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Thread: NZ PR and US Greencard?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Question NZ PR and US Greencard?

    Bit of a shot in the dark with this post.

    Curious if anybody has firsthand experience of having PR here in NZ, while successfully maintaining a valid US greencard.

    From what I've been reading, if you file US taxes and don't leave the US for more than a year at a time, you might be fine (if the officer is having a good day). However, just wondering if they see that you have NZ PR, that perhaps they might read that to mean that your intent is to permanently reside outside the US, and revoke the greencard.

    I've read elsewhere that in order to prove that your intent is to live in the US, you need to spend at least six months a year there.

    Can anybody speak from experience?

  2. #2
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    That's about right, I think. If you don't stay in the States min. of six months you may loose the permanent residency status.
    To protect your self you can apply for citizenship after 5 years, so you donít have that this problem.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by swissmissdesigner View Post
    That's about right, I think. If you don't stay in the States min. of six months you may loose the permanent residency status.
    To protect your self you can apply for citizenship after 5 years, so you donít have that this problem.

    Thanks swissmissdesigner! Didn't expect a post so soon. Your post prompted me to try and narrow down my google search.

    This website seems to clarify some things, but also raises more 'what if' questions for me. Suppose I need to seek legal council either way.

    http://immigration.findlaw.com/articles/2897.html


    As a general rule, if you have a green card and leave the United States for more than one year, you may difficulty reentering the country. That is because the U.S. government feels that an absence of longer than one year indicates a possible abandonment of U.S. residence. Even if you do return before one year is up, you may run into trouble. To avoid a full-scale inspection, you should return within six months.

    On the other hand, remaining outside the United States for more than one year does not mean you automatically lose your green card. If your absence was intended from the start to be only temporary, you may still keep your permanent resident status. However, you may no longer use your green card as a U.S. entry document. You must have what is known as a reentry permit, or you must apply at a U.S. consulate for a special immigrant visa as a returning resident.

  4. #4
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    I remember going through customs at the Mexico/US border back in the early 1980's. I had a British passport with both my Canadian and US "green cards" in it. (They weren't stamps in the passport, but I kept the card/papers in the passport.) The US customs officer did NOT like the fact that I had a Canadian green card and a US green card, and tried to make a big deal about it. After a while I finally got his supervisor to say that the Canadian green card was considered "invalid" since its date was before the US green card.

    So, the US might not be happy about seeing a New Zealand PR sticker in your passport. If you plan on coming back to the US I would make sure that the New Zealand PR sticker doesn't "invalidate" the US green card.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfordjasiri View Post
    The US customs officer did NOT like the fact that I had a Canadian green card and a US green card, and tried to make a big deal about it. After a while I finally got his supervisor to say that the Canadian green card was considered "invalid" since its date was before the US green card.

    So, the US might not be happy about seeing a New Zealand PR sticker in your passport. If you plan on coming back to the US I would make sure that the New Zealand PR sticker doesn't "invalidate" the US green card.
    Thanks for that sfordjasiri. That's exactly the sort of thing I was afraid of. Sounds like things are vague enough, that the officer could really do whatever he feels like. From past experience, that vagueness doesn't usually work in my favor.

    I would imagine their eyebrows would curl up even more if I got NZ citizenship ...

  6. #6
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    I called the US consulate in NZ after I arrived to try to sort out what to do with my green card. I had no plans to live in the US again and had NZ PR, so I just asked what to do with my green card. They sent me a form to apply to give up my green card, which I did. But I think they also told me that after a year, I would lose it anyways. I had my green card for over 4 years, so I might have been able to finagle (sp?) my citizenship somehow by waiting for the 5 year mark before (less than one year in NZ). But I just didn't see any advantage to having US citizenship. I have Canadian citizenship and work as an engineer so I have no trouble getting a TN visa if I want to work in the US. And filing US tax returns every year for the rest of my life just didn't sound like a lot of fun.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Howie. Sounds like you're set. I think it's in theory possible to apply for extension if you're going to be gone for more than year, but if you're found to have spent less than 2 years in the last 4 in the US, you'd lose it regardless.


    Reentry Permits

    Reentry permits are for people who hold green cards and know in advance that they must be outside the United States for more than one year. Under such circumstances, USCIS can allow you to stay away for up to two years. You should send in your application before leaving. Use Form I-131, available on the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov . If approved, a reentry permit will be issued and will serve as an entry document when you are ready to return.


    Too bad no such thing as IRRV for US. I like to keep my options open. :-)

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