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Old 07.03.2012, 18:53
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Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

I'm having a bit of an anxiety attack at the moment having just become aware of the 're-entry' visa required for green card holders who have been gone from the us for more the 12 months...something my green card holding husband doesn't not have. While I plan to call the consulate first thing in the morning, does anyone have experience with this and, possibly, and words of comfort while I try not to imagine the worst case scenarios?
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Old 07.03.2012, 19:17
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa

I imagine this would be relevant,

http://bern.usembassy.gov/packetfour.html
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Old 07.03.2012, 19:24
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa

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I imagine this would be relevant,

http://bern.usembassy.gov/packetfour.html
*sigh*, so you're saying that he'll have to totally re-apply for a visa? We're leaving in 2 weeks or so. I'm swearing and going to get the bottle of wine...here's hoping this isn't just a colossal cluster***. Maybe having the Sec of State as a Cousin will be useful....<insert much much swearing here>.
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Old 07.03.2012, 19:43
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa

How long past 12 months has he been out?
When is he planning to return to Switzerland? (i.e. is it a visit or is he coming "home")
Why has he been gone for so long? (does he work for a US company?)
How many times has he done this?
Does he still pay US taxes?
Does he maintain a residence in the US?
Does he intend to return to the US?
Of his last crossings into the US, what was the frequency and duration of stay in the US?

If you don't bother with the re-entry permit, this is what the officer is going to look at.

If it's a first offense, he hasn't been out of the US much over 12 months, and/or he's working for a US company, still paying US taxes, still owns a home in the US, yada yada yada... then the officer will probably slap the wrist and say "get a re-entry permit" and send him on his way.

If however, none of the above apply, he has no intention of ever living in the US ever again, or not in the foreseeable future, or he's been warned about physical presence before and it is documented, (or if the officer is just a jerk) then the officer will retain his passport and his greencard and set a court date to determine if he gets to keep his green card. He can't leave the US until that court day comes and goes.

Or... if he doesn't want to keep his green card because he never plans to return to the US, he can always surrender it. This can be done at the embassy, and should be done before traveling.

P.S. what's his country of citizenship? If surrendering the greencard is an option would he be eligible for ESTA?
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Old 07.03.2012, 19:56
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa

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How long past 12 months has he been out?
When is he planning to return to Switzerland? (i.e. is it a visit or is he coming "home")
Why has he been gone for so long? (does he work for a US company?)
Return. 13 months. US company

Quote:
How many times has he done this?
First time

Quote:
Does he still pay US taxes?
Oh yes, and how.
Quote:
Does he maintain a residence in the US?
No, we sold the house before we left.
Quote:
Does he intend to return to the US?
Yes
Quote:
Of his last crossings into the US, what was the frequency and duration of stay in the US?
Not since entering CH last Feb. He was supposed to go back for something last year, but didn't, hence the non-filing for the permit...and our forgetting about it in the massive pile of Swiss bureaucracy.
Quote:
If you don't bother with the re-entry permit, this is what the officer is going to look at.

If it's a first offense, he hasn't been out of the US much over 12 months, and/or he's working for a US company, still paying US taxes, still owns a home in the US, yada yada yada... then the officer will probably slap the wrist and say "get a re-entry permit" and send him on his way.
That's a relief, but there are two types of people I never mess with, tax and immigration folks. But I love you for the words of comfort since, this year has been a screwup from pillar to post so....I'm just in a snit that we missed this. He might spend a few days in Logan, but that's a small price to pay.

Quote:
If however, none of the above apply, he has no intention of ever living in the US ever again, or not in the foreseeable future, or he's been warned about physical presence before and it is documented, (or if the officer is just a jerk) then the officer will retain his passport and his greencard and set a court date to determine if he gets to keep his green card. He can't leave the US until that court day comes and goes.

Or... if he doesn't want to keep his green card because he never plans to return to the US, he can always surrender it. This can be done at the embassy, and should be done before traveling.
No, he's never been warned before and this is just a paperwork screwup on our part. It's complicated, how we feel about going back to the US, but I am surprised that the employer didn't flag this....

I'll just apply some more wine now....and call the consulate in the morning. Thanks!
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Old 07.03.2012, 20:07
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

Based on your answers, his crossing in 2 weeks will likely go unnoticed. A re-entry permit would be the proper, "by the book" way to go about it, but I wouldn't be overly concerned.

To C.Y.A. (if you don't get a re-entry permit), I'd suggest he take a copy of his last tax return and proof of employment for a US company. That would disarm any questions that might arise.

The greencard holders that the officers like to spend time with are the ones who show a pattern of non-presence, who are repeatedly warned, and who fail to meet their obligations to the IRS, because those are the ones that go to court and hold up.
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Old 07.03.2012, 20:25
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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Based on your answers, his crossing in 2 weeks will likely go unnoticed. A re-entry permit would be the proper, "by the book" way to go about it, but I wouldn't be overly concerned.

To C.Y.A. (if you don't get a re-entry permit), I'd suggest he take a copy of his last tax return and proof of employment for a US company. That would disarm any questions that might arise.

The greencard holders that the officers like to spend time with are the ones who show a pattern of non-presence, who are repeatedly warned, and who fail to meet their obligations to the IRS, because those are the ones that go to court and hold up.
Ah, good. Thank you. We can supply all the paperwork above and then some as I have a relo 3-ring binder for both sides of the atlantic that will be in my carry-on. Still, I'll call the consulate tomorrow morning, hoping for a similar nonchalance. Bugger, I hate paperwork...
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Old 09.03.2012, 14:46
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

How did it turn out with the Consulate?
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Old 09.03.2012, 15:00
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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How did it turn out with the Consulate?
A few phone calls and email so far have proven unfruitful in finding someone who can give me an answer. I'm going to try calling Bern again this afternoon and if that doesn't work out, Ima callin' the mother ship as I so do not want to wait until we're in the immigration line to have an awkward and possibly less than ideal outcome.

Apparently, at least from what little info I've been able to glean from the net, there is a form...(but sadly we really have no time left here for such things), which we have preemptively filled out and I really don't think they have reasonable grounds to revoke his status. Of course, I never want to leave things like that to chance with these sorts of folks. Fingers crossed....
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Old 09.03.2012, 15:09
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

Do you have this? have you seen it? is it useful?

"I am a Permanent Resident... How do I get a Reentry Permit?"

Instructions for form I-131, Application for Travel Document / Reentry Permit

Application form
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Old 09.03.2012, 15:17
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

Not technically as this is the damn form we didn't get BEFORE he left the country, i.e. Bern can't process it. They don't have a section 'We're idiots who forgot to fill out the paperwork until 2 weeks before arriving back how, just how f-ed are we?' on that form. I've found a form called 'application to determine returning resident status'...we'll see if that's the charm.
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Old 09.03.2012, 15:19
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

We just received our re-entry permits and it was all handled relatively quickly by the immigration lawyers that first processed our green card applications way back when. My DH's company sponsored the green cards so also paid for the re-entry permits. Can you go to the HR dept and get them involved? If the firm is large enough they probably have lawyers contracted for things like this.
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Old 09.03.2012, 15:23
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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We just received our re-entry permits and it was all handled relatively quickly by the immigration lawyers that first processed our green card applications way back when. My DH's company sponsored the green cards so also paid for the re-entry permits. Can you go to the HR dept and get them involved? If the firm is large enough they probably have lawyers contracted for things like this.
Interesting. Did you apply for them before you left the US though? That's the problem here. Were your green cards expired after being out of the US for more than a year? I'm curious.

My OH works for a large US company, but they're not very good with expat things so...I'm trying not to involve HR unless critical. It's just a paperwork boondoggle, one I only have 2 weeks to solve.
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Old 09.03.2012, 15:39
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

Yes we did apply for them before we left the US as they were only a few months away from expiring. I was surprised at how quickly it went to be honest. I guess the lawyers filed the requisite forms, an appointment was made for us at the local federal building for biometrics to be taken and then the re-entry permits turned up in the post. I think the only thing HR did was to contact the lawyers. And, yeah, they are not typically very helpful.
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Old 09.03.2012, 15:43
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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I'm having a bit of an anxiety attack at the moment having just become aware of the 're-entry' visa required for green card holders who have been gone from the us for more the 12 months...something my green card holding husband doesn't not have. While I plan to call the consulate first thing in the morning, does anyone have experience with this and, possibly, and words of comfort while I try not to imagine the worst case scenarios?
Assuming you're a US citizen and that your husband will travel to the US with you, then you really do NOT need to worry about applying for the re-entry visa for him. As long as you two travel/enter the US together, immigration won't be bothered by the fact that he's left the US for more than 12 months.

Of course, if he goes to the US alone, he might get some "tough" questions from immigration as to why he's been out of the country that long. But even this largely depends on which airport he clears immigration in the US and the particular immigration officer.

In general, if I were you, I would not worry about this at all for the husband.
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Old 09.03.2012, 15:50
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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Assuming you're a US citizen and that your husband will travel to the US with you, then you really do NOT need to worry about applying for the re-entry visa for him. As long as you two travel/enter the US together, immigration won't be bothered by the fact that he's left the US for more than 12 months.

Of course, if he goes to the US alone, he might get some "tough" questions from immigration as to why he's been out of the country that long. But even this largely depends on which airport he clears immigration in the US and the particular immigration officer.

In general, if I were you, I would not worry about this at all for the husband.
I really hope you're right, but I'm having a really hard time tamping down my abject state of panic.

Now...if only someone in the IV division in Bern would answer the phone...
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Old 09.03.2012, 16:01
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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I really hope you're right, but I'm having a really hard time tamping down my abject state of panic.

Now...if only someone in the IV division in Bern would answer the phone...
Based on family experience in the past 10+ years, this seems to be the case... but yes, by law, your husband is supposed to apply for re-entry permit.

Why is he keeping his greencard anyway? He can easily give it up with reason such as not living in the states at the moment. Then later on, he can get the green card again easily when needed through your marriage.
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Old 09.03.2012, 16:14
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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Based on family experience in the past 10+ years, this seems to be the case... but yes, by law, your husband is supposed to apply for re-entry permit.

Why is he keeping his greencard anyway? He can easily give it up with reason such as not living in the states at the moment. Then later on, he can get the green card again easily when needed through your marriage.
Because we're moving back to the US in two weeks (where he starts a new job with the same company). And, given the amount of paperwork required for the greencard, it's not something you ever want to think about doing twice. There's nothing 'easy' about that process. And it's wicked expensive.
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Old 09.03.2012, 16:17
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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Because we're moving back to the US in two weeks (where he starts a new job with the same company). And, given the amount of paperwork required for the greencard, it's not something you ever want to think about doing twice. There's nothing 'easy' about that process. And it's wicked expensive.
Aha.. have a safe trip back then!

In our case, it's cheaper to give up greencard and not to pay US tax and just go through the process again when time comes

You should be fine entering the US as you'll be together... it's very unlikely that they'll bother to make it difficult for your husband given that you're American and he can just get greencard anyways (the usual difficulty greencard holders experience after long absence from the US is the thread of having their greencard taken away).
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Old 09.03.2012, 16:30
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Re: Green card and re-entry visa ( US )

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Because we're moving back to the US in two weeks (where he starts a new job with the same company). And, given the amount of paperwork required for the greencard, it's not something you ever want to think about doing twice. There's nothing 'easy' about that process. And it's wicked expensive.
Off topic: really? While I wish you both all the best, I am really bummed I never got to meet you in person at an event - let me say that I enjoyed your irony and witty posts in many occasions, but alas...best of luck!

Off topic 2: I generally have no regrets and I know that nothing is truly irreversible, and in many ways I am glad about my (voluntary) decision to stay in CH, but to be honest, my heart aches a bit every time I think that, by choosing to remain in CH, I voluntarily gave up the possibility of applying for a US green card that my prior boss had put on the table for when I would come back from my Swiss experience. It seems not a very popular thing to say, but I am a huge fan of the US.
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