EL SHOW SIN FRONTERAS – PREPARING FOR A VACATION? PREPARE YOUR DOCUMENTS TOO
On today’s Live we were joined by immigration attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, along with Karla Arevalo and Fidel Campuzano. Remember that you can contact us with your questions every Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. so we can answer them on our “Show Sin Fronteras”.
The topic we are discussing today is important because it is the goal of many of our clients: to visit their relatives in their home countries. In many cases families have not been able to reunite for years! We know that at this particular time, halfway through the year, you must be thinking about planning your Christmas vacation. That’s why today we looked at how you can organize things so that you can travel and return to the U.S. legally without risking your status.
Why plan so far in advance? We receive calls from our clients on a daily basis regarding situations related to family members who are ill, or who have passed away, or various urgent situations that require a Travel Permit to be processed quickly. However, as attorney Kate told us, this process takes a few months, so it is best to start planning ahead. The process for a Travel Permit within the United States is a bit easier, although it is still a bit risky for undocumented persons.
Those with Permanent Resident status do not need to obtain a Travel Permit before leaving the country. What is important is the length of time that person will spend out of the country since a Permanent Resident must maintain his or her primary home in the United States, so each departure should not be longer than 6 months ( except for special circumstances when it would be advisable to consult with an attorney). The required documents are a valid Green Card, a passport from your country of origin, and your plane tickets. On the other hand, if a Permanent Resident has an arrest on his or her record, whether convicted of a crime or not, it is important to consult with an attorney before leaving the country.
For travelers who have a U visa, T visa, or are VAWA beneficiaries, it will depend on each particular case, since in some cases it will be necessary to schedule an appointment with the Consulate prior to return. On the other hand, at times the way to proceed will depend on the process that was followed to obtain the status in the first place. Remember that the immigrant community can receive free and confidential legal advice by contacting us.
Many DACA recipients, as Fidel told us, receive a Work Permit that in some cases comes along with a Travel Permit, especially in cases where the holder is awaiting a response to their Residency application. Otherwise, DACA beneficiaries may apply for a Travel Permit for the following reasons:
– Humanitarian: visiting sick or deceased family members, among others.
– Educational: summer or semester courses.
– Work: Company events abroad.
Fidel indicated that when the permit is requested for humanitarian reasons and if there is sufficient proof (doctor’s letter, documents confirming the relationship), it is possible to process it at the local USCIS office and usually the wait is less than the usual 5 or 6 months.
What happens to those who are undocumented? What can they do if they want to travel to their country of origin? According to what attorney Kate told us, for people who are in the process of fixing their status, some of the statuses include a Work Permit and/or a Travel Permit during the wait for Permanent Residency approval. For this reason, the best option for undocumented individuals is to obtain legal advice initially to find out what options they have to legalize their presence in the country and whether this option comes with a Travel Permit or not. Kate advised the undocumented immigrant community to be as careful as possible and to avoid driving in rural areas or where there may be Immigration checkpoints.
In the event of a detention, it is important to remember that you are not required to sign any documents and that you have the right to defend yourself and file an application to stay in the United States. For free legal advice regarding similar cases, general immigration cases, bankruptcy cases, and work permit cases, do not hesitate to contact us at (855) 502-0555 or through our social networks Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.