Green Cardby Debbie McGoldrick
- A ten year old green card, where do my family and I stand?
- Advice on the fast approaching 2015 U.S. visa lottery
- Sponsoring offspring to come to the United States, the V visa
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services warns of phone scam
- How can I reclaim my expired Green Card that I received as a child?
“I am writing to you from Ireland. I am in my late forties and have two children aged 19 and 21. I spent 10 years in the U.S. from 1978-’88, and I had a green card. I came home to get married and raise a family, and lo and behold, my eldest daughter wants to relocate to the U.S. because there is nothing available for her job-wise in Ireland. I am wondering, and hoping, that my prior legal status in the U.S. might have some positive bearing on her application for residency there? I also have two siblings still resident in the U.S., both of whom are citizens. Can they be of any use to my daughter?
“I loved America very much and wouldn’t mind at some point returning there myself as my marriage broke down several years ago. I don’t know if I would ever make the move, but if so, could I make use of my green card? I know it’s a long-shot, but perhaps the U.S. looks kindly upon people who used to live there legally and want to do so again.”
The green card that you had several decades back lost its validity a long, long time ago. Once a permanent resident leaves the U.S. and does not take steps to protect legal status for future use the status becomes null and void, as does the green card that proved a legal right to live and work here.
The application period for the 2015 diversity visa lottery will open at noon on Tuesday, October 1, and conclude at noon on November 2. Those participating will have to register electronically through the official State Department website – www.dvlottery.state.gov — and early entry is advised. There is no charge to enter the lottery.
The lottery offers 50,000 green cards on an annual basis to applicants from all countries except the following — Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland), and Vietnam. (The only change from 2014 eligible countries is that this year natives of Nigeria cannot apply; countries are excluded from the lottery because they’ve sent at least 50,000 legal immigrants to the U.S. during the past five years.)
“I am not Irish but I’m hoping you can help answer my question. I am a citizen of the U.S. and my brother has a green card. He has an 17-year-old son in his home country who he would like to sponsor for a green card. I am sure that I read somewhere that his son will be able to come here legally and wait for the green card to be approved. Is this true? How can my brother get started on bringing his son here? He is divorced from his son’s mother but they are on good terms and she agrees that America would be a good place for their son to be now that he will soon be done with schooling.”
YOUR brother’s son will not be able to come to the U.S., maintain legal status and wait for his visa to be approved.
“USCIS never asks for any form of payment or personal information over the phone. Do not give payment or personal information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area.”
“My parents lived and worked in America for a number of years, and I got a green card as a result. My parents then moved back to Ireland to raise me and I am now 20 years old. I was only a baby when I got this card and it expired in 2005.
"I have a green card that I received nine years ago, and there is an expiration date coming next year. I have been living on and off in Ireland for the past four years – mostly in Ireland. How will I renew the green card considering that much of my work and life is in Ireland? I definitely want to keep the green card. Is there a way to do this? What is the process for renewal, and would I be successful?”
If most of your life is centered in Ireland you don’t need a green card. You don’t say what your travel pattern is, but if you are using the green card as a short-term entry document this will eventually be discovered and your status as a permanent resident will be rescinded.
"I have a nephew who just arrived in the U.S. He is 22 and of course loves it here. He would like to stay into the fall, and I have a feeling even longer. He was told that his 90 day legal period ends on July 15. His mother is frightened about him becoming illegal over here and so am I, especially if someday he would like to return for good. Is there any way he could get more time on his visa than 90 days? If there was something even available to him for six months or a year he would love that – anything to keep him legal over here. He is also thinking about going to Canada for a short while to get another 90 day extension when he returns here, so as to avoid having to apply for a new visa. Is this possible?”
Your nephew entered the U.S. on the visa waiver program, available to citizens of Ireland and 36 other countries. The program allows travelers to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days for business or pleasure without having to obtain a visa from a U.S. consular post.
"I am living in Ireland with my American citizen child who is 13. My estranged husband is American and still living there. My question concerns my daughter’s U.S. passport. It is expired and I would like to renew it. I believe that both parents have to be present for this to happen though.
My daughter’s father has no plans to come here (nor do I want him to), but we have plans to travel this summer and she needs a passport. I suppose I could get her an Irish one, but I really would like for her to have the American one. I can’t be the only one in this boat.
"I was married nearly eight years ago to an American citizen. I received my green card and citizenship within five years of the marriage. Not long after we divorced. I am still living in the U.S., and have a strong relationship with a woman in Ireland. We are talking marriage, but I’m concerned because I’m not sure if I will be able to sponsor her for a green card. I have heard and read different things about people like myself who got legal status through an American spouse, then divorced and eventually remarrying a foreigner. Can I sponsor her for a green card?”
The I-94 arrival and departure cards that visitors to the U.S. must complete when entering, and surrender when departing, will soon be obsolete. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced recently that it will automate the admissions process which is expected save both time and money – an estimated $15.5 million per year.
"A friend of mine returned to Ireland in 1994 and surrendered her green card. She lived in the U.S. for 30 years and currently receives Social Security benefits. She is now interested in returning to the U.S. to live with her daughter and family. She would like to re-apply for her old green card enabling permanent residency. What does she need to do?”
The old green card she had cannot be reclaimed. Those who surrender their legal status cannot retrieve it at a later time.
"I am an Irish native and an American citizen. I have been living in the U.S. for eight years – I got my green card through the visa lottery. Before I came here I had a relationship at home and I fathered a son who is now 11. His mother and I are on good terms; she never married and is thinking of coming here as she recently lost her job in Ireland. “I am wondering what I can do to help facilitate this. Because I am a citizen I presume I can sponsor my son for a green card? And even though we are not married, is there anything that I could do for his mother, sponsorship-wise? Marriage isn’t on the cards for us, but we are close and share a child and would like the chance to raise him together. I know this sounds strange, but I would really appreciate your advice.”
It doesn’t sound strange at all, but unfortunately there isn’t much that you’ll be able to do for your former girlfriend as far as sponsorship and legalization goes.
"I just went for my biometrics for my naturalization case, and I'm wondering how long will it take before I get called for my interview? I'm traveling home at the end of May for two weeks with my wife. I don't want to be traveling if I know I could be called around that time."
“Also, how long is it between the citizenship interview and the swearing-in ceremony?”
“I am an American citizen, Irish-born. I’ve been living here for nearly 25 years and have a family of my own here. In October of 2001 I petitioned for my brother to come to the U.S. I occasionally check the dates to see when he may be called for an interview, and I see that those who filed petitions early in 2001 are now being called. So it’s getting close.
“We filed the petition at a time when my brother was single and didn’t really have any roots. Since then he married and had a child, and has a fairly stable job in Ireland. He loves it out here and I know he would do well, but he’s not sure he wants to proceed with the application. I think it would be a wasted opportunity if he doesn’t follow through, given how long it’s taken to get to this point. Ireland being Ireland, he could lose his job at any time.
"I have lived in the U.S. for nine years. I have a green card that I received through the diversity visa lottery six years ago. I would like to apply for citizenship this year, but I’m wondering if I should just leave well enough alone and be happy enough with my green card. I started paying taxes last year. If I had to go back and re-file I would stuck owing a lot of money that right now I cannot afford. How should I handle this with regards to citizenship? And how will immigration really know that I didn’t file taxes?"
“Also, I am being sued by someone I was involved in an automobile accident with last year. I am counter-suing as the accident definitely wasn’t my fault, but I’m worried that this could be an issue with the citizenship application. Is this so?”
The lawsuit will not be an issue when it comes time to filing your naturalization case. However, your tax history will be.
"My fiancée was born and raised in Belfast. She has an Irish and British passport. I am an American citizen. We would like to live and work in Europe for an extended period of time after we marry next year. What’s the best way for us – or rather me – to do that? We want to start in London and perhaps stay there for a long time, we’re not sure. Can I get an Irish passport? Would it be of any use in London, or do I have to get a British passport? Or do I need a passport at all?”
As the United Kingdom and Ireland are both members of the European Union, both issue passports that are valid for travel and work throughout the EU.
However, though your fiancée has both British and Irish passports, the process for obtaining either one for you is going to take several years. That doesn’t mean you have to wait that long to legally reside in the U.K. or Ireland; when you’re married, you and your wife will be able to apply for temporary legal residence.
That will hold true for your brother in the future, too, as long as he departs the country during the allotted time he’s permitted to be here.
That workload will undoubtedly increase in the years ahead as Canada opens its doors to more Irish.
Males between the ages of 18 and 26 can register online, but those who do not have a Social Security number must do so by mail. U.S. post offices have the necessary paperwork, which is very basic – name, address, date of birth and that’s it.
for a full set of entry instructions.
) would also likely be useful.
Your girlfriend is obviously in a tough bind given her status. The problem is that any visa she’d be eligible for – for instance, as the spouse of a green card applicant – would require a trip abroad for processing, and this would trigger an automatic ban of 10 years from the U.S. given the amount of time she’s spent here.
the War between the States; 74. Slavery, economic reasons, states’ rights; 75. Freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation), saved (or preserved) the Union, led the U.S. during the Civil War; 76. Freed the slaves, freed slaves in the Confederacy, freed slaves in the Confederate states, freed slaves in most southern states; 77. Fought for women’s rights, fought for civil rights; 78. World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, (Persian) Gulf War; 79. (Woodrow) Wilson; 80. Franklin Roosevelt; 81. Japan, Germany, and Italy; 82. World War II; 83. Communism; 84. Civil rights movement; 85. Fought for civil rights, worked for equality for all Americans; 86. Terrorists attacked the U.S.; 87. Cherokee, Navajo, Sioux, Chippewa, Choctaw, Pueblo, Apache, Iroquois, Creek, Blackfeet, Seminole, Cheyenne, Arawak, Shawnee, Mohegan, Huron, Oneida, Lakota, Crow, Teton, Hopi, Inuit; 88. Missouri River, Mississippi River; 89. Pacific Ocean; 90. Atlantic Ocean; 91. Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam; 92. Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Alaska; 93. California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas; 94. Washington, D.C.; 95. New York (Harbor), Liberty Island (Also acceptable are New Jersey, near New York City, and on the Hudson River); 96. Because there were 13 original colonies, because the stripes represent the original colonies; 97. Because there is one star for each state, because each star represents a state, because there are 50 states; 98. The Star-Spangled Banner, 99. July 4; 100. New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas.
As an H-1B visa holder – H-1Bs are for skilled foreign employees working for U.S. employers, with the visa good for up to six years – you really aren’t entitled to unemployment insurance, and in fact you will be considered out of status the day after (if) your employment is terminated. Those without legal immigration status are not eligible to apply for unemployment.
The H-1B, as you say, was obtained for you from your current employer. The visa is employer-specific – in other words, you can only use it to work for the employer that acted as sponsor.
“I have a business idea that I would like to take to Ireland. I want to start a company there with my wife that I think would have potential, but my Irish roots go way back to Famine times. My wife’s great-grandparents were from Wexford – would that help us get a visa? What about if we had one of the certificates of Irish heritage?
“Would we be able to just go over there and start our business? I’m sure that we would need some type of visa, but I’m not sure what and would like some ideas on how to start. Is the Irish government making it any easier for foreign entrepreneurs to start up over there given the economic climate?”
Your question is very broad – what kind of business do you want to start, and how much money are you planning to invest? These questions are important, especially as they relate to what type of Irish visa you might be eligible for.
The Irish government provides plenty of assistance for those wishing to establish companies in Ireland. You should visit the website of Enterprise Ireland, the government agency responsible for attracting new start-ups, at www.enterprise-ireland.com. There is information there about possible financial and tax incentives for those creating businesses in Ireland.
“If this is true, how long will it take for my citizenship to be approved? And after that, how long before I am sworn in? I am worried about my green card expiring."
“Also, I have not worked in five years because of an illness. I am included on all of my husband’s tax returns. Do I have to show these tax returns to an immigration inspector, and if so, how many years do I have to provide?”
You will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship 90 days before the third anniversary of holding your green card – but not the third anniversary of your wedding date.
You say you were married on January 1, 2010, but you surely didn’t receive your permanent resident status on that date. If your green card is set to expire in March of 2013 then you must have received it in March of 2011.
Yes you will, as long as it was a once-off brush with the law. If you had multiple convictions your application for a visa would likely be denied.
You can still travel to the U.S. visa free using the visa waiver program. When completing the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) online form that all waiver travelers must complete before coming here, you’ll notice a question in the last section that asks if a traveler has ever been arrested or convicted of an offense or crime involving moral turpitude.
As someone who has taken several trips abroad with a child – my 12-year-old daughter, who does not share my last name – but without her father -- my husband – we have never encountered an issue with travel. Only once were we mildly questioned about our relationship by a CBP officer at Kennedy Airport, and when he saw the very strong mother/daughter resemblance he soon came to the conclusion that we had to be related.
“As I've only found this out recently, and because I was only a child with no control over the matter, I was wondering if it would be possible for me to renew or get a new green card? I'm hoping to move to America to live and work.
“I have an unrestricted Social Security number and I was wondering if it would be possible for me to get a job in America with this? Do many employers just accept a valid Social Security number? Would it be very difficult for me to get another green card? I've never had trouble with the law and have made visits to the U.S.”
There's a possibility that your expired green card could be reclaimed, but as you’ve since entered the U.S. as a temporary visitor instead of a permanent resident it will be difficult to lay claim to it.
Permanent resident status means exactly that – the holder must make the U.S. the primary place of residence in addition to complying with a number of other regulations, including U.S. tax laws.
"My parents lived illegally in America for roughly two years in the late 1980s before returning to Ireland. I was born in Boston in 1989, and I have an American passport which I am extremely grateful for. I also have a younger sibling born in Ireland, so basically I am the only one of my family who would be considered as legal over there. My parents would both like to return to the U.S. – they are 49 years old – and so would my sibling. I’m pretty sure that my American citizenship would be of use to them as far as legalization, but we’re not sure how to proceed. What do you think we should do?”
You are indeed fortunate to have been born here, and yes, your citizenship will be of benefit to your family, but it will take some time and effort to secure legalization, especially in the case of your sibling.
Because you are a U.S. citizen over 21 years old you will be able to sponsor your parents for a green card as an immediate relative, which means that the processing time will be significantly shorter, a matter of months as opposed to years provided that all requirements are met.
and download publication 519, “U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.”
So basically, more than 7,500 E-3s are untaken each year. If an E-3 Irish visa comes to pass, it’s a sure bet that the quota will be used.
It used to be true that nurses had an easier path to legal status here – actually, easier isn’t the correct word to use, but rather, there used to be a dedicated visa category, the H-1C, devoted solely for nurses.
The H-1C category was created in 1999 as part of an act called the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act. The category was designed specifically to address the shortage of nurses in designated disadvantaged areas throughout the U.S., including inner cities and some rural locations.
From the information you’ve provided in your letter, it’s probably going to be impossible for you to secure legal status here for your birth daughter, even though you are a U.S. citizen and the two of you have resumed contact after a presumably long period apart.
When your daughter was adopted at birth, at that time you would have surrendered all legal rights to her. Her adoptive parents are therefore her legal parents under the eyes of the law, and that includes U.S. immigration law.
“When you receive your New York driver license, you must surrender your foreign driver license to the DMV road test examiner. The local DMV office keeps your foreign driver license, and then destroys the license after 60 days. If you plan to return to your home country and use your foreign driver license, ask the road test examiner how to make sure that your foreign driver license is not destroyed. If you need to get your foreign driver license, go to the local DMV office where you applied for your NYS driver license,” the DMV website says.
Applications can only be lodged electronically via Form DS-5501, available only through the State Department’s DV website at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
The 50,000 green cards on offer for fiscal year 2013 are not – repeat, not – available to undocumented residents of the U.S. It’s quite usual around this time of year for immigration-related agencies and what not to offer services “guaranteeing” success in the lottery – some of the come-ons are particularly enticing, promising results no matter what the circumstances.
It is possible for people who awaiting processing in the U.S. to travel abroad using a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service document called advance parole – but in your case it would be extremely unwise to do this as you could jeopardize your future here if you leave without first being approved for permanent resident status through your marriage.
Advance parole is available for those who are adjusting status while in the U.S. from non-immigrant to permanent resident. While an adjustment of status case is pending, an applicant is not permitted to leave the U.S. without advance parole. Departing without parole is considered to be an abandonment of the case, and the applicant could be considered inadmissible when attempting to re-enter the U.S.
“I have almost completed my master’s studies in Ireland, and once I’m done I would like to emigrate to the U.S. I’ve familiarized myself with the general process of gaining a green card, but I was wondering how open are American employers to employing Irish people? I understand I need to be sponsored by an employer in America, but would many employers feel it worth the hassle to employ a person requiring sponsorship?”
It's a hard question to answer in general, but it’s safe to say that yes, there are U.S. employers willing to go through the process of sponsorship for foreign employees, even though the recession has taken grip here as well and native U.S. citizens are unemployed.
Yes, as you say the sponsorship process can be a hassle – we’ve done it here for Irish hires in the past, and the process can be quite involved, not to mention expensive between paperwork filing fees and lawyer costs.
You mention sponsorship for a green card, and as you say, you’d need an employer to initiate this process on your behalf. (There are cases where workers do not need to secure sponsorship to obtain a green card, but the applicant must have what’s known as “extraordinary ability” which definitely doesn’t apply for recent college grads like yourself.)
“I was reading on a website about a way that immigrants who are undocumented could get legal if they had been in the country since the 1970s. I didn’t do much research because it seemed ridiculous. Is this true? Why would such a law exist? It seems like it wouldn’t help anyone.”
Those who can avail of registry must have entered the U.S. prior to January 1, 1972 and have lived here ever since. At this point in time, 38 years on, it’s highly doubtful that registry provides a means to permanent legal status for anyone, but 60,000 people have become legal through the mechanism since 1985.