+1-800-997-1228
Questions & Answers

Once we have our EB-5 visas, how long may I stay outside of the United States before they revoke my permanent residence status?

My wife, our two sons and I received our EB-5 visas and are preparing to move to the United States soon. We are from Pakistan, but I am working as a physician in the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia. If I run away from the job, I will suffer financially. On top of that, I have a contract with the Ministry of Health I must complete. If we all enter the U.S. and settle, could my family remain in the states while I return to Saudi Arabia to complete my work? If I do so, how will it affect my family members'' green cards and naturalization processes?

Answers

  • Avatar

    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You must enter the U.S. during the validity of your immigrant visas and medical exams. Immigrant visas are generally valid for 6 months from the date of issue and so are the medical exam results. If you intend to be outside the U.S. for longer than 1 year, you must apply for a reentry permit. It is usually valid for up to 2 years or the date your conditional green card expires; whichever is earlier. You must also intend to keep your primary residence in the U.S. and maintain ties to the U.S. regardless of having obtained a reentry permit, such as filing taxes, having a home, having children registered in a U.S. school, having other property in the U.S., etc. There are certain other requirements to become eligible for U.S. citizenship. Please consult an immigration attorney if you have additional questions.

  • Avatar

    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can file for a reentry permit to declare your permanent resident intent in the U.S. The permit is granted for a 2-year period. This will protect your permanent resident status while you remain abroad.

  • Avatar

    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Look at the expiration date on each immigrant visa in the passport and make sure you enter before that date. Once here, you can leave anytime. If you plan to be gone more than 180 days, I recommend filing for a Reentry Permit before you leave; you must be in the U.S. to do this and will need to be fingerprinted have a plan to return for fingerprinting.

  • Avatar

    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    To maintain lawful permanent resident status in the United States, you must continue to have the intention to reside permanently in the U.S. If you have employment or schooling outside of the U.S., this may indicate you do not have such intent unless you can demonstrate the employment and/or schooling is temporary. If you are absent from the U.S. for more than 180 days on any single trip abroad, you raise a rebuttable presumption that you have abandoned your immigrant intent. To maintain your lawful permanent resident status, you should apply for a reentry permit while you are in the U.S. A reentry permit will allow you to maintain your lawful permanent residence status and reenter the U.S. during the validity period of the reentry permit, which is usually two years. Each lawful permanent resident has the same requirements so all your family members must comply as well. The rules for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen are more stringent and require continuous residence in the U.S. for at least five years and physical presence in the U.S. for at least half that time, with no absences longer than 180 days. There are other requirements for naturalization as well. You should consult with an immigration attorney who can explain them to you.

  • Avatar

    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, once you have been admitted to the United States as immigrants based on your immigrant visa issued to you through the appropriate American Consulate abroad, your family can remain in the United States and you will all be Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States on a conditional basis, even if you return to Saudi Arabia to complete your work. This should not affect your family members, either. However, to protect your conditional Lawful Permanent Residency, you should return to the U.S. as often as possible and not remain continuously outside the United States for more than 6 months. If you think there is any possibility that it might be difficult for you to return to the United States, you should apply for a U.S. Reentry Permit by filing a petition on Form I-131, which would give you the right to remain outside of the United States for more than 12 months without being deemed to have forfeited your residency. However, the more you return to the U.S., the better. Again, try to not remain outside the United States continuously for more than 6 months. Also, remember that each time you return to the U.S. you are not visiting the U.S., but returning home as a resident and you have been abroad temporarily to wrap up your employment.

  • Avatar

    Raymond Lahoud

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Anything six months or more will greatly jeopardize any lawful permanent resident status. It is important that you seek legal counsel.

  • Avatar

    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally, once you obtain an EB-5 immigrant visa, one of the requirements is that you or any similarly situated individual(s) are now permanent residents of the U.S. Therefore, you are required by law to permanently reside in the U.S. In a situation like yours, you should seriously consider filing for advance parole. Advisably, consult an immigration attorney to examine all your options before you proceed.

  • Avatar

    Anthony Korda

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Once obtained, your visa will generally be valid for entry to the United States within 6 months. While there are certain things you can do to preserve your status after entry, you should discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced immigration attorney.

  • Avatar

    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You must enter but can apply for a reentry permit. Working abroad may not be a sufficient reason, although settling your affairs is ordinarily acceptable. Immigration is getting tougher; as a lawful permanent resident, you are required to live and work in the U.S. or face possible abandonment challenges.

  • Avatar

    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This happens often with the EB-5 clients because they often have significant business commitments outside of United States. When you enter with your family, you should immediately file for a reentry permit, which will allow you to go back to work in Saudi Arabia for two years. Make sure you stay 3-4 weeks after applying to be able to get biometrics done before leaving. This will allow you to be away without abandoning your green card. Staying out of the United States with a reentry permit will not affect your green card status, but it will delay your citizenship application. This is because the eligibility for citizenship requires you to be physically present in the U.S. for a minimum 50% of the 5-year period. Thus, if your wife and children stay in the United States, they may get the citizenship faster than you.

  • Avatar

    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can get a reentry permit for up to two years.

Add your comment

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment.