Be Careful About Traveling Too Long

Be Careful About Traveling Too Long

Be careful about traveling for too long outside the United States. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington DC. Last week, I had a citizenship interview in San Bernardino, California, and the officer was asking a lot of questions about travel. I found this very strange. We knew that the client had no trips outside of the United States for more than like two months. And as long as you’re under that six month rubric, it doesn’t really matter. And the officer though seemed very, very concerned about this. And he asked about almost every single trip. He wanted to know what the applicant was doing back in the home country. He wanted to know most importantly, whether they were working back in the home country. And so that was interesting because it shouldn’t really matter. In theory, you could have a green card, stay in the United States seven months out of the year and work back in the old country five months out of the year.

I don’t know why he was asking that. And if he’d made us think about it, I would’ve raised hell during the interview and sort of briefed it afterwards, but you don’t want to give them things to pick at. You don’t want to give them things to worry about. You don’t want to give them things to think about. You want your case to sail right through. You want your case to be smooth and easy. So working back in your home country could conceivably after of this interview cause you some kind of problems. I guess the theory is that maybe the person isn’t really residing in the United States and they’re wanting to know, hmm, is this person really actually working outside the United States? And are they therefore residing and therefore not really residing in the United States?

I don’t think there’s a subjectiveness to this. I think it’s an objective standard. Either you have the days in the United States or you don’t, and the fact that you’re working or spending time in your home country shouldn’t really matter. So I was perplexed by the officer asking about it, but of course, that officer has the keys to the kingdom. That officer has the benefit that we want to receive. So we made him happy and of course he approved the case. And in fact, in San Bernardino, they approve cases. And then they swear you in right then and there. So I just had to wait outside for a little bit due to COVID for my client to get sworn in. And that was an exciting thing. But I’m always looking for that angle, always looking for that little tidbit. So I thought I’d make this video to explain to you, just be careful with being outside the United States.

Obviously, you can’t spend more than six months outside the United States when you have that green card without causing trouble, unless you have that reentry permit. But even that doesn’t protect you from screwing up your status, perhaps if you’re wanting to apply for citizenship. So lots of moving parts, lots of things to think about, lots to worry about, but that’s why we make these videos. And that’s why we practice immigration law to help you sort of navigate through this complicated, complex process that you might not be able to do on your own, or you might be frustrated to do on your own. And so if you are frustrated or if you’d like our help, give us a call 314-961-8200. You can email us [email protected]

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