View Full Version : I-130 is Best way to File?
07-09-2011, 06:38 PM
I'm a US Born American Citizen. I am currently a volunteer missionary (with a missionary residence visa) in Nicaragua, Central America. Over the past 5 years I have supported myself by going back to the USA for 1 or 2 months out of every year to work & save up money to return to my residence in Nicaragua. In Nov 2009 I married a Nicaraguan man and it is our desire to continue to do the missionary work here in Nicaragua, however now we need to figure out the best way to get permission for him to enter the USA. He was granted a tourist visa for 2 weeks in 2010 (his first entrance to the USA), in the fall 2011 we wish to go again. We can apply for a 10 year tourist visa this time, but that will not give him the ability to work there with me.
Questions: If we apply for residency status using the I-130 form, how long can we legally stay outside of the USA each year? If we returned to the united states once a year for 1 or 2 months, would it be sufficient or will it cause problems where they could take away his residency?
If they took his residency away, would it mark his record permanently?
It is not our goal to remain in Nicaragua forever, but if we can find a way to support ourselves we would like to continue here at least a few more years.
Is there any other method of application that you would suggest that would help our situation?
Thank you for your time and assistance.
You might want to get some legal help. However, once a residency (Green card) is approved, that person must show intent to be a resident of the US. Hence the word: residency. If someone has no intent of residing here, then Immigration/CBP have the right to deny entry to that person as a resident. As rule of thumb, the GC holder needs to be physically in the US for at least 6 months out of a year. CBP will allow entry for absences up-to a year. Over a year, and you need to file for a special permit to re-enter the country again. Permission is granted up-to a max of 2 years. Longer absence simply implies that you have abandoned the US and have no intent of living in the US as a resident. I think if you work for an American co./Org or the Govt./Military and posted overseas you are allowed some extra relief. But you really need to talk to a lawyer. The safest bet is not to stay away for more than a year and stay in the country for at-least 6 months at a time. You spouse is actually eligible for a faster citizenship within 3 years. However I believe in that case your spouse needs to be residing in the US for 2.5 out of those 3 years. Talk to a good immigration lawyer.
07-10-2011, 10:43 PM
Deba, thanks for your response.
You know, its unfortunate for my plans, but what you explained sounds logical, I just haven't been able to actually find that information cited anywhere.
Volunteer missionary = poor, can't hire a lawyer.
Hoping I could at least find out what our options are from someone who knows the system.
Here's official information on the USCIS home page:
USCIS Home Page (http://www.uscis.gov) -> Green card -> Click on Travel outside the US
Basically, it states the same things discussed above. I had the same questions and explored the options. Not sure if you'd get any radically different answer. But worth a try.
As for legal help, there are a few avenues you might want to consider:
1. This forum regularly schedules free calls with lawyers. Though focussed on Employment based immigration issues, it is generally open to other questions. You get a chance to ask the attending lawyer about options.
2. Ask a lawyer directly. Many lawyers are willing to work pro bono. In your case it is a situation for clarifying some technicalities on the time of residence required after the green card is issued. So, may not be a complex immigration case. Explain that you are a missionary and would appreciate some time to discuss your situation. I'm sure there are many that'd be ready to help.
3. Free Immigration clinics held by churches/community orgs. A word of caution: If you are going to any of these, be careful about who you talk to and their immigration law related credentials on offering advice. You may not always find an actual attorney, sometimes para legals and such are not knowledgeable enough to answer specific questions.
Hope that helps. Good Luck.
vBulletin® v3.7.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.