I-551 Admission into U.S.

When a I-551 lawful permanent resident is returning to the United States from a visit abroad, s/he is required to “apply for admission” by presenting a valid passport and lawful permanent resident card (green card) to the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer. A visitor presenting a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or any other non-immigrant visa is also required to “apply for admission” by presenting a valid visa and a valid passport. In both cases, it is at the discretion of the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer to decide whether he will allow entry by the lawful permanent resident or visitor. Again, the mere possession of an entry document does not guarantee admission to the United States.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the U.S. immigration laws, the Officer can apply section 212 entitled “General classes of aliens ineligible to receive visas and ineligible for admission” to deny entry to a lawful permanent resident or visitor.If the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer denies entry to a visitor, the s/he will be requires to board a plane back to his or her native country. In the case of a lawful permanent resident, if the U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer finds the lawful permanent resident inadmissible under section 212 of the INA, then the Officer will confiscate the lawful permanent resident card (green card) and issue a parole document, temporarily allowing the lawful permanent resident into the U.S. with the condition of him/her reporting to a U.S. Custom and Border Protection Office for further inspection or appear in Immigration Court for removal or deportation proceedings.

My office has represented many residents and visitors placed in these types of proceedings.It is important for lawful permanent residents (or green card holders) to understand that merely returning to the U.S. once a year for a few days or even very often does not “automatically revalidate” a green card where the lawful permanent resident actually resides abroad. The U.S. Custom and Border Protection Officer can independently determine that the lawful permanent resident status has been abandoned based on evidence obtained during questioning at the border.

For more information, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
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