: GCH married to USC returning after 3-year absence

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
I'd be grateful if anyone could share experiences or informed advice about my family's situation.

After 10+ years living in the US we moved to Singapore for a 3-year stint that will finish at the end of next year. We may wish to return to the US at that time.

Our status is as follows:

Me: UKC by birth but naturalized as USC while living in the US.
Wife: German citizen and with GC obtained at the same time as me through my employment soon after we initially moved to the US all those years ago.
Daughter: USC by birth and UK/German by descent.

I believe from web research that my wife will have effectively abandoned her residency by the time we return, having been away for 3 years. (We did not seek a re-entry permit before leaving and regardless I think these are valid 2 years max. anyway).

1. Will I have to follow the same process as any USC bringing their spouse to the USA (i.e. as if she'd never lived there)? If so I'll need to get reading up on the process, timelines and costs for that.

2. Does the fact that she's held a GC before in any way complicate the above? If so are there any additional steps required to mitigate?

Thanks in advance.
Let us start from the beginning, did she file a I 407 when she left?
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