Returning to the US

You Can Go Home Again

US Citizens and former residents may find returning to the US requires a visit to the embassy.

Whether pushed by circumstances here, such as the current financial crisis, the end of a military tour or a course of study, or the change in UK tax rules; or pulled by factors at home, such as family needs, the hopes and opportunities represented by the Obama administration, or the excitement of seeing your favorite sports team play in a new home field (I’m a Mets fan; I can relate), Americans who have been living abroad often need to return home. For many, the process of returning home often involves more than simply packing ones belongings; non-US citizen spouses and children require visas, and domestic staff may have problems staying with the family.

Spouses and children. Spouses of US Citizens may benefit from an Immediate Relative petition filed on their behalf. US Citizens residing in the UK may file the petition with the USCIS office in London; otherwise the petition must be filed in the US. Once the petition is approved, the spouse can apply for a visa. Previous Green Card holders who have abandoned their lawful permanent resident status must go through the same petition-visa application process as first-timers. In all the process usually takes about nine months to a year, depending on USCIS and consular processing times. To learn more, visit the “Love American Style” link on the left.

Nannies, nurses, personal assistants, and domestic staff. Like anyone else seeking to enter the US to work, personal and domestic staffs require an appropriate visa. Generally, the availability of immigrant visas is limited. Nonimmigrant visas may be more practical, although availability will depend on the circumstances of the family and the individual.

Previous Green Card holders. As noted above in the discussion of spouses, individuals who previously resided in the US as lawful permanent residents must apply for a new immigrant visa if their LPR status has been abandoned. For further information relating to Green Card holder, visit the “Green Card Holders” link on the left.

For specific advice or assistance, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.