The One Year Absence Dilemma – How a Green Card Holder May Return to the U.S. SB-1 Returning Residents
What Happens if a Green Card Holder Remains Out of the U.S. for More than a Year?
If you are a green card holder (also called a lawful permanent resident) and you remained absent from the U.S. for more than a year, or if you failed to return to the U.S. prior to the expiration of your reentry permit, you will be required to have a new immigrant visa issued by a U.S. consulate before being allowed to enter the U.S. again. Such absence from the U.S. may give rise to a claim by the U.S. government that you may have abandoned your permanent residence and thus do not need to maintain your green card status. U.S. immigration regulations, however, may excuse a green card holder’s prolonged absence from the U.S. if his or her absence was due to extraordinary circumstances which prevented the green card holder from returning to the U.S. If you have been absent from the U.S. for more than a year due to circumstances that are extraordinary in nature for which you had no control, you may be eligible for the issuance of a special returning visa called Returning Resident (SB-1) Immigrant Visa. The issuance of this visa requires the submittal of documentation proving the circumstances which prevented your timely return. You must carefully plan your SB-1 Returning Resident application. Remember that you must be truthful in any representations you make to the U.S. government to avoid unnecessary penalties or adverse decisions on your application. Contact us to examine your circumstances and to find out whether we could prove that your absence is excusable.
Applying for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa
It is important to realize that you are in need of an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa prior to making plans to return to the U.S. Many airlines and passenger carrier companies are now requiring that you show less than a year absence from the U.S. prior to boarding their vessels. That is because U.S. regulations may impose fines on such airlines or passenger carriers which transport individuals who may not be admitted to the U.S. Hence, many such companies could very well refuse to allow you to board their vessel if you have been absent from the U.S. for more than a year. Another important consideration is that the processing times for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa may take up to three months. In addition, you may be interviewed on multiple occasions in connection with your application, and you may be required to undergo a medical examination. It is therefore highly advisable to plan your return to the U.S. appropriately in order to avoid such disruption and unnecessary inconvenience. Our experienced immigration lawyers have counseled and represented individuals applying for SB-1 Returning Resident Visas. Contact or call us to discuss your particular circumstances and to enable us to timely act on your behalf. Our slogan is “Innovative Representation…Proven Results” because our law firm prides itself on employing inventive ethical legal strategies; and for that purpose we enjoy a high success rate.
In order to have your prolonged absence excused and hence receive approval on your SB-1 Returning Resident Visa, you must present documentary proof clearly establishing the extraordinary circumstances which caused your prolonged absence. In addition, you must establish that you have maintained ties to the U.S. during your absence. Contact the experienced immigration lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates for details on how we can assist you in your matter. Each case has its own circumstances and our lawyers are skilled in identifying the issues that may be of concern and will propose effective solutions to achieve your goals.
What Happens if your SB-1 Returning Resident Visa is Denied?
Once you submit your application for SB-1 Returning Resident Visa, the U.S. consular officer will make a decision in your case. If your application is denied because the officer does not believe that you meet the regulatory requirements or because the officer believes that your absence is not excusable, contact us to discuss whether you are eligible to apply for an immigrant or a nonimmigrant visa. For instance, you may be related to a qualifying immediate relative who can apply for your permanent residence again. Or, in the alternative, you may be eligible to apply for a non-immigrant visa such as a work visa. It is important to consider all possible scenarios and visa options that could benefit you. In such situations, it is advisable to discuss your matter with an experienced immigration lawyer. Contact us for a consultation.
How to Contact Us
If you have questions about an immigration matter, and/or you need help in the process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to speak with an attorney. We handle various matters including family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, Green Cards and Permanent Residence, and many more. Please contact us and experience our superior legal representation.