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Expert James
Expert James, Immigration Attorney
Category: Immigration Law
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Hi, I got my temp green card in the US in 2012 (my wife

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I got my temp green card in the US in 2012 (my wife is a US-citizen), and we moved to the UK now (I am German). Since I don't want to do US taxes every year (and we will stay here for the next 5 years, at least) I am thinking about surrendering my green card.

My question is now, is that the right thing to do, if we are absolutely certain, that we will not go back within at least 5 years, or could it be a good strategy to keep the green card as well? I let s say, we are planning to move back to the US in 7 years from now. How would it work? I would most likely have to apply for a visa to get into the US, and then do the whole green card process over there again! Would I be able to get a work permit with the visa, so I could work right away, once I get to America? Would it make any difference if I still had my (invalidated, anyways) green card at that point?

What is the smartest strategy here. Keeping the green card or surrendering it?
Thank you for using this service. I'll do my best to answer your questions as completely and honestly as I can. All I ask in return is that you give me a positive rating for my customer service. This is the only way I get credit for assisting you. If you feel the need to use "poor service" or "bad service," please ask follow-up questions instead, so that I can try to help you further. Please remember that the law sometimes does not have a satisfactory solution for your issue; unfortunately, this is something I cannot control.

If you know you will not return to the US, it shows good faith to surrender your permanent resident card. If you choose to do this, then about 1 year prior to returning to the US, you and your spouse can start the marriage based immigration process from abroad.

Your wife needs to make sure that she maintains strong ties to the US, so that she can start the petition from abroad. If you start about 1 year before you want to move back to the US, you can time it to where, when you want to move back, you can return to the US as an immigrant, work immediately, and you'll receive your new green card within about 6 weeks of re-entering.

You should not enter the US with a non-immigrant visa, intending to adjust your status and get a green card. That is a violation of immigration laws and could lead to your removal from the US.

The decision is purely up to you, whether you want to surrender it or have it taken from you. If it were me, I would leave the US, wait about a year to make sure that this is, in fact, what I want to do. Before 1 year passes, I'd decide whether I want to remain in the UK. If the decision is to stay abroad, then I'd surrender the green card.

The result would be the same as having it taken away, except that by doing this, you do it voluntarily, showing good faith.

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