What are the chances of getting a green card back?
August 17, 2009 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Several years ago a friend willingly surrendered his Permanent Resident Alien card in the United States. Now he wants it back. What are his options?

This friend spent most of his life in the United States, but his family decided to return to Brazil for him to attend high school. He returned to the States three years later to attend college, but he never completed his degree. He returned to Brazil, and willfully surrendered his green card in 2004, because he knew that he was not going to be living in the States anymore, nor would he be visiting often.
....Until now. The boy has seen the light, and wants desperately to return to the States and finish his degree. In fact, he is here right now, on a regular old tourist visa. Currently, he is pursuing an I-20 student visa, but is also researching the possibility of recovering his permanent resident alien status. Can anyone tell me if this is possible, and perhaps provide me with a few resources?
posted by msali to Law & Government (8 answers total)
Not a lawyer, not an immigration expert, not a US State Dept. Consular or Visa office, but a former Green Card holder, now a naturalized citizen.

From what I recall of what I was told many years by a friendly US Consular official though, if you give up your green card either voluntarily or by staying out of the USA you have to restart the process all over again form the very beginning and you are treated as a brand new applicant. I was told your prior status as a former green card holder has no bearing or influence on the new application process. This was a long time back though (20 years +) and I have no doubt things have changed somewhat since then.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 8:31 AM on August 17, 2009

msali, contact David Price (D-NC)'s office. I know they've helped a friend of mine with her husband's visa. I have no idea how willing/able they'd be to look into the situation of a friend of yours, but if he has relatives still here, they could contact their legislator.
posted by Stewriffic at 8:43 AM on August 17, 2009

My wife was a former green card holder and recently reapplied. She had to start the whole process over again and her former status as a green card holder didn't seem to help or hinder anything.
posted by gfrobe at 8:44 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

My understanding is similar to the other answers here. Once you've given it up (or have been out the country for more than a year?) you have to start the whole process again.
posted by ob at 9:55 AM on August 17, 2009

Currently, he is pursuing an I-20 student visa, but is also researching the possibility of recovering his permanent resident alien status.

Incidentally this is called "dual intent" and it's a no-no. To apply to be a non-immigrant you can't be intending to be an immigrant, so applying to be a non-immigrant while intending to be an immigrant is grounds for denial of the F-1 and therefore (because he applied under false pretenses) grounds to deny the green card.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:44 AM on August 17, 2009

543DoublePlay is right.

How did he get the green card in the first place? If he got it through marriage he could just apply again if he is still married.

BTW, it may be more difficult to get a new GC than in the first place if US might suspect "tax savings" were his reason to give up the GC.

It was plain stupid to give it up. It is always better to have more options than less, even if you have to pay to keep this options open. Remember this for the future.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 11:42 AM on August 17, 2009

Having a demonstrable history of playing by the rules even when it puts you in a potential disadvantage is not entirely stupid.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:51 AM on August 17, 2009

Thanks for the advice, all.
posted by msali at 3:26 PM on August 18, 2009

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