Reentry into the U.S. After Reentry Permit Expired

Reentry into the U.S. After Reentry Permit Expired

  • Applicant: Mr. Kwan
  • Applying for: Reentry as Legal Permanent Resident
  • Case Type: Form I-131
  • Challenges:
    • Establishing good cause for absence from the U.S.
    • Finding appropriate legal challenge to denial of entry
    • Establishing intent not to abandon U.S. residence
    • Client had not lived in the U.S. for over a year and hasn’t filed taxes in seven years.



    The last few years had been painful for Mr. Kwan, and life was about to become even more complicated. First, his father died and then his mother became seriously ill. Mr. Kwan had established a good life for himself in Southern California. He had a good paying job as the International Director of a Los Angeles based import company and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. His parents had moved to La Paz, Bolivia in 2009 and he didn’t get to see them as often as he liked. When his father died, he was devastated. He wanted his mother to move in with him back in California, but she’d carved a life for herself in Bolivia. Now his mother was suffering from hyperglycemia, hypertension, vertiginous syndrome, and tenosynovitis. As an only child, Mr. Kwan was her sole source of aid. She required his help as a caregiver to make sure she met her doctor’s appointments and had basic comfort.

    A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) is allowed to travel outside the United States, but if the person is gone for over a year, a green card is no longer valid for reentry. Before departing for La Paz, Mr. Kwan wisely applied for and received a re-entry permit that would be valid until July 26, 2018. This gave him a two-year window to re-enter the U.S. as an LPR. Mr. Kwan suspected he might be gone for an extended duration and assumed two years would be adequate. Unfortunately, his mother’s medical needs became more complicated and lengthy. In fact, now he would need to travel with her to Taiwan to seek the care of a specialist. Mr. Kwan faced a difficult dilemma. If he went to Taiwan, he would not be able to return before his re-entry permit expired, but his mother needed him to help her travel. Of course, his mother’s care was his priority, but what would happen to his future in the United States if he lost his green card? Fortunately, Mr. Kwan turned to the immigration experts at Tsang and Associates for help.



    Tsang and Associates wrote a letter to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) explaining Mr. Kwan’s family situation and a request he be allowed to re-enter the U. S. as an LPR following his medical trip to Taiwan. When a citizen holding a green card leaves the country for over a year they consider the person to be abandoning their U.S. Citizenship. The letter addressed Mr. Kwan’s desire to maintain his citizenship along two lines: First, the letter would include exhibits corroborating Mr. Kwan’s stated reason for living abroad, which was caring for his ill mother because his father had died. The documents included the death certificate for Mr. Kwan’s father, his mother’s medical records, and his own birth certificate. Second, the letter needed to establish Mr. Kwan’s deep ties to the U.S. through financial and employment records. The exhibits included Mr. Kwan’s California driver’s license, his LPR card (obtained in 2013), U.S. bank statements, his 2012 I.R.S. tax filings, an employment verification letter, and Fidelity IRA investment statements. To establish Mr. Kwan’s kind heart, the letter included receipts for his monthly donation to World Vision International, a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.

    While Mr. Kwan had taken the prudent step of applying for a reentry permit in advance of his emergency medical trip to Bolivia, Tsang and Associates argued that even that step was not absolutely necessary with regard to established law. Under Matter of Kane, 15 I & N. Dec. 258 (BIA 1975) a permanent resident who has traveled outside the United States without (emphasis ours) applying for reentry permit is permitted to reenter. The letter closed with a kind request to allow Mr. Kwan to re-enter as an LPR.



    Upon his arrival at Los Angeles International airport, Mr. Kwan presented his package to the CBP officers. The package included the letter drafted by Tsang and Associates and the carefully selected supporting exhibits described above. Mr. Kwan faced a long round of questioning by CBP officers, but with excellent interview preparation by Tsang and Associates, Mr. Kwan faced the interrogation with confidence. We are happy to report Mr. Kwan’s reentry permit was approved, his mother’s condition has stabilized, and together they are enjoying a satisfying life back in Southern California.

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