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D. HARSHA VARDHAN     04/10/2018 04:46 AM

My brother is residing in U.S.A and he managed to get green card for our parents few years back.

After getting green card, my parents visited my place in India. During their visit to India, my father met had an accident and became bed-ridden patient. He finally died after one year.

My mother had to go back to U.S.A.

We came to know that, a Permanent Resident Card becomes technically invalid for reentry into the United States if he or she is absent from the United States for 1 year or more. USCIS rules say that If you stay outside of the United States for 1 year or more and did not apply for a re-entry permit before you left, you may be considered to have abandoned your permanent resident status. If this happens, you may be referred to appear before an immigration judge to decide whether or not you have abandoned your status. If you are in this situation, contact the U.S. consulate about a returning resident visa.

The process of getting the returning resident VISA took 6 months. Green card was retained by U.S. embassy at Mumbai during the interview. It took one and half year more (after her arrival in U.S.A) to get back the green card.

While going through the site IMMHELP, it looked as if one can walk in to the U.S Embassy with duly filled in form DS-117 along with the requisite fees, convince them in 5 minutes and get Returning resident Visa.

But it is not so simple. I explored the detailed procedure. I spoke to the authorities in skype and came to know that I have to register in their site and get an appointment.

I fixed an appointment by clicking on the date available for the interview. Now the problems started.

1. You need to convince the immigration judge that you had intention of going back. Did you make return journey reservation- was the first question. What made you to stay for more than 1 year – was the next question. You have to show the hospital treatment papers.

2. My mother could not speak English or Hindi. I came to know that I would not be allowed inside the embassy to explain in English. Only the applicant and LPR (Legally permanent resident) are allowed inside the embassy. I had prepared one-page summary of all the facts and gave to my mother. Mobiles are not allowed inside. Hence consulting by mobile was not possible. At the gate I was told that interpreters of all languages are available who will help in explaining what my mother spoke.

3. Most of the people who entered the embassy came out within half an hour. My mother took four and half hours to come out. But when she came out I was glad to see a letter permitting her to go back to U.S.A. We have crossed the first hurdle. We are asked to apply for returning resident Visa (called SB-1 visa) with the requisite fees.

4. When I tried apply for SB1 visa in the form DS260, the registration number I was given in the permission letter was not accepted by the program. I tried on different dates at different places with different computers. No use. Hence I mailed and also talked to the USCIS people. I was asked to wait until they fix the problem. After a month I got a call from embassy saying that, now I can try. It started working. I took 12 hours to fill up the form as it contained the data reference since she was 18-year-old. Finally, I could push it through. I got an acknowledgment, which said, the data will be sent to U.S.A where USCIS will scrutinize the data and may ask some questions. Process may take one month. I waited for 35 days. No response. I sent a reminder. No response. I spoke to Mumbai office of the embassy. They are unable to help. My brother in U.S.A talked to USCIS people. They were unable to link my documents with the reference given by Mumbai office. How to proceed? Finally, I ventured by seeking an interview. I sought an interview for SB-1 visa with Mumbai office of Embassy. I got it. Police clearance certificate was required for immigration Visa. I got through an agent but we had to appear personally in Passport office. I had to get medical fitness certificate issued by the authorized doctors at Mumbai . The report was given in a sealed cover, which can be seen only by embassy staff. My mother appeared in the interview at Mumbai with (a) demand draft of the requisite fees (b) P.C.C (c) medical fitness certificate. Fees was mentioned in dollars. I had to get the demand draft in rupees at the conversion rate which is valid for the date as mentioned in the website. It took 2 hours for my mother to come out of the embassy after the interview. She showed me an approval for issue of VISA. The visa was sent through the courier in the city where we are living. We went to courier’s office and collected the visa as per the instructions in the website. No delivery at the residential address. It took six months to get the VISA.

5. My mother had carried Aadhaar card, Pan card, Passport, Visa, Green card, Demand draft, Police clearance certificate, Medical fitness certificate etc for the interview. When my mother came out of the embassy after interview, there was no green card with her. I was not allowed inside to talk to them. I sent a message through the embassy staff, who were controlling the people at the entrance of embassy. I was verbally informed that green card is retained by the embassy as per their procedure. The same thing I got in writing at a later date. We will get new green card after payment of requisite fees. When I went through the USCIS site, I observed that green card fees for is applicable to those who are applying for the first time. Exemption is available to those who have applied for renewal.

6. I went to U.S.A with tourist visa along with my mother who had returning resident visa. At the immigration counter in Washington I.A.D we had to hand over the packet received during the interview. My mother was told that she would get green card.

7. Within a month she got social security document. When my brother followed up for green card, he was told that it would take three months to process. After three months he followed up. He was told that they are unable trace the concerned papers. In fact, he was asked why she did not collect Green card from Mumbai office. We were shocked to hear this. There is no cohesion or understanding between different departments of USCIS.

8. We were asked to apply for green card again with the requisite fees. Finally, she got green card which was the duplicate of the original card. U.S embassy /USCIS could not locate the original card. It took one and half years to get the duplicate green card. Only God can save the government departments whether it is in India or U.S.A.

The purpose of narrating my story is to appraise the public about the missing links in issue of returning resident visa and green card.

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sunnys76543     04/18/2018 19:08 PM


can you please explain how to schedule the appointment. I am also very confused. Do we need to fill the ds 260 first and also get police clearance and medical exam done all before the ds-117 interview? Also, how do you get the ds-260 filled if you don't have a case number (since there is no pending application). Thanks so much in advance for your response and help.


sarav98     06/04/2018 22:06 PM

Thanks for your post. Really appreciated.


nsygn     07/09/2018 15:44 PM

Woow!! Sounds extremely annoying and exhausting experience. I’m glad she got her GC. Congratulations.


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