Can green card holders enter the U.S. if forced to stay abroad for an extended period of time due to COVID-19? - EB5Investors.com

Can green card holders enter the U.S. if forced to stay abroad for an extended period of time due to COVID-19?

My mom is a green card holder and she went to Bangladesh in November 2019. She planned to come back on March 25 and did not obtain a travel document. But because of the coronavirus outbreak, she could not return for now. Could she encounter issues when she enters the country if, by then, she has been abroad for over a year?

Answers

Lynne Feldman

Lynne Feldman

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

If abroad for over a year, she will need to apply for a special immigrant visa at the consulate or get a boarding foil from them.

A Olusanjo Omoniyi

A Olusanjo Omoniyi

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

She should contact the U.S. consulate/embassy for assistance particularly in obtaining I-131A letter as early as possible. Advisably, consult an attorney if you need assistance of an attorney, as soon as possible to explore all options in place for her eventual return.

Bernard P Wolfsdorf

Bernard P Wolfsdorf

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

She needs to show she had booked a ticket to return, or that she tried to because she needs evidence and must show there were extraordinary circumstances beyond her control. If she has this evidence, my guess is she should be okay provided she re-enters within 1 year. She should also continue to maintain her ties to the US, such as by filing tax returns as a resident, etc.

Dale Schwartz

Dale Schwartz

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

The law allows her to return to the U.S. for up to one year from her last departure. Of course, CBP inspectors when she lands in the U.S. can inquire if she abandoned her permanent residence. If she stays abroad for more than one year, her green card is automatically canceled. If that is the case, she can apply for a RETURNING RESIDENT?s VISA at a US Consulate or Embassy. Coronavirus is a good excuse.

Steffanie J Lewis

Steffanie J Lewis

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

So long as she is not out of the United States for more than one year, she will be put in special inspection where she can explain why she was delayed in returning. If she will be out for more than one year, she should contact the U.S. embassy.

Belma Demirovic Chinchoy

Belma Demirovic Chinchoy

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

In general, green card holders are permitted to return to the U.S. after extended absences from the U.S. due to circumstances beyond their control. COVID-19 is one such circumstance. Make sure you keep supporting documents and aim for her return before 12 months absence. She may also be able to obtain a travel letter through a Consulate/Embassy if her absence is prolonged.

Fredrick W Voigtmann

Fredrick W Voigtmann

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

There might be an issue; she should keep documentation regarding the travel restrictions and she will need a boarding letter from the U.S. embassy or consulate in her home country only if her green card has expired. Otherwise, she can fly back to the United States as soon as it is safe and bring copies of all of her proof of U.S. residency she had before her temporary trip abroad and delayed return due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Charles Foster

Charles Foster

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

Yes, your mother could possibly encounter questions about whether or not she abandoned her lawful permanent residency in a so-called secondary inspection by immigration upon her arrival. As a general rule, she should try to return as soon as possible and have evidence as to the reasons why she could not return any sooner; that evidence could be the cancellation of flights that would have otherwise been readily available to her. She should be prepared if questioned in secondary inspection to explain her significant ties to the US and why she had no intention of abandoning her U.S. residency.

Stephen Berman

Stephen Berman

Immigration Attorneys
Answered on

Yes, they can return to the U.S. with proof of the reason for their absence and their intent to return on time.

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