My mother traveled to Pakistan after a little over a year stay in USA. She was here on GreenCard and has been in Pakistan for a week less than 6 months. She has a plan to stay for a little less than a year in Pakistan before returning back to USA. Can she stay for a little less than 1 year without any extension. Before she left I sent her extension documents just in case. She left the country and after she left we got the fee back saying she do not need fingerprinting since she is over 80 years old and the money sent was more because it included fingerprinting fee. I took the fee out forfingerprinting and sent the documents again and were returned back due to the fact that fingerprinting fee was not included. DO she really need extension if she is staying for a little less than a year or do she need to return back within 6 months. She is not here now and I cannot get her fingerprinting done.
State/Country relating to question: Texas
My name is XXXXX XXXXX X'm pleased to be able to answer your question today.
The US Immigration (both CBP (at the airport when coming back) and CIS (when applying for Naturalization later)) have a policy that if the person was out of the US for less than 6 mos. they do not worry about that period outside unless there are other lengthy periods before that creates a reason to question residency. Then, if the person was out for more than 6 mos. but less than 1 year, CBP (at the airport when coming back) and CIS (when applying for naturalization later) will question about the period abroad and decide if they want to pursue it further. Finally, there is a law that states that if someone is out of the US for more than one year, as a rule, the US immigration will initiating Deportation proceedings against that person for abandonment of the Green Card, unless the person previously was granted an I-131.
However, despite these general policies, If at any time that the person is returning to the US, a CBP agent at the airport actually suspects the person is residing abroad, they can interrogate the person and start deportation proceedings and take the person to Immigration Court. Then the person will have to explain and convince the Immigration Judge that the period abroad was indeed only temporary by showing greater number of property, car, personal things, family, job, school, bank accounts, insurance, filing tax returns (if required by law), participate in activities, clubs, associations, etc., in the US than in the country abroad.
Because of this, it is always advisable to file the I-131 if she plans to be out for more than 6 months, and for sure she should file the I-131 if she plans to be out for more than one year. Because she plans to be out between 6 months and 1 year, it's strongly advisable to do so.
As to the fingerprints, she does not need to have her fingerprints taken and when you file the I-131, make sure you have a big piece of paper written clearly that she is over 80 years of age and does not need fingerprints taken.
wish you good luck. I hope I answered your question. Please let me know if you have other questions or comments.
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