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Monthly Archives: May 2015

How Long & How Often Can I Travel Before I Lose My Green Card?

banner_img3As a legal permanent resident and green card holder, you may have many legitimate reasons for traveling outside of the U.S. such as serious family problems back home, caring for a sick relative or a young child, business trips, or returning to school to finish your education.

Unfortunately, having a green card doesn’t mean you can come and go as you please. Without understanding the general rules that govern how long or how often you can travel outside of the U.S., you could easily overstep the boundaries of your rights and jeopardize your permanent resident status. Even worse, you could be placed in abandonment proceedings, lose your green card, and be forced to return to your native country.

That’s why Sassoun A. Nalbandian recommends that green card holders consult with an immigration attorney before they leave the United States.

Abandonment Is a Complex Immigration Issue

Instead of having clear-cut guidelines, rules and regulations, abandonment is a very complex immigration issue that must be resolved case by case before an immigration judge. The main reason for its complexity is the fact that airport and customs officials and/or immigration judges don’t just look at how long you were outside of the U.S. They also look at your true intentions and the nature of the circumstances that kept you away longer than you originally anticipated.

What Circumstances Constitute Abandonment?

These are several examples of what can happen to you when you don’t understand the nature and limitations of your travel rights as a green card holder:

  • Can I travel, come back to the U.S. every six months for a few days, then travel again, thus repeating the cycle?
    It is not recommended. Immigration officials can make an abandonment of green card determination based on the fact that you have been outside of the U.S. for a longer period of time than inside.
  • Can I travel more than six months but come back in less than one year?
    Generally, green card holders who travel and return within one year are not likely to abandon their permanent residence. But if you are absent for more than six months continuously but less than one year, immigration officials can presume that you have broken your continuous residence for naturalization purposes. Therefore, you’ll need to wait four years and one month from the date of your return from your last trip of over six months before you can apply for citizenship. There are two exceptions to the rule:

    • You prove that you maintained your U.S. residence.
    • You show that your absence for over six months was beyond your control.
  • Can I leave the U.S. for longer than one year?
    Immigration officials will find you in abandonment of your permanent resident status unless you have a Re-Entry Permit, a document that allows you to be outside of the U.S. for a maximum of two years continuously. You will still have to wait four years and one month from the date of your return to the U.S. before you can apply for citizenship. There are three exceptions to the rule:

    • You only have to wait two years and one month to apply for citizenship if you obtained your permanent legal resident status through marriage to a U.S. citizen, and
    • You can apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa at the U.S. consulate in your native country where you’ll have more protection with abandonment issues than you would in your native country.
    • If you have been outside of the U.S. for over one year and your failiour to return to the U.S. was not your fault or you have sufficient documentation to prove that you did not intend to abandon your residence, you may be permitted to keep your green card.

Are You Facing Abandonment Proceedings?

If you or your loved one is outside the U.S. and afraid to return because of a lengthy absence, or you are already in abandonment proceedings, contact Nalbandian Law for immediate consultation. “Even if you are facing deportation,contact us immediately,” Mr. Nalbandian emphasized, “because it’s still not too late for us to help you keep your permanent resident status.”

Pay Special Attention to This Warning

If you arrive back in the U.S. unaware that you’re in jeopardy of being deported, you may REFUSE TO SIGN ANY PAPERWORK the immigration officials tell you to sign that states you voluntarily abandon your permanent legal resident status. You always have the right to request a consultation with your attorney before you sign any paperwork.
For over 15 years, Nalbandian Law has maintained a perfect success rate* with abandonment cases for permanent residents. “With affidavits and documentation, we were able to show that our clients’ sincere intent was not to abandon their permanent residence in the U.S.,” Mr. Nalbandian said.

Schedule a Consultation Today!

Even though, we highly recommend that you consult with us before you travel, we can still help you if you are facing abandonment proceedings. Call Nalbandian Law at (818) 244-0310 or contact us online for a personal consultation with attorney Sassoun A. Nalbandian.

*Approval rates do not guarantee future approval of your petition. No attorney can ethically guarantee any outcome. Always consult with a licensed, competent immigration attorney such as the experienced immigration attorneys at Nalbandian Law before filing your case.

Winning Your I-601 Hardship Waiver!

img_nalbandian_lawIf you are an alien who has been found to commit fraud or misrepresentation on any occasion in order to receive immigration benefits, you will need to file an
I-601 form to apply for a “hardship waiver” that will allow you to enter the U.S. or prevent you from being deported to your native country.

I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver Applications

The applicant must show that a qualifying member of his or her immediate family—who is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident—will suffer extreme hardship if the alien isn’t allowed to enter the U.S. or has to be removed from the U.S.

One example of extreme hardship is if the whole family would have to move back to their native country in order to be together. There are many other way in which you can prove extreme hardship.

Since immigration judges or USCIS officers make their decisions based on the merits of each case, they look carefully at the documentation of hardship that you provide. If the documentation doesn’t provide enough proof of hardship, your hardship waiver will be denied, unless you are able to establish the requisite extreme hardship through detailed affidavit from you and other key witnesses and/or credible, detailed in-court testimony.

The I-601 Form by Itself Is not Enough to Win Your Case

“Don’t assume that all you have to do is fill out the two-page form, and the judge or immigration officer will automatically approve your hardship waiver, because that simply won’t happen,” said Sassoun A. Nalbandian of Nalbandian Law. “It takes much more documentation than a simple form to convince the judge or immigration officer that your removal from the United States will cause extreme hardship to your loved ones.”

Nearly 100% Success Rate* with Hardship Waiver Approvals
Nalbandian Law, a Los Angeles immigration law firm, has an impressive track record of victories helping hundreds of clients get hardship waivers for their previous fraud and misrepresentation issues.
The key is in the documentation of the hardship situation, said lead immigration attorney Sassoun A. Nalbandian. Mr. Nalbandian gathers comprehensive, detailed information to present to the immigration judge, including:

  • Detailed psychological assessments of hardship from reputable psychologists that immigration judges respect and trust
  • Detailed affidavits from U. S. citizen or permanent resident family members who can attest to the hardship situation
  • Extensive Documentation – including country condition reports, medical reports, proof of economics conditions in the home country, proof of employment in the U. S., children’s report cards, and any other documents that other attorneys and/or our clients may not have considered important.

“Our goal is to impress immigration judges or officers with the documented strength and validity of our client’s hardship waiver case,” said Mr. Nalbandian.

Hardship Waivers Approved After Having Been Previously Denied

Many aliens come to Nalbandian Law after their hardship waivers were denied when other lawyers represented them. Most had legitimate reasons for applying for a hardship waiver, Mr. Nalbandian explained, but their ex-lawyer didn’t provide sufficient documentation to prove their case.

Here’s how one Nalbandian Law client felt after winning his hardship waiver case:

“Thank you, Mr. Nalbandian! My previous attorney prepared my I-601 fraud waiver, but it was denied. I lost all hope. Then I came to Nalbandian Law, and you prepared a new I-601 waiver packet and USCIS approved it. My hardship was the same as the time I was denied. The difference was Mr. Nalbandian’s expertise. He provided more details and documents about my hardship and helped me win my case.”

– M. Gomez, Client

Schedule a Consultation Today!

Call Nalbandian Law at (818) 244-0310 or contact us online for a personal consultation with attorney Sassoun A. Nalbandian. He’ll review your situation and explain how our long history of successes with I-601 extreme hardship waivers can work in your favor.

*Approval rates do not guarantee future approval of your petition. No attorney can ethically guarantee any outcome. Always consult with a licensed, competent immigration attorney such as the experienced immigration attorneys at Nalbandian Law before filing your case.

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Mr. Nalbandian was the lawyer who handled my wife's Green card case. Thanks to him everything went well and at very timely manner. I would recommend him with most confidence.

- Jose Garcia, CA