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The latest immigration and visa news for the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and select European countries - straight from the leading immigrant advocates in the Philippines.

Abandonment of Green Card and international offices of the USCIS

As early as June 30, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will close its international offices to "maximize use of resources and reduce backlogs." See how the changes affect you.

Crispin Aranda

Abandonment of Green Card and international offices of the USCIS

CHANGES ON HOW TO ABANDON GREEN CARD, RESIDENCY STATUS

Today, May 31, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced changes on who, when and where a U.S. green card holder  may voluntary abandon his or her lawful permanent resident status.

The changes reflect the announced policy of the Trump Administration to close USCIS international offices - including that located at the U.S. Embassy in Manila – starting as early as June 30, 2019..

Closing international offices will “maximize resources and  and free up funds to help address growing backlogs,” Jessica Collins, an agency spokesperson, said. “This would be an administrative change to where the work is done and who the work is done by.”

The more than 20 offices abroad targeted for closing starts with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and then Manila, Philippines.

USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna informed all employees in March that arrangements are being made with the State Department regarding the transfer of duties.

International offices deal mainly with “international adoptions, family visa applications, petitions for citizenship for military members stationed in foreign countries, and citizenship applications, along with help on refugee processing and investigations of fraud.”

Overstaying Green Card holders in the Philippines and outside the U.S.

Current rules and court decisions redefined "admission," or when a nonimmigrant (holders of B-1/B-2, C-1D, F and M studetn visas, etc.) are considered applying to be admitted into the U.S.

A nonimmigrant presents a valid visa on his or her passport: A lawful permanent resident must present his or her permanent resident card (green card)  to the Customs and Border Protection, immigration officer at a US port of entry.

 Now, "permanent residents will not be regarded as seeking admission (and thus are not subject to the grounds of inadmissibility) unless they (1) have abandoned or relinquished their permanent resident status, (2) have been absent from the United States for a continuous period in excess of 180 days, (3) have engaged in illegal activity after their departure from the U.S., (4) have departed from the U.S. while in removal or extradition proceedings, (5) have committed a criminal or related offense identified in section 212(a)(2) (including "crimes of moral turpitude", drug trafficking, or prostitution), or (6) are attempting to enter at a place other than a designated port of entry or have not been admitted to the U.S. after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer. INA § 101(a)(13)(C)."

A green card holder who has been outside the US for more than  a year without a re-entry permit - and who has no intention of staying in the U.S. permanently may apply for a tourist visa.  However, to be issued a visitor visa, the lawful permanent resident should first officially abandon his green card status. The form to submit is the I-407.

Where to file. The I-407 Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Status is usually filed outside the United States.

The form instrucations say that “If you are in a location with a USCIS international field office: Submit Form I-407 in person or by mail to that office.

If the green card holder is in another location, the Form I-407 maybe mailed to the nearest USCIS international field office.

In very rare circumstances, a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate without a USCIS international field office may allow you to submit a Form I-407 in person if you need immediate proof that you have abandoned your LPR status.

While the form states that the LPR may submit Form I-407 to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at a U.S. port of entry, a green card holder who have been outside the U.S. for a year or more would have a difficult time traveling because airlines are required to ascertain the immigration status of a person going to the U.S.

In addition, the Bureau of Immigration in the Philippines is also aware and had arrangements with the U.S. Embassy and the USCIS to determine the admissibility of a green card holder before being allowed to board a plane.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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