Answers provided by Immigration Attorney: Caroly Pedersen
Question: Hi there, I am contacting your office about getting my Green Card back. I used to live in the U.S. and was married to a citizen, then once we divorced, I moved back here to Jamaica and turned in my green card in so I could have my US Visa instead. My American born kids are all grown and I have been remarried for some 10 years now, so my wife and I were thinking to immigrate to the U.S.. I assume I can easily just get my Green Card back now that I am ready to live in the U.S., but my concern is for my wife. Will she be able to immigrate along with me. My kids are ready to help, so I need to know what is our first step, thanks.
Answer: That’s a great question. Once a U.S. Resident formally “relinquishes” (gives back) a Green Card at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the officer usually requires that State Department form I-407 be signed, abandoning all rights to Residency. When this is done, all U.S. Residency status is lost and any desire to obtain Residency again requires a whole new application process. However, in order to qualify for U.S. Residency again, the immigrant must still have a legal basis for eligibility, for instance, being married to a U.S. Citizen, or being sponsored by a U.S. Citizen child, parent or sibling, since there is no way to apply solely on the basis of requesting the old Green Card status again.
As long as at least one of your U.S. Citizen children is age 21, they can sponsor you for your Residency (Green Card). The process takes about 8-12 months. If you and your present wife were married before the U.S. Citizen child sponsoring you turned age 18, then that child can sponsor your wife separately as well, as a “step parent”. However, if the child was age 18 or over when you and your current wife married, then you will need to wait until you receive your U.S. Residency, then you can sponsor your wife. The current waiting line for a visa as the Spouse or Minor Child of a U.S. Resident (Greencard holder) is 1 ½ to 2 years.I will email you a list of the documents and information I will need to get started on your case.
Question: My son lives in New York and he just became a U.S. Citizen last month. I have lived down here in Florida for many years after coming to the U.S. to visit as a tourist and then overstayed. My question is whether my son can still file immigration papers for me, even though I have overstayed for many years and if so, do I have to move up to New York in order to qualify or can I stay down here in Florida. Thanks.
Answer: Under Immigration regulations, Parents/Spouses and Minor children of U.S. Citizens are “Immediate Relatives” and as long as they entered the U.S. legally (meaning being inspected by an immigration officer), then even if the I-94 period of stay expires and they become “out of legal status”, they can still obtain U.S. Residency through their U.S. citizen child (age 21 or older). Since you live in Florida, we would be filing your Residency petition using your Florida address. Parents are not required to live at the same address as their sponsoring children. However, if you are scheduled for a residency interview, your son may have to travel to Florida to accompany you. The USCIS waives Interviews for many parents, although that trend may be reversed under Trump.