Immigration Law

Immigration law questions? Ask an immigration lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

I'm an American citizen living outside the US, my wife isn't…

Customer Question
Hi, I'm an American citizen...
Hi, I'm an American citizen living outside the US, my wife isn't an American citizen, we have been married for almost 2 years. What is the procedure of obtaining citizenship for my wife, and where do we start? I have a full time job outside the US, will it be mandatory for my wife to live in the US or visit occasionally ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Immigration Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Answered in 1 minute by:
1/29/2016
Immigration Lawyer: Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney replied 2 years ago
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 113,912
Experience: Principal Attorney at Guillermo J. Senmartin, P.A.
Verified

Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 13 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.

Well, there is no automatic U.S. Citizenship through marriage. She has to become a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident first. Does she have that status? If not, we have to talk about getting her that status first.

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Hi there, she does not have a US Lawful permanent resident yet. We got married 2 years ago, and both have full time jobs, so we barely have time to go to the US, can that US Lawful permanent resident be obtained abroad from a US embassy? Would it be mandatory for my wife to reside in the US? She runs her own business and is very busy and can't live in the US and leave everything here.
Immigration Lawyer: Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney replied 2 years ago

Unfortunately, to maintain U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency, and then later U.S. Citizenship, she has to at least live in the U.S. for half a year (180 days or more) per year. Will she be able to do that?

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
The problem really is that she has a full time business to run, so im not sure if exceptions are made usually from the government, im not sure how she can abandon her company and live there for 180 days a year. Are there any other alternative routes that can be taken or certain exemptions made to avoid living there that long?
Immigration Lawyer: Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney replied 2 years ago

Well, yes, for Lawful Permanent Residency, which would only be temporary, meaning for a few years, not permanently. But unless she plans to serve in the U.S. Military, there aren't any good options for U.S. Citizenship. The idea is that she be physically present in the U.S. in order to absorb U.S. culture and understand what it is to be a U.S. Citizen. Would she be able to get Residency and then maybe have a 4 year period where she mostly lives outside of the U.S. and then after that, could she come to live mostly in the U.S.?

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
if she got the residency and lives outside the US for 4 years, what would happen would it void the residency, or say she only visits the us one month per year, would that be fine.Let me tell you the goal here: Basically we want a route for her to obtain US citizenship while we are both working outside the US, its fine we will apply for the residency, but just because we applied for it doesn't mean we are able to live in the US, thats because we both have full time jobs outside the US.Thanks
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
She doesn't have any plans at all to serve in the military
Immigration Lawyer: Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney replied 2 years ago

She would have to work for the U.S. government or specific U.S. company/organizations outside of the U.S. for that to work. If she is intent on running her own business, that's not going to work. Is there any point in time, either now or in a few years from now where she could spend 181 days in the U.S. out of every 12 months?

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
there is a chance, but right now we aren't sure when she has that chance, we eventually plan to live in the US, but not shut down her business now suddenly, If she wants to work for a US company outside the US, are there any rules for that, her friend is an American citizen who owns a pet shop company in the UAE - Dubai, so if for example, she works for that company, would that be considered allowed to live outside the US while on her residency?
Immigration Lawyer: Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney replied 2 years ago

Ok. Let me explain everything to you. Once she gets U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency she needs to reside in the U.S. to maintain it. 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:

http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/maintaining-permanent-residence

Since she will need to be outside of the U.S. more than she can be inside of the U.S., she will need to apply for an I-131 Re-Entry Permit. This will allow her to be outside of the U.S. for up to 2 years without abandoning her Residency. At the end of the 2 years, she comes back and can apply for another one for 2 more years. After that they get harder and harder to get and they usually will only issue them for 1 year at a time. So eventually, she will need to start living more time in the U.S. than outside of the U.S. Here is a link to the I-131:

http://www.uscis.gov/i-131

So let's say she does the I-131 and is mostly outside of the U.S. To get U.S. Citizenship through you, she has to have the following:

1) Marriage to you for at least 3 years.

2) Lawful Permanent Residency for at least 3 years.

3) No trips longer than 180 days (which means she needs to come back to the U.S. for a few days every 180 days EVEN THOUGH she has an I-131 Re-Entry Permit, that only protects her against abandonment or Residency. U.S. Citizenship is a different set of laws)

4) 18 months of physical presence in the U.S. out of the 36 months previous to applying.

The fourth is going to be the hardest. So for at least 3 years she should spend 180 days in the U.S. to get her U.S. Citizenship. After that, she can stay in or out, however she likes.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions and there is no additional charge. Also, should you need to chat on the phone, private email or need help reviewing documentation, I am happy to do so for a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested in these – I am happy to give you more details! When we are done, if you would be so kind as to leave a positive rating for my service, I would sincerely ***** ***** You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars if you see them, or the smiley faces if you see them. You can even ask additional questions without additional charge even after leaving a positive rating. Thank you for your understanding.

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Thank you for your elaboration, please let me share all this with my wife before we close this topic.Thanks
Immigration Lawyer: Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney replied 2 years ago

No problem. Just so you know, leaving a positive rating does NOT close the thread. You can still respond and ask more questions on this thread, weeks, months or even years later without additional charge. I've had people do that before. So don't be afraid to leave that positive rating. You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars if you see them, or the smiley faces if you see them. Thank you!

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Immigration Lawyer: Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney replied 2 years ago

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

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Immigration Lawyer: Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney replied 2 years ago

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

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with an immigration lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Guillermo Senmartin Your Own Question
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin, Immigration Attorney
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 113,912
113,912 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Principal Attorney at Guillermo J. Senmartin, P.A.

Guillermo Senmartin is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

4,009 satisfied customers

Private practice in several areas, including immigration

Wilton A. Person

Wilton A. Person

Immigration Lawyer

3,597 satisfied customers

Knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer.

Law Girl

Law Girl

Lawyer

451 satisfied customers

My law firm practices immigration law.

Gintare Grigaite

Gintare Grigaite

Immigration Attorney

186 satisfied customers

Expert Immigration Attorney

TheLeadCounsel

TheLeadCounsel

Immigration Attorney

17 satisfied customers

Immigration and Naturalization

Charlotte E. Viener, Esq.

Charlotte E. Viener, Esq.

Lawyer

12 satisfied customers

Over 10+ years handling all aspects of Immigration Law.

Guillermo Senmartin

Guillermo Senmartin

Immigration Attorney

113,912 satisfied customers

Principal Attorney at Guillermo J. Senmartin, P.A.

< Previous | Next >

Related Immigration Law Questions
My father is an American citizen who passed away last May, I
My father is an American citizen who passed away last May, I lived in the US when I was little for almost 9 years and I have in my possession the green card that was given to me at that time. What are… read more
Jenny Imm Law
Jenny Imm Law
Immigration Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4 satisfied customers
Married overseas 2 kids I got married in 2011and been living
Married overseas 2 kidsHello I got married in 2011and been living back and forth between USA and Europe. My wife was supposed to follow me in USA but changed her mind and left me in the difficulty of … read more
Jenny Imm Law
Jenny Imm Law
Immigration Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4 satisfied customers
LPR. Myself and my fiancee have been dating 6 years. We both
Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am US LPR. Myself and my fiancee have been dating for almost 6 years. We both were classmate for undergrad, but she and her family immigrated to Canada 13 years ago and… read more
KUMI95
KUMI95
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
17 satisfied customers
Can citizenship be forced on a child if the parents say no?
I'm a green card holder who has been in the US almost all my life. I married a US citizen, my children are American as well, but I'm only getting around to getting citizenship. If I become a US citize… read more
jludwic
jludwic
Manager
J.D.
19 satisfied customers
I lived in usa from 1990 till 2006. Initially I was a student,
I lived in usa from 1990 till 2006. Initially I was a student, then got hired by a hitech firm which sponsored me for H1 and subsequently green card. I obtained my green card in 2000. In the same year… read more
Wilton A. Person
Wilton A. Person
Immigration Lawyer
Juris Doctorate
3,597 satisfied customers
Hi all Im American Citizen since 2008, my baby born outside
Hi all I'm American Citizen since 2008, my baby born outside at 2011 and they gave us the following Visa to enter to US : IR-2 with "upon endorsement serves as temporaty I-551 evidencing permanent res… read more
jludwic
jludwic
Manager
J.D.
19 satisfied customers
I am an American who lives in Sweden. My husband is swedish.
I am an American who lives in Sweden. My husband is swedish. Can he get an american passport? We are living in sweden at the present. Cat… read more
Gintare Grigaite
Gintare Grigaite
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
186 satisfied customers
I am an American Citizen who has lived in Europe since 1995,
I am an American Citizen who has lived in Europe since 1995, my wife of almost 10 years is Colombian and together we have a daughter of 5 who is also American. My wife completed her MBA in the USA but… read more
usaimmigrationinfo
usaimmigrationinfo
Immigration Attorney
Doctoral Degree
413 satisfied customers
Hello, Here is my situation.I am an American citizen since
Hello, Here is my situation.I am an American citizen since Aug 2010,my wife is a permanent resident since Feb. 2011.We are married since 2008.We have a newborn baby.The baby was born in our country of… read more
jludwic
jludwic
Manager
J.D.
19 satisfied customers
Wife, step children; 1 son and 1 daughter came to USA as K3
Wife, step children; 1 son and 1 daughter came to USA as K3 spouse and K4 dependents. All received their permanent residency (green card) on October 22, 2008. Wife and Son (15 when he arrived - now 20… read more
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
113,912 satisfied customers
Dear sir / madam,My question is about claiming American
Dear sir / madam, My question is about claiming American citizenship through parents. I would like to investigate whether or not I have a claim to be (or become) an American citizen or if not, I can o… read more
Wilton A. Person
Wilton A. Person
Immigration Lawyer
Juris Doctorate
3,597 satisfied customers
My sister in law is 50 years old, an American citizen by birth,
My sister in law is 50 years old, an American citizen by birth, but has lived almost all her life in Mexico City. She has dual citizenship, holding both US and Mexican passports. She is now in this co… read more
jludwic
jludwic
Manager
J.D.
19 satisfied customers
Dear sir or madam, Im a Canadian citizen; my wife is a
Dear sir or madam, I'm a Canadian citizen; my wife is a Mexican citizen with a Canadian permanent resident status. We both live is France (I'm an expatriate). My wife's sister (a Mexican too) has been… read more
Georgetown Lawyer
Georgetown Lawyer
Principal Attorney
Post-Doctoral Degree
11,193 satisfied customers
I came to USA in the year 1997, my wife with two daughters
I came to USA in the year 1997, my wife with two daughters in 1998. From the first year in US I have SSN and I paid taxes every year, my family too. I would like to be US citizen from the 1st day, whe… read more
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
113,912 satisfied customers
I am an American citizen. My boyfriend lives in Belize and
I am an American citizen. My boyfriend lives in Belize and is a natural born Belizian citizen. I plan on moving down to Belize after I graduate. I know I cannot work in Belize unless I am a citizen of… read more
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
113,912 satisfied customers
I am US resident since 1994. I married 8 years ago and my wife: -
I am US resident since 1994. I married 8 years ago and my wife: - Lives oustide US - Is lawyer - Have her own business in hometown of +3years - Have a visitor US visa for more than 20 years now - Visi… read more
jludwic
jludwic
Manager
J.D.
19 satisfied customers
Ive been married to an Italian (he has also USA passport)
I've been married to an Italian (he has also USA passport) for 23 years. We live in both Contries (Italy and USA) and I hold a green card for 13 years (I got the green card through my marriage). Right… read more
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
113,912 satisfied customers
Ill be marrying a US Citizen but Ill bring her to live in
I'll be marrying a US Citizen but I'll bring her to live in Indonesia with me while keeping her US citizenship & my Indonesian citizenship. What should I do to make sure that there will be NO immigrat… read more
jludwic
jludwic
Manager
J.D.
19 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x