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Green Card
Can I leave the country while my case is pending?  Nat
  CT 
   Hello everybody! I applied for the removal of conditions about 1 year ago. I haven't received my new Green Card yet, and because of the increased waiting period, chances are that I will have to wait another year or so. I 've had a stamp put in my passport which serves as a temporary evidence of the lawful admission to the US. I have been also told that I don't have to wait for my case to be approved in order to travel abroad,since this stamp allows me to do so and to return to the US while my case (I-751) is pending. My question is whether the stamp in my passport is good enough for the Russian customs, or do I have to have the actual Green Card in order to prove my permanent residence in US? What are the chances that they won't let me go back to the states without having the actual GC? Who had a similar situation? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
   Katya
  Tampa 
   Response for: Nat at 3/23/2004 9:16:00 AM
I have exact same stamp and case pending right now. You can leave the country but it is very likely you won't be able to come back. By the way BCIS is already working on cases filed April 2003. My strong suggestion is not to leave the country until desicion is reached on your case, or they can automaticly deny you.... You can get Advance parole and still it is very risky.
   Nat
  CT 
   Response for: Katya at 3/23/2004 9:21:00 AM
To Katya: My service center is currently working on cases filed on or before August 2002. I filed my application on April 10, 2003, which means that my case has not reached them yet. Besides, I have been told at the INS office that most likely, I won't receive my Green Card until March, 2005. Generally speaking, it takes up to 3 years now to remove the conditions on residence. When you say " they can automatically deny you...", do you mean Russian customs or US immigration officials? Thank you for the reply. To everybody else: Did anybody travel to Russia without getting the actual GC but having the stamp only? Who has the experience dealing with the Russian customs?
   Orbins
  Houston 
   Response for: Nat at 3/23/2004 10:25:00 AM
From my experience of a former 9 year long green card traveller, passport control women used to ask me to show GC as an evidence that I can enter US in mid-90s, but then they stopped asking to show GC. After all, airline will check you first when you check-in, they would probably pay if you get on the plane without lawful admission documents (such as GC). I'd say that at least in Moscow, passport control became more liberal in the past 10 years.
   Katya
  Tampa 
   Response for: Nat at 3/23/2004 10:25:00 AM
You won't have any problems going to Russia it is coming back what is a surprise. US customs may not let you back in. Auto denial... Especially if you are travelling without your husband. The best thing is to wait trust me. After 9/11 things had changed.
   Nat
  CT 
   Response for: Katya at 3/23/2004 12:51:00 PM
>>You won't have any problems going to Russia That was not my question. My question was: "Will I have any problems LEAVING Russia?" it is coming back>> what is a surprise. US customs may not let you back in. As far as I know, the stamp in my passport ("processed for I-551...") serves as a temporary evidence of the lawful admission as a permanent resident. Are you trying to say that the US customs don't comply with their own rules? Auto denial... Especially if you are travelling without your husband. >> How can that happen if my case is in their computer system? All they have to do is to punch in my alien number and they'll see that my case is pending. Besides, I had no idea that the presence of my husband somehow affects the decision of a US customs officer to let me back in. :) Well, in case it does, he'll be waiting for me at the airport anyway. I appreciate your time and effort, Katya. >>The best thing is to wait trust me. After 9/11 things had cha >>nged.
   Katya
  Tampa 
   Response for: Nat at 3/23/2004 1:44:00 PM
Nat, You won't have trouble going to and leaving Russia. You MAY have trouble passing customs with your stamp in a passport. BCIS website states: " It is strongly suggested that you obtain ADVANCE PAROLE when traveling outside of USA while your case is pended. Failure in obtaining one can result in your automatic denial of your pending case and deportation." If you want to travel with a stamped passport - go ahead. I DO NOT SUGGEST that you go though.... get Advance Parole to be on safe side. Also see here: The Immigration and Naturalization Service urges all aliens with pending applications for adjustment of status or change of nonimmigrant status to consult with an immigration attorney or an immigrant assistance organization accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals before making any foreign travel plans. Q1. What is Advance Parole? A1. Advance Parole is permission for certain aliens, who do not have a valid immigrant visa, to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad. Such aliens must be approved for Advance Parole before leaving the United States. If they have not obtained Advance Parole prior to traveling abroad, they will not be permitted to re-enter the United States upon their return. Q2. Who needs Advance Parole? A2. Aliens in the United States who have an emergent personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad and who have: An application for adjustment of status pending; Been granted benefits under the Family Unity Program; Been granted Temporary Protected Status; or An asylum application pending. Note: Aliens holding valid H-1 (temporary worker in a specialty occupation) or L-1 (intra-company transferee) visas and their dependants who have filed for adjustment of status do not have to file for Advance Parole as long as they maintain their non-immigrant status. Note: An alien who has been admitted as a refugee or has been granted asylum does not need to obtain advance parole, but will require a Refugee Travel Document in order to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad. An application for a Refugee Travel Document must be filed on INS Form I-131, as described in A4 below. Q3. Who is not eligible for Advance Parole? A3. Aliens in the United States are not eligible for Advance Parole if they are: In the United States without a valid immigration status, The beneficiary of a private bill, Under removal proceedings, for Admitted as a nonimmigrant. Q4. How does one obtain Advance Parole? A4. In general, an alien must file INS Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document, complete with supporting documentation, photos and the fee. Since filing procedures vary among INS District Offices, applicants for Advance Parole should contact their local INS office for specific directions. Information on how to locate and contact your local District Office as well as copies of Form I-131 can be found on the INS Web site at www.ins.usdoj.gov. Forms also can be requested using INS’ toll-free forms request line 1-800-870-3676. Q5. Does Advance Parole or a Refugee Travel Document guarantee admission into the United States? A5. No, Advance Parole or a Refugee Travel Document does not guarantee admission into the United States. Aliens who have obtained Advance Parole or a Refugee Travel Document are still subject to the INS inspection process at the port of entry. Q6. Can travel abroad still have severe consequences for certain aliens, even if they have obtained Advance Parole? A6. Yes, due to changes to U.S. immigration law, travel outside of the United States may have severe consequences for certain aliens who are in the process of adjusting their status or changing their nonimmigrant status. Such aliens may be found inadmissible to the United States upon return and/or their applications for adjustment or change of status may be denied. Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, aliens who depart th
   Katya
  Tampa 
   Response for: Katya at 3/23/2004 12:51:00 PM
Here, some more. Even though your case is pended and even when you can obtain ADVANCE PAROLE/RE_ENTRY PERMIT, Still!!! note that a re-entry permit does not guarantee admission into the U.S. CAUTION: Due to recent changes to U.S. immigration law, travel outside of the United States may have severe consequences for aliens who are in the process of adjusting their status, extending their nonimmigrant stay, or changing their nonimmigrant status. Upon return, these aliens may be found inadmissible, their applications may be denied, or both. It is important that the alien obtain the proper documentation before leaving the U.S. Admission into the U.S. is not guaranteed. In all cases, the alien is still subject to immigration inspection at a port of entry to determine whether the alien is admissible into the country. Conditional residents use re-entry permits to re-enter the U.S. after travel of one year or more. For conditional residents returning to the U.S., re-entry permits are generally valid for two years from the date of issuance of the re-entry permit or until the date the conditional resident must apply for the removal of conditions, whichever comes first. The conditional resident should apply for this benefit before leaving the U.S. Please note that a re-entry permit does not guarantee admission into the U.S. Aliens with re-entry permits are still subject to the inspection process at the port of entry. It is also important to note that travel outside of the U.S for more than one year will under most circumstances break the continuous residence requirement for later naturalization purposes. Travel for over 6 months may break the continuous residence requirement. See Section 316 (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
   Nat
  CT 
   Response for: Katya at 3/23/2004 3:24:00 PM
To Katya: I don't mean to offend you, but I got the impression that you don't quite get the picture. It's not enough to merely find the law, what's important is to interpret the law and to see whether or not it applies in a particular situation. At first, you said that I might need an Advance Parole in order to be admitted back to the states. Well, why don't you read carefully the law that you're citing: Q:Who needs an Advance Parole? A:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Read carefully and tell me what category do I fall into? The answer is none of the above. See, the thing is that there is a big difference between the term " Adjusting one's status" and "Removing the conditions on residence", which you don't seem to understand. My status had been already adjusted when I got my first GC. In other words, my status was changed from the non-immigrant to the immigrant. if I wanted to travel to Russia while waiting for my FIRST GC, I would need to apply for a travel document, without which I wouldn't be allowed to return to the states. So, can you show me the law that holds it that if a conditional resident waiting for I-751 to be approved and having a stamp (which serves as an evidence of lawful admission) leaves the country he/she won't be admissible? Now, read carelly section CAUTION and tell me which category my case falls into: 1. Am I in the process of adjusting my status.- No, I am not. It was adjusted long time ago. 2. Am I extending my immigrant stay? -No, I am not. 3. Am I changing my nonimmigrant status.- No, I am not. As far as re-entry permit is concerned, I don't need it either because I don't intend to stay in Russia formore than 1 month.
   Katya
  Tampa 
   Response for: Nat at 3/24/2004 10:02:00 AM
Nat , I was trying to help. If you do not agree with me or the law and do not like to obtain travel document this is fine with me. I am not the one who plans to travel. Seems like you just don't like my aswer. In any case - Good luck.
   Nat
  CT 
   Response for: Katya at 3/24/2004 10:17:00 AM
To Katya: Thanks for your desire to help and your active participation in this matter. Unfortunately, I don't know how to explain to you that I DON'T NEED A TRAVEL DOCUMENT to travel to Russia, because my stamp serves as a travel document. A travel document is necessary for those who haven't received their FIRST GC YET. Anyway, that was not my question. Your arguments are not convincing, because they are not based on anything, but your own opinion. One's arguments should be based either on practical experience or on the knowledge of the subject matter. The law that you are citing here doesn' t apply in my case. Also if you don't believe me, call 1-800-375-5283 and ask them if a person waiting for I-751 to be approved can travel abroad and what documents he/she needs in order to be admitted back to the states.
   Katya
  Tampa 
   Response for: Nat at 3/24/2004 2:20:00 PM
Nat, I guess you answered your own question then. What was the reason for the post? Debate? Wasting time? You asked I answered.... It's not who believes who. When it comes to BCIS - it is up to them. Immigration law changes fast. They are always right. Yours and my discussions are not going to help you when they don't want to let you back in. If they will let you back in - hey, a flag in your hands, hurrah! If my argument is not convincing, I am sorry - as I was not arguing or trying to convince anybody here. I shall leave this subject alone.
   Татьяна
  Deland 
   Response for: Nat at 3/23/2004 9:16:00 AM
Hello, Nat, what about your Russian passport - it should be good enough for you to go through the customs in Russia. And really you yourself answered your question - you already got your first GC, so it's not a problem for you any more to travel outside US. I also was interested a lot about getting as much information as possible about traveling outside US. I didn't find any kind of warnings for people who already have got GCs especially if you are going to stay in Russia for a short period of time. The only limitations are about the time you are going to stay in Russia, you can read more about that here http://www.rusnetusa.com/reference/showart.asp?idref=288 Good luck.
   Nat
  CT 
   Response for: Татьяна at 3/24/2004 10:30:00 PM
Tatyana, Katya, Orbins, thank you very much for all your help.
   joy
  NY 
   Response for: Nat at 3/25/2004 9:57:00 AM
Nat, PLEASE, tell me if you had problems to come back. I have the same situation and can't find nobody who actually travel in this period. Thank you in advance!
   Nat
  CT 
   Response for: joy at 5/22/2004 3:20:00 AM
To Joy: I have just returned from Russia and I did not have any problems coming back. On my way back from Moscow to NY when I was going thru the first passport control the customs officer looked at the stamp in my passport and she knew right away what the stamp meant. She said : "You are in the process of getting your second Green Card, aren't you?" I said: "that's exactly right, I'll be getting it soon". So she let me go. When I was going thru the second passport control I was asked to show my expired GC which I didn't have ( because it had been taken away by the immigration officer in Hartford when I was getting the stamp ), so I explained to them that you normally have to surrender your expired GC when you get I-551 stamp. They actually didn't need my explanation, because they turned out to be rather knowledgeable and very familiar with the process. So I didn't have any problems at the SVO airport whatsoever. There was a little confusion, however, in Paris where I had to switch planes. A girl at the passport control had never seen that stamp before, so she had to call a supervisor who looked at the stamp and told her that it was OK and that the stamp was the same as GC, so I didn't have to explain anything to them. At JFK passport control the customs officer looked at my passport, at the stamp, punched in my alien number into the computer, smiled at me and said : "Welcome back!" So, as you see there is nothing to worry about. My experience proves that one can travel abroad and be admitted back to US while I-751 is pending! So good luck, everybody! If there are any more questions, I'll be glad to help .
   joy
  ny 
   Response for: Nat at 6/9/2004 3:06:00 PM
Nat, spasibo! Moj myz nastaivaet chto mne nyzno sdelat' travel passport, a mne kak to sovsem ne hochetsja platit 186 dollarov kogda eto ne nyzno. Pytajs' ego ybedit' chto menja vypustjat iz Ukrainy. Have a wonderful day!
   Lev Kobrin
  Miami 
   Response for: joy at 6/11/2004 4:59:00 AM
Откуда такая цена - 186 дол.? Трэвел паспорт сегодня стоит 165дол.
Лев Кобрин - имя, которому верят!!!
 
 
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