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Little_My

Leaving the country without a GC / I-551 stamp

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OK. I have read up a lot on this, so I do know that leaving the country after your GC interview without the physical green card in hand is advised against. However, here is our situation, and my question to follow..

Our AOS interview has been scheduled for July 20th. This is about 1-2 months earlier than I was expecting, as we filed in NYC in March, and I know many people who filed months before us are still waiting to get their interview appointments. So, we really were not expecting to get an interview this fast. Our bad.

Our religious marriage ceremony is taking place in Finland in the end of July, therefore I have to go there. I am flying out on June 20th, i.e. this monday. I have my AP, so I am good to go for now. I am flying back in for that interview with my husband, since we are not willing to risk all the trouble that might follow an attempt to re-schedule the interview appointment.

However, here is my question: If it seems like our interview goes well and we are approved, but for whatever reason the IO will not give me the I-551 stamp (I know sometimes they just will not issue those in the interview situation) can I leave the country without any trouble without the GC or I-551 stamp, as long as I have the card by the time I return? We have a friend flying from here to our wedding who could get my GC from my apartment and bring it with him to Finland, so we would not have to risk mailing it anywhere. My question is, would I run into any trouble leaving the country? If I remember correctly, they don't check for those documents when I'm about to head out at the airport here.

Yes, I know this is not ideal, but life rarely is. Maybe it was poor planning from our part, but I really looked into NYC timelines in detail before we filed in March, and did not think there would be any way we would get an interview before August. According to USCIS website, NYC is still processing I-485 petitions filed in October. this is the situation, and now we are trying to figure out a way to deal with it in the best way possible.


Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Thailand
Timeline

Little_My,

I was in the exact same situation as you a week ago. It's unlikely that they will give you a stamp on the same day as the interview, even if you are approved on the spot (if they do then great, but just be prepared in case they don't). Here's my advice: schedule an infopass appointment at the USCIS office for a couple of days after the interview. Assuming all goes well with the interview, your online status should change to "card production ordered" within a few days. Take a print-out of that page along with your travel itinerary to the infopass appointment and explain to the officer that you need an I-551 stamp as you don't have time to wait for the GC in the mail. I did this last week at the Los Angeles USCIS office and the officer was very understanding and gave me the stamp right away.

Best of luck!

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Filed: Other Timeline

Short answer: No!

The A.P. is only valid until your AOS petition has been adjudicated. After you had your interview, that's pretty much the case, save for a case review from a superior I.O. You cannot use the AP after the interview anymore and you cannot leave without a Green Card, whether in plastic or in ink form, as that would be seen as abandonment of your AOS petition.

It is rather unlikely that the I.O. will stamp your passport without incentive, just because they "mostly" don't want to commit to a decision, positive or negative, even if they are 99.99% sure that you are approved. However, if you bring documentation showing what dilemma you are in an present this after everything has been said and done, basically before you shake hands and thank the I.O., you may have a shot of an I-551 stamp right then and there, depending on whether you guys clicked or not. That's your one and only shot.


There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all . . . . The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic . . . . There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

President Teddy Roosevelt on Columbus Day 1915

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Well, I have to just hope my personal charm will do the trick then. Nothing I can do now but hope for the best I guess. What happens if for whatever reason they won't make a decision on the spot? Will my AP then continue to be valid until there is an official decision made on my case? I am scheduling an info pass appointment now to follow the interview, in case we get a green light from the IO but he/she won't give me the stamp on the spot. I'll of course bring all documentation with me to show our unfortunate dilemma and do all I can to get that stamp, but in case I don't, at least I will have the infopass scheduled for right after the interview. I am not expecting any trouble with the interview really, but I'd rather prepare for the worst than expect easy sailing with this process.


Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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f you bring documentation showing what dilemma you are in an present this after everything has been said and done, basically before you shake hands and thank the I.O., you may have a shot of an I-551 stamp right then and there, depending on whether you guys clicked or not. That's your one and only shot.

When I had my interview the officer took the AP and EAD and returned my passport without a stamp. I asked what would happen if I needed to leave the country in an emergency before the GC arrived. The officer said I could come in (via InfoPass I assume) and explain the circumstances and they would stamp me. This statement was delivered very casually, but that's what she said.

So though I'd agree it's best to argue for the stamp while you are in the interview if you already know you're going somewhere, my officer made it sound like there was a way to deal with this in the "limbo" period.


2010-11-18: sent AOS package to Chicago lockbox

2010-12-04: received NOA1 letters

2010-12-10: received biometrics appointment letter

2010-12-27: attended biometrics appointment

2011-02-04: Advance Parole receipt appeared online, in "Post-Decision Activity" state

2011-02-07: EAD receipt appeared online, in "Card/Document Production" state

2011-02-10: received Advance Parole letter

2011-02-11: notification of EAD activity, state: "Card/Document Production"

2011-02-14: notification of EAD activity, state: "Post Decision Activity"

2011-02-16: received EAD card

2011-02-28: received notice of interview

2011-04-05: AOS interview -- approved!

2011-04-13: received green card

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Filed: Timeline

Hello. You will be fine to travel with your AP following the interview. In my case, I was out of the country when my AOS was approved and the GC sent to my home. I re-entered using the AP with no problem whatsoever. I have read where others have done the same. If you do not get the stamp in your passport and you'd rather not go through secondary upon re-entry, have someone courier you the GC. Otherwise, you're good to go. Have a lovely wedding. :)

Short answer: No!

The A.P. is only valid until your AOS petition has been adjudicated. After you had your interview, that's pretty much the case, save for a case review from a superior I.O. You cannot use the AP after the interview anymore and you cannot leave without a Green Card, whether in plastic or in ink form, as that would be seen as abandonment of your AOS petition.

The above information is incorrect.

Moving thread from AOS to the Travel section.


iagree.gif

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Filed: Other Timeline

Hello. You will be fine to travel with your AP following the interview. In my case, I was out of the country when my AOS was approved and the GC sent to my home. I re-entered using the AP with no problem whatsoever. I have read where others have done the same. If you do not get the stamp in your passport and you'd rather not go through secondary upon re-entry, have someone courier you the GC. Otherwise, you're good to go. Have a lovely wedding. :)

The above information is incorrect.

Moving thread from AOS to the Travel section.

Krikit,

while I acknowledge that what you were able to do happens once in a while, I still believe that the AP becomes invalid once the AOS petition has been adjudicated. I'll look it up and get back with more information.


There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all . . . . The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic . . . . There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

President Teddy Roosevelt on Columbus Day 1915

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Hello. You will be fine to travel with your AP following the interview. In my case, I was out of the country when my AOS was approved and the GC sent to my home. I re-entered using the AP with no problem whatsoever. I have read where others have done the same. If you do not get the stamp in your passport and you'd rather not go through secondary upon re-entry, have someone courier you the GC. Otherwise, you're good to go. Have a lovely wedding. :)

Your scenario is slightly different from the one where the AOS approval happens at the conclusion of the interview and the AP documentation is confiscated. I'm not sure I'd want to travel on the presumption of continued AP status without the documentation itself.

That said I note the OP is asking this question and saying they won't return until the GC is in their hands, while in Finland. I guess that's different -- but does it count as an AP "event"?

Edited by Tempo House

2010-11-18: sent AOS package to Chicago lockbox

2010-12-04: received NOA1 letters

2010-12-10: received biometrics appointment letter

2010-12-27: attended biometrics appointment

2011-02-04: Advance Parole receipt appeared online, in "Post-Decision Activity" state

2011-02-07: EAD receipt appeared online, in "Card/Document Production" state

2011-02-10: received Advance Parole letter

2011-02-11: notification of EAD activity, state: "Card/Document Production"

2011-02-14: notification of EAD activity, state: "Post Decision Activity"

2011-02-16: received EAD card

2011-02-28: received notice of interview

2011-04-05: AOS interview -- approved!

2011-04-13: received green card

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Yeah, I know these seem to be muddy waters.. I guess what I am mainly asking is,

If the interview seems to go well, but for whatever reason I cannot get the I-551 stamp (obviously I will ask for it), will I be able to leave the country before the GC is physically in my possession, as long as I have the GC one way or another (courier or the friend I mentioned who could bring it physically) by the time I re-enter? I.E. will I have trouble at the point when I am at JFK attempting to leave? I know sometimes they take the I-94 card away, which would naturally pose a problem for me - but in that case, I assume we would probably be approved, and I could ask for that stamp. According to very recent reviews of NYC field office, they seem to give the stamps out pretty routinely.

If we are denied in the spot (unlikely, but who knows) I'll obviously have no issue in terms of leaving the country..

Also, if we did not receive a decision one way or another at the end of our interview or immediately after it, doesn't my AP continue to be valid until an official decision has been made? So in that case, wouldn't I definitely be able to leave without my application being considered abandoned? And then, if my application would be approved later, I could re-enter by getting that GC to Finland and having it in my hands when I come back.

And again, I am aware that this situation is far from ideal and advised against by many. But it is what it is. We'll just try to make it work somehow.. Ideally we'll be approved and I will get the stamp and be good to go.

Edited by Little_My

Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ecuador
Timeline
I still believe that the AP becomes invalid once the AOS petition has been adjudicated. I'll look it up and get back with more information.
Just as a postscript to what Bob & Krikit have written: I took Mrs. T-B. on a day-trip to Mexico. We had her AP form with us. She was processed back through POE by virtue of the AP form. While we were waiting and watching the CBP dudes poke around on the computer, I asked "Can you tell whether her green card has been processed yet?" The reply was "No; the computer doesn't tell us that." Little did we know that the green card was in the mail to us during that very time.

One would imagine that, even if CBP knew that the green card had been issued, they wouldn't keep the holder-to-be out of the U.S. if the holder reasonably couldn't have received it yet and had "only" the AP by which to enter.

Good luck to the OP -- let us know what eventuates, si man.

Edited by TBoneTX

06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Filed: H-1C Visa Country: Hong Kong
Timeline

Please do NOT try sending your GC out of the country by courier. We are abroad and just had our green card STOLEN out of the FedEx envelope by someone at Indian customs on its way here. The regional director of FedEx investigating our case also told us that Green Cards are on the list of banned items that cannot be sent out of the country, for this very reason.

If your GC arrives while you're abroad, sending it with a trusted family member/friend may be your best option.

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I would feel uncomfortable mailing my GC anywhere by any means, even with FedEx, though I have considered that as once option as well. If I get the stamp, the GC can wait for me here in the U.S. and I can return with the stamp without having to worry about getting the GC to me in Finland. If, however, I cannot get the stamp, and I get an approval notice some days after my interview, I will need to get the GC to me somehow. Luckily there is a friend coming from here to our wedding, who could bring the card to me with him, assuming it arrives here in time. That is the other wild card in this whole mess of ours - our interview is scheduled for July 20th, our wedding is on July 30th. If it takes about 2 weeks for the physical card to get here to my address, it might not even arrive before our wedding.

I am putting my hopes in getting that stamp. If not.. well. Then we will go to plans B-Z and hope one of them works out.


Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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