To maintain the conditional and the unconditional permanent residency periods, can the investor just enter the U.S. every six months, stay for one to two weeks, then exit? For the spouse and children, how long can they wait after the I-526 petition approval to enter the U.S. and become permanent residents?
The rule to maintain your permanent resident status is that you must intend to permanently reside in the United States. Therefore, if you simply enter the United States every six months, staying for one or two weeks, but do not have the intention to permanently reside here, you could still be deemed to have abandoned your intention and the Customs and Border Protection inspectors at the U.S. port of entry may start telling you that you need to file Form I-407 to abandon your permanent residency. If you stay out of the United States for more than six months, they will really start encouraging you to complete the form. If you stay out of the United States for more than one year, they could place you into removal proceedings, keep your passport and green card, and require you to appear before an immigration judge who will determine whether you get to keep your green card. If you wish to avoid this outcome, you should intend to reside in the United States, start building ties here such as buying property, getting a job, attending school, opening a bank account, obtaining a driver''s license, filing/paying taxes and the like. Also, if you plan to travel outside of the United States for more than six months, you may apply for and obtain a reentry permit while in the United States. The reentry permit will allow you to be absent from the United States for up to two years while still maintaining your permanent residency.
I would not recommend this plan. While it is true that you should not be outside of the U.S. for more than 180 days at a time, you should be residing in the U.S. more than just 2-4 weeks out of the year.
If you have an immigrant visa, you are expected to live and work in the U.S. The immigrant visa is not intended to be used as a visitor's visa, or it may be taken away from you.
You should have the intent to make the U.S. your permanent resident abode. If you plan absence of 1 year or longer, you must obtain a re-entry permit and maintain ties to the U.S., including a residence, assets, filing U.S. taxes, etc. to avoid abandonment of permanent residence. If your spouse and children consular process for immigrant visas after I-526 petition approval, they will need to enter the U.S. within the visa validity period.
You need to show intent to immigrate to the United States. Besides not being away for more than six months at a time, it will be a good idea to have a residence here, file taxes, obtain a driving license, pay utility and phone bills, etc. in the United States. It is also a good idea to get a re-entry permit to avoid being subject to abandonment in case you are away for an extended period due to unforeseen circumstances. Following the I-526 approval, once the principal investor obtains the permanent residency, the derivative applicants such as the spouse and children need to make an entry to the United States with the principal applicant before the expiration of the immigrant visa stamped on their passports.
No, you must live 6 months per year in the US to maintain residency.
In order to maintain permanent residency, be it conditional or otherwise, one must not depart the U.S. for a continuous period longer than 12 months, without first applying for a U.S. re-entry permit. Any continuous exit for longer than six months will create a rebuttal presumption that you intended to abandon your permanent residency. As a permanent resident, you must file your tax return as a U.S. citizen, and keep every other possible indicia of your intent to return. The more ties you have to the U.S., the stronger your case will be if you have had lengthy departures. The spouse and child may remain abroad for some significant time after the approval of the I-526 petition because they are not yet conditional permanent residents. Once their immigrant visa has been issued, they have 180 days to enter the U.S. to become lawful permanent residents.
If you anticipate extended stays outside the U.S., your best bet is to file for a re-entry permit so that you won't run into any issues of abandonment of permanent residency in the U.S. Any travel abroad for more than one year at a time will result in assumption of abandonment of U.S. permanent residency.
To maintain a green card you have to live in the U.S. and not be a visitor. They keep cumulative presence records so if you have a valid reason to be absent, you should seek approval of a re-entry permit. After the I-526 approval, if you not one of the backlogged countries - that is, China and Vietnam - the principal applicant and family can ordinarily enter in about four to six months.
They need to do more than enter every six months. They must demonstrate they intend to make the U.S. their home, file tax returns, have a residence, accounts, etc. If not planning to come often, they should do the above but also file for a re-entry permit. The minor children and spouse must come before the expiration date on the immigrant visa issued in the passport.
The easiest answer is if you plan to have that long of an extended trip outside the U.S., why not get a re-entry permit?
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