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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 105187
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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My wife is Canadian. Can she obtain a card if we are both

Customer Question

My wife is Canadian. Can she obtain a green card if we are both living outside of the US?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 14 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.

Unfortunately, no. They call it "Residency" for a reason and that's because the person is spending more time in the U.S. than outside of the U.S. Let me explain in more detail.

Anyone that is a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and is outside of the U.S. for 180 days or more within any 12 month period (not necessarily calendar year) creates a rebuttable presumption of abandonment of residency. That presumption can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary such as filing U.S. taxes, maintaining a home in the U.S. and paying that mortgage or rent, maintaining a U.S. drivers license, U.S. bank accounts with significant movement, etc.

Someone that has been outside of the U.S. for more than 1 year without first having an approved re-entry permit has abandoned their residency and only in very few exceptions (such as serious illness) can they get it back.

Here is an official link:

So basically, she needs to spend more time in the U.S. than outside of the U.S. to maintain that status. If that will not be possible, at least at the beginning, once she has U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency, she can apply for a Re-Entry Permit on form I-131. This will allow her to be outside of the U.S. for up to 2 years. She can use it for multiple trips. If she needs more time, she comes back before the 2 years ends and then she can apply for one more Re-Entry Permit for 2 more years. If she still needs more time, she can apply again, but after 4 years, they get harder and harder to get and often only grant them for one year at a time. At some point she will need to start living in the U.S. and spending more than 180 days per 12 months inside. Here is a link to the I-131:

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Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Hello. I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help? Please let me know. Thank you!

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