Green Card Holder Stranded Outside the US Due to COVID-19

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As more and more individuals have found themselves stranded outside the US due to COVID-19, the question for permanent residents is more than mere inconvenience.  A US legal permanent resident is bound by fixed time frames. Specifically, an absence from the US of more than six months consecutively may lead to a presumption of an abandonment of US residence. An absence from the US of more than 1 year may impact the validity of the I-551 green card. In the latter situation, US law provides for a special visa: SB-1 Returning Resident Visa.  The SB-1 process actually involves two steps: at the nearest US consulate, the permanent resident submits 1) a DS-117 application to determine whether he or she meets the SB-1 criteria, and if approved 2) an immigrant visa application to determine whether the individual is admissible to the United States.  For the SB-1 part of the process, the…

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Trump Executive Order Bans Most Immigration for 60 Days

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Regardless of country, President Trump has banned immigration of those outside the United States as of midnight on April 23, 2020.  This means that a) those seeking admission to the US as immigrants, b) are located outside the US and c) do not yet have an immigrant visa or a travel document valid beyond April 23, 2020 are banned entry to the United States for 60 days.  There are certain classes of individuals that this ban does not apply to, i.e., they are exempted: 1) those who are green card holders (lawful permanent residents); 2) those applying for adjustment of status within the United States; 3) EB-5 immigrant investors and their dependents; 4) certain medical professionals; 5) spouses and children under 21 of US citizens; and 6) other narrow categories (e.g., those entering for law enforcement or national security purposes; certain relatives of US Armed Forces members; certain Iraqi and…

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FAQ on New Public Charge Rules – Part 1: Trouble ahead for Older Immigrants, Diversity Lottery Winners, and Immigrants without Job Offers, English Skills, or University Education

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What are the new Public Charge Rules? Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act makes inadmissible immigrants who are “likely at any time to become a public charge”.  Practically speaking, in the past, if the sponsor in the United States had sufficient income (more than the poverty level) or assets, then the immigrant successfully received the visa or adjusted status. Now, the focus will be on the immigrant him or herself. The examiner will consider the personal circumstances of the immigrant: is it likely that he or she will become a public charge at any time in the future?  The circumstances to be reviewed include age, health, family size, financial resources, education and skills, and sponsor.  In short, this rule will adversely impact the elderly or soon-to-be-retired; those with medical conditions; the less educated; those with large families; those with few job prospects in the United States; those who…

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