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Confusing Situation

Confusing Situation

Old Aug 19th 2012, 1:53 pm
  #1  
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Default Confusing Situation

Hi

I'm intending on immigrating to the USA to be with my wife who is a US citizen. She was living with me here in the UK for the last 10 years as a permanent UK resident, but moved back to the States 3 months ago to find a job in order to support us both over there when I go. We bought a house in the US over a year ago.

I've been to the interview and medical in London and have been issued an immigrant visa (a new page has been inserted into my UK passport) which expires on Oct 13th 2012, which means that I have to enter the US within that timeframe. It says on it that 'Upon endorsment serves as temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residence for 1 year'.

However, I can't leave the UK permanently until I've sold my house, so what I've done is arranged to visit the US next week in order to trigger the next step in the process. I'll be staying there for a couple of weeks then flying back to the UK where I'll stay until the house is sold, then go back over to stay in the US permanently. (I'm assuming it will take less than 6 months to sell the house, certainly less than a year).

Is this a problem?

Last edited by McBean; Aug 19th 2012 at 3:10 pm.
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Old Aug 19th 2012, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Confusing Situation

Not a problem in itself. Just be careful about how long you spend outside of the US. It's very common for people to return to the UK to tie up loose ends, but you are supposed to be permanently resident in the US so extended absences (say upward of 6 months) can be viewed dimly when you arrive back in the US. Defining a "safe" amount of time away is a very grey area, but returning to sell a house should be fine (unless you have real difficulty selling it, of course).

You should be aware that the endorsed page in your passport will serve as proof of your PR status for 1 year, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can stay away for a year and use it to stroll back in to the US.
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Old Aug 19th 2012, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Confusing Situation

It's also perfectly possible to sell your house once you've moved to the US. We did. We just gave our solicitor power of attorney to sign everything on our behalf and it all went very smoothly.
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Old Aug 19th 2012, 3:09 pm
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Default Re: Confusing Situation

Thanks a lot guys. I figured it would be okay, but sometimes it's very difficult to find reliable information about this whole thing.
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Old Aug 20th 2012, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: Confusing Situation

Originally Posted by rpjs View Post
It's also perfectly possible to sell your house once you've moved to the US. We did. We just gave our solicitor power of attorney to sign everything on our behalf and it all went very smoothly.
We did the same thing - had everything handed over to the solicitor.

However we did end up waiting in UK a few months more (but within the visa's validation -or whatever technical term is it these days- period) before going to the US as an offer came in and knew we likely had a US tax situation on our hands if we sold after coming to the USA.

FOR US, selling the house before becoming a PR would have affected the outcome of our taxes in the USA (capital gains, and we were definitely going to be have them on our Scotland primary home) if we sold it after becoming a PR. (This is very much a personal case-by-case basis; does not indicate that YOUR tax situation will be similar or even close.) I am merely putting out there another factor that you may want to consider whilst deciding when to exit the UK.

Just a little niggle in the decision-making process. There are a few threads here on whether to sell before becoming a PR or after.

Just search some reading from IRS.gov:
Topic 851 - Resident and Non-Resident Aliens
Topic 409 - Capital Gains and Losses

Oh, and what JSL8610 said about being careful to watch your time away from USA is correct. Still, having your solicitor wrap things up is a very easy and smooth way to finalise any pending sale. And you can always pop over to UK once in a while if needed, as opposed to long term - that was the whole point to prove intent to domicile here...
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