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Re-entering US - Green Card Question

Posted by SandraLean - Created: 13 years ago
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My husband (married 18 years) is French. I am American. He has had a US green card from a 20 year stay in the US. But he has been out of the US for 20 months and is preparing for a trip over Christmas. We thought that the green card would allow re-entry without a visa and without a problem for 2 years. But now we hear that after 9/11 that the time has changed to 1 year.Does anyone have any knowledge about this? We don't want to call anywhere officially lest we trigger some computer lookout. In fact, I've changed my name for this post - it isn't Sandra. It's really Bobby.His passport has no stamps for having entered France 20 months ago or any stamp for leaving the US 20 months ago. I suppose the real question is whether the US knows he left. Can he re-enter, smile, say "I was just here for a summer holiday with my family," and the agent will smile and say, "Welcome Back!" Or will the agent look at the computer and say, "Hey Frenchie, says right here on this computer that you left 22 months ago and that means you spend the night in a cell with Mr. bin Laden there before we ship you back to France."Anyone know?Roberta...oops, I mean, Sandra.

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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by mike-179830 - 13 years ago

belamica: to be frank, flying in to the US I'd be significantly more concerned about what the US consulate in Paris has to say than the Swiss consulate in Marseille. I'd only be particularly interested in the views of the Swiss consular services were I travelling to Switzerland... The Swiss may well say that you can enter the States on your Swiss passport, but the actual decision as to whether you can or not is going to be made by a US immigration official, in the US.**************
Mike

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Posted by belamica-188434 - 13 years ago

SMS9127,

Further on this subject, I got into a total flap with your news, contacted the Swiss Cons. in Marseille, have just been reassured I can travel on my Swiss pp, no problem OR on my valid US pp.  It's no longer valid, so that's the end of that.  In the Swiss pp there is no mention of birthplace, only that you are a "citizen" of a certain town in CH, which you become when you marry a Swiss (you take on his "citizenship" because every Swiss has "citizenship" somewhere in the country - usually passed down by inheritance).  Means that when you fall on hard times you can go back there and believe it or not, they'll take care of you!

And if I DO run into problems, I can imagine getting huffy won't help - being humble is the only way to go especially in these times!  

belamica

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Posted by Bungee-196630 - 13 years ago

Just to clarify something here, the people I know have all gone to the US within the 12 months, or the time allocated to them when they filled out the form I mentioned earlier.  I do not know of Geencard holders who have visited the US after 12 months.

The reason they have had to give up their Greencard is because they have renewed it for the nth time, US immigration pick up on this (probably record a note on your Greencard which is then viewed when you enter).  And therefore take the Greencard away, as you appear to have NO intention of moving over.  Remember, the whole idea of the Greencard is to show that YOU HAVE INTENTION of becoming a US Citizen.

Just another point, I went to Peru via US stopover in Atlanta a few years back, and I did not think I needed my Greencard for this purpose.  On the way back, they noticed in my passpost that I had a Greencard, and questioned me for a few hours.  The truth was that I was completely unaware that I had to carry it with me, even for stopovers.  Anyways, acting innocent, humble and apologetic got me out of that, as they had the power to take the Greencard away (which they reminded me plenty of times during that questioning period!).. worth a try... acting innocent, humble and apologetic! :-)

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Posted by SandraLean - 13 years ago

And so, the obvious question...how does someone (the friends you mention, for example) get caught being away too long?Where they just exessively honest (not that that is a bad thing when lying can get you a permanent black mark...)Or was it that their entry into England or France gave them away? (For some reason, the passport isn't stamped in...the last mark shows entry into the US 20 some months ago.Your thoughts please

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Posted by Bungee-196630 - 13 years ago

Apologies, your right, they dont track your exit with the Greencard.

Anyways, the reason why they know of my exit is due to these forms I fill out, which requires this information.

I know several people with a Greencard, who still live in the UK, and renew it due to special circumstances.  If you can provide valid reasons why you cant move to the US, or why you have been living outside the US, then the US immigration have been known to accept these reasons.  (Dont hold me to that though, I also know of cases where people have had to give up their Greencard, or move over permanantly). 

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Posted by SandraLean - 13 years ago

quote:...but anyhow, the greencard tracks your entry and exit from the US, so you cant avoid them knowing how long you have been away for.id=quote>I can understand how the greencard can be tracked on entry...you have to show the documents to the officer. But, how does the greencard get tracked on exit. The ticket agent asks to see the passport, fumbles around to see if the name on the ticket and the face matches, and hands it back. Do they really track exits? I don't remember anything like that.

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Posted by sms9127 - 13 years ago

Belamica, A few years ago, I had to go to the States but my American passport was no longer valid.  So, I decided to go in on my French one.I was living in Paris at the time and went over to the American Embassy to find out if I'd need a visa which I assumed could be obtained more quickly than renewing the American pp.  This is when they told me that it was "absolutely against the law for an American Citizen to enter the States with a foreign pp" (I took their word for it and have not further verified this law). I explained that it was an emergency and was very impressed at how quickly they processed my pp renewal.  Of course, I was right there and it took a lot of foot work back and forth from the Embassy and the Council building, but I got the new pp in one week. Now, if I hadn't asked and had just left with my French passport maybe there would have been no problem because as it turned out, I wouldn't have needed a visa anyway. But, in my case, my birth place in the United States, is clearly indicated on my French pp. The immigration officer could have questioned that.Sue

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Posted by belamica-188434 - 13 years ago

sms9127

Pls explain why, if you have dual nationality and have 2 passports, it is against the law to travel to the US on a non-US passport, assuming both are valid and the foreign one has the proper visa? 

I tried to get info from the US Cons. in Nice about obtaining a visa for my Swiss pp (my US expired in Aug. & renewal would take about 8 wks!!!) and was told to call the US Emb. in Paris, have my credit card in hand to PAY for information!! Needless to say I didn't bother. I got a new Swiss pp (within 3 wks.) which is valid WITHOUT the magnetic info stripe you mention - but only till next year because all the rest of the world was up at arms about this decision and just could not fulfill the US requirements in time (Oct. 26 is the cut-off date). Nationals from the European area are luckily exempt from the magnetic info strip but need a visa - but again, only till next year, then the new regulation takes effect. That's the info I have.

 

belamica

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Posted by Bungee-196630 - 13 years ago

I am also a Greencard holder, since 1999, and have been living outside the US all this time but visiting every two years.

I have been filling in the form I-131 (can be downloaded from various places on the net) to ask for two years for re-entry, which they have granted me the last 2 times, and I have asked for this again, just waiting for the reply...

From what I know, you must re-enter within 12 months unless you ask for an extension (I-131). 

As a greencard holder I stood in the line for "US citizens and Greencard holders" and they did not ask for my british passport.  So the french passport may not be necessary to show them, but anyhow, the greencard tracks your entry and exit from the US, so you cant avoid them knowing how long you have been away for.

Goodluck :-)

 

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Posted by SandraLean - 13 years ago

I found this on the US Embassy site for the UK.

Sounds like he will need that passport with the magnetic strip or more paperwork.

http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_web/faqs/iv/faq_lpr.htm