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Permanent Residency Laws

Permanent residency is the visa status granted to a non-citizen by the government allowing the non-citizen to indefinitely reside in the United States. Immigrants refer to the process as ‘Green Card’ as the color of the card issued was green between 1946 and 1964, and again since 2010. A Green Card holder has immigration benefits including permission to reside and work permanently. If certain conditions are not met, the resident status can be revoked. Below, Legal Experts answer questions on Permanent Residency.

What is the permitted time limit for staying in another country within a year of receiving the Green Card?

Upon receiving the Green Card, you are obliged to maintain residence in the United States. However, you may leave the country for a period up to 18 months and request a re-entry permit upon your return to the country.

I am an Indian who moved to the US after my marriage in 2001. I received the Green Card in 2008. I have filed for divorce from my husband in a US court; however, my husband has moved court to dismiss my case on the grounds that he has filed for divorce in an Indian court. Can he do that? Also, since my daughter is a US citizen, shouldn’t custody be fought in the US?

You have the right to file a case in the US as you have clearly been living in the US for more than six months, as per rules. However, as to which court will hear your case will depend on who filed first, even if it is by a few hours.

If your husband filed first in the Indian court, the US court will acquiesce to the Indian court recognizing its superior jurisdiction. If a motion to dismiss the case in the US court is not filed by your husband, you may have two different sets of orders. In such a situation, the Indian court’s verdict may have more value over the American order. Also, the child’s custody will be decided by the court that has divorce jurisdiction at that time.

My wife and I file for Permanent Residence two weeks ago, where I am being sponsored by her. However, she quit her job yesterday and plans to study while I take up a job. She has enough savings to show that she can support me. Should we update the USCIS of her current employment status or do we wait till the interview in about 4-5 months?

It would be fine to wait till the interview for Permanent Residency. Meanwhile, you wife needs to look for gainful employment and also document all her efforts — like keeping communication records of which companies she applied to — in the eventuality that she does not get employed by the time of the interview.

In all probability, her employment status will not be a problem as the immigration authorities are mainly concerned with understanding whether the marriage has been entered into for the purpose of residency.

She will be free to pursue her studies as the immigration officials are likely to accept this as valid reason to not work. Also, if you get employed, the ability to support you will not be significant in this case.

I am an Australian who is moving to America with my partner, a US citizen. Since I am a registered nurse, is there a Visa I can apply for that does not require a sponsor?

Generally, most of the time, Employment Visas are hard to get without a sponsor. Your options to obtain a Visa will be apply for a student Visa or marry your partner who you said is a US citizen. This will also entitle you for filing an application for provisional Permanent Residency.

There is no employment visa that you can get that does not have a sponsor. What you can consider filing for is possibly a student visa, or marry your partner in the USA, as that will automatically give you the right to apply for a provisional green card.

In case a Permanent Residency holder wishes to abandon his/her status, they may do so by filing form I-407 at a U.S. Embassy. Certain conditions may lead to your Permanent residency status being revoked. This includes any criminal act making the person removable from the US; leaves the US for more than 265 days without a re-entry permission; fails to file tax return; or even if the status was obtained fraudulently. To learn more about your right as a Permanent Resident, as a Legal Expert that specializes in Immigration Law.
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