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Maintaining Green Card while Studying Abroad

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Filed: Timeline

Hello! My wife has a green card but has been living with me while I have been studying abroad in the UK. My question concerns how to make sure we don't have a problem with maintaining her US permanent residency status.

We know that she needs to return to the US every six months to ensure that we don't have to prove that she hasn't abandoned her status. Unfortunately, the way the flights and various issues worked out, the most current stay abroad will be just over six months (by about two weeks), so the burden will be on us to prove that she hasn't abandoned her status. What will we need to do to prove that she hasn't abandoned? We don't have a residence in the States--we are both still university students that have been living in university accommodation since being married. We generally use my parents' address in forms that require a US address (i.e., bank accounts, taxes, etc.).

What documents would you recommend that we bring when reentering, in case the immigration officer asks us to prove that she hasn't abandoned her status? I presume we should bring the letter proving that I was studying abroad, as well as a letter from my college saying that she accompanied me. Anything else?

Also, should we hold onto these documents in case the issue is raised later on, when she's going for citizenship? Or will a successful reentry now close the issue of non-abandonment, meaning that we can throw away letters from my UK college after she reenters the country?

Thanks for your help!

Best,

Daniel

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She actually can leave the country for up to a year without needing any special permissions; however, if you have been traveling back every six months or so to merely maintain status, the CBP can and might decide that she has abandoned her status. How long have you been doing this? Is there a reason you didn't apply for a reentry permit?


AOS for my husband
8/17/10: INTERVIEW DAY (day 123) APPROVED!!

ROC:
5/23/12: Sent out package
2/06/13: APPROVED!

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Filed: Timeline

Only once. The entire study period was from last October until this June (just finishing up here). We went back to visit my parents in February. The problem is that I now have a summer internship that will keep us abroad until the beginning of September--within one year of the original time away, but just over six months from the last entry. Since we were positive that the entire stay abroad would be less than a year, we didn't bother with a reentry permit. In general, I don't think we'll have any problem proving that she didn't intend to abandon status: she merely accompanied me on a discrete study abroad program that was less than a year; my US-based academic program continues just as before when we return. I just want to know if there are any documents that might be useful to bring with us.

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