Successful Green Card Renewal Case

Successful Green Card Renewal Case

  • Applicant: Mr. Rhine Heart
  • Nationality: German
  • Applying For: I-90 (green card renewal), Reentry
  • Challenges:
    1. Heart’s Permanent resident card had expired
    2. Heart has been recorded that he has been out of the U.S. for over 10 years
    3. Heart has very little ties to the United States
    4. Heart only spent a few weeks per year in U.S. and this has been noted by the CBP at the airport
    5. Heart needed to prove he had not abandoned residency when he enters with his expired green card or else he would have been deemed to have abandoned it


Ten years ago, Rhine Heart’s dream of owning a bakery in America suddenly came closer to reality when he learned he was the winner of one of the toughest lotteries in the world, the green card lottery. Every year, millions of prospective immigrants apply to the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, (aka the green card lottery) hoping to be part of a small group of lucky individuals granted permanent residency in the United States. In May of 2008, those fortunate few included Rhine, and soon after receiving his visa he took up residency in Long Beach, California. However, Rhine still needed to complete his education in Germany, and as a result, he would spend most of the year outside of the U.S.

Under U.S. immigration law, a permanent resident who spends more than six months outside of the United States is presumed to have abandoned their residency. The last time that Rhine returned to the U.S., he was warned that the government assumed he had abandoned his residence because he has been out of the country for over 10 years, and he would not be able to return again without proof that he was still intending to reside in America. To make matters worse, Rhine’s green card expired this year, meaning he did not have a legal document to allow him to go on the airplane. All at once, Rhine’s hopes for the future began to crumble. If he lost his green card, that would spell the end of his life here in America. Although he really didn’t establish roots in the U.S. he honestly had been trying for the past 10 years and now when he is finally ready the U.S. looks as if it will take his permanent residency away. He would almost certainly never win another green card lottery, since the odds of winning the green card lottery even once are next to zero, let alone twice. Desperate and unsure of how to proceed, he turned to Tsang & Associates for help, contacting us from Germany.


Working with Rhine over Skype, we consulted him on the best course of action to take for proving that he did not abandon the U.S. First, we presented a detailed account of his activities over the last ten years, showing evidence that he had spent that time earning multiple degrees that would aid him in his business endeavors in America. We also obtained letters from various business investors who affirmed they were investing in Derek’s company, thus verifying that he intended to open a bakery in California.

But our work didn’t end there. As Rhine was preparing to board his flight to California, he was detained at the airport and prevented from boarding because his visa had expired. As soon as we were informed of the situation, our team rushed to his aid and contacted the Supervisory CBP Officer at LAX directly. We argued that Rhine qualified for an exception provided for in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Carrier Information Guide that would allow him to enter the United States even with an expired visa. Finally, after hours of questioning, the officers let him board, and Rhine arrived safely in Los Angeles, where our team was waiting for him.


Once Rhine arrived at our office, we worked quickly and tirelessly to secure for him a renewed Green Card as well as a re-entry permit that would allow him to travel back and forth between the U.S. and Germany. After we successfully demonstrated that Rhine still intended to live and work in the U.S. and never abandoned his residency, both permits were granted. Today, Rhine and his family happily reside in Long Beach, California, where he continues to pursue his lifelong dream with full peace of mind.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity

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