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Immigration Issues/wifes expired residency and visiting the US

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Question
Hi,
My wife is Argentine, she studied in the US and had a Green Card issued in 1991 and had full permanent residence status, the card itself expires in 2011. We lived in the US (I was working under an L1B) and left in 2003 to work in a variety of locations overseas. We now want to take a trip back to the US, primarily for an interview for myself. (I am a British citizen and would be employed under an L1B , but thatīs not my question here).

My understanding is that her residency expired one year after we left the US as she did not file any paper work stating she would be out the country, and the green card expiry date is not relevent.
I assume to reenter the US for a short trip she would just need to apply for a regular tourist visa at the local embassy.
Does having an expired residency cause any problems for this?
Does an expired residency have any implications on an L1B and spouse L1B application?

Thanks very much for your time
Duncan  

Answer
It sounds to me like you have a thorough and complete understanding of the situation. As for whether or not her prior Permanent Resident Visa will cause her problems when applying for a tourist visa, I do not know. Frankly, the consulate applications are a bit like some sort of religious ritual. They have rules and procedures they are supposed to follow, but since there is no appeal from adverse rulings the officers have virtual carte blanche on who they want to approve and how they do it. I cannot imagine how having an abandoned greencard would cause trouble, but if the officer believes that makes her, and you, more likely to overstay your tourist visa because your "true intent" is to immigrate back to the USA, then the visa will be denied.

The most important thing to remember about applying for a tourist visa is that it is very similar to applying for a loan at the bank. At the bank if you really need the money you will never get the loan. Banks only loan money to people who do not really need the money. The tourist visa is the same way. You have to look like someone who really doesn't want to go to the USA. You have to prove that you have substantial connections and reasons outside the USA to return home after your brief visit to the USA. If you look like someone who is going to get the visa, come to visit, and never leave, your visa application will be denied.

Best of luck.  

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Alexander J. Hay

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I am a U.S. lawyer with offices in Houston, Texas and in Belize. I can answer questions on U.S. Immigration, U.S. corporate law, and Offshore Tax and Asset Planning.
If you are on an H or L visa I am NOT GOING TO ANSWER your questions since they are usually highly fact oriented, and also you have a company attorney handling the whole thing. Call your own attorney please! If you disregard this request, don't be surprised if I answer with "homework question".

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I am a U.S. attorney with offices in the United States and Belize. I have experience helping to protect assets, reduce taxes, and improve investment performance by utilizing global investment techniques.

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Harvard University, A.B. degree; University of Houston Law Center, J.D. Degree; Fulbright Scholar

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