|New Consular Visa fees|
|Written by Caroly Pederson|
|Thursday, 12 April 2012 13:02|
The U.S. State Department has announced that U.S. consulate fees abroad for both Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas will change on April 13. The proposed changes include increase in fees for H, L, O, P, Q and R Non-Immigrant Visas from $150 to $190 and from $140 to $160 for most other Non-Immigrant Visas. E Visa application fees will decrease from $390 to $270, the Employment-based Immigrant Visa fees from $720 to $405, and the Family-based Immigrant Visa fees from $330 to $230. Finally, the Immigrant Visa fees, issued under the Diversity Visa Lottery program, will drop from $440 to $330.
You can read the list of all consular fees by visiting our website at www.ImmigrateToday.com, clicking on the link to our Weekly Immigration Newsletter.
Question: I got my green card in 2009 along with my mom when I was 20 years old, through sponsorship by my aunt. I have a question about whether I can give it up temporarily for a few years then get it reissued. I have a girlfriend in Canada with a serious drug criminal conviction that won't let her visit or immigrate to America. So I plan to go and stay there with her in Canada. Since I won't be living here anymore, my mom said I should ask you if you can help me get my residency suspended so that I can get it back later if I want it.
Answer: That is a great question about a very important issue. Let me start by saying that those who have gone through the residency process know how long and challenging it can be. And once that little plastic green card is issued, it can truly feel like winning the lottery. That is why it is so important to safeguard U.S. residency. Once an immigrant obtains U.S. residency, it can be lost in several ways, including "abandonment" (staying outside the U.S. for too long), certain illegal actions (as determined by an immigration judge) and through "voluntary surrender" (relinquishing residency by filing form I-407). Once U.S. residency is lost or surrendered, there is no way to get it back unless you begin the entire residency process again. In some cases, the same route to residency would not be available. For instance, in cases where U.S. residents obtained a green card through a U.S. citizen spouse, then later surrenders it, they are no longer eligible to obtain a green card again if they are no longer married to the U.S. citizen.
Thus you will not be able to temporarily suspend your residency, and then reactivate it later. If you do voluntarily surrender your green card and later decide to get it back, it will not be a quick process. You will need to be sponsored by a family member or employer. As the adult child of a U.S. resident (your mom), once she files a family petition to sponsor you, the waiting time is eight years (Family 2B category) as long as you remain single. However, if you later get married, your visa petition will cancel automatically, since there is no immigration category for married children of U.S. residents. Once your mother becomes a U.S. citizen, if she sponsors you and you are single, the waiting time is seven years (Family 1st category). If you later get married, you will move to the (Family 3rd category), where the waiting time is 10 years. A smart solution would be to wait until you obtain your U.S. citizenship (about two years), then move to Canada. Once you become a U.S. citizen, you can remain outside the U.S. as long as you like without jeopardizing your U.S. citizenship. To do this, you must be careful to stay physically inside the U.S. to accumulate enough time to be eligible for naturalization. You need to have at least two and a half years inside the U.S. to qualify.
If you decide you cannot stay inside the U.S. for long periods of time and instead stay in Canada, you should take steps to safeguard your green card. We can apply for your re-entry permit which will allow you to remain outside the U.S. for up to two years without losing your residency. However, you are not required to stay outside for two years and are free to travel in and out of the U.S. during the validity of the re-entry permit.
For more information about obtaining your re-entry permit, call our office at 954-382-5378 or visit our website at: www.ImmigrateToday.com, clicking on the link to our Weekly Immigration Newsletter.
** Contributions to this column are made by Attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American Immigration Law Center – Call 954-382-5378
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 April 2012 14:42|