If you are in the United States:
If you are in the United States and your green card has been lost or stolen, apply for a replacement on form I-90, “Application for Replacement Card”. Make sure you send it to the right place and you keep copies of everything you submit. All correspondence with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service should be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. You can also file your I-90 online at www.uscis.gov.
If you are not in the United States:
If your green card has been lost or stolen, you will need to apply for either a waiver of the document or a transportation letter that will permit you to apply for entry into the United States.
Shannon and Dublin airports allow you to apply for a green card at the airport if you arrive 4 hours before your flight is due to depart and you have the applicable filing fee.
If you will be in direct route to the U.S. from Dublin or Shannon, you may file a Form I-90, “Application for Replacement Card” at the airport. You should bring with you a valid passport, a police report and proof that you have not been outside the United States for more than one year, for example, an entry stamp in your passport or an airline ticket.
You should also be prepared to show the immigration inspector adequate identification to substantiate your claim. This means that you should be able to prove that you have maintained your lawful permanent resident status. This can be hard to do if you have been outside the United States for more than 6 months. The immigration inspector will examine the purpose of the trip; the duration of the trip and whether or not you maintained the intention to return to the United States. Bring evidence such as affidavits; US tax returns; leases or mortgages to the airport with you.
The fee for filing a Form I-90 is $450.00 USD; however, this fee is subject to change so you should double check the fee and the preferred method of payment a few days before you plan to leave. You can fill out your form and pay the fee when you leave the country at the USCBP pre-inspection at Dublin or Shannon airports. You will then be required to report in person to your local USCIS District Office in the United States for completion of the card replacement process.
If you have a card, but it is NOT in your possession right now, for example, you left the card at home the last time you left the U.S., you will need to apply for either a waiver of the document or a transportation letter that will permit you to apply for entry into the U.S.
Because the US has pre-flight inspection facilities in Ireland, a transportation letter can only be issued in the country of final departure to the U.S., the U.S. Embassy in Dublin does not issue transportation letters. If you are traveling from Dublin or Shannon airports, directly back to the U.S., you are required to file a Form I-193, “Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa”. The fee for this is $585.00 US. Again, this fee is subject to change so you should double check it in advance. You can fill out your form and pay the fee when you leave the country at USCBP pre-inspection at Dublin or Shannon airports. If you are transiting another country en route to the U.S., including the UK, you must make arrangements to apply for a transportation letter at the U.S. Embassy in that country. Remember to bring plenty of evidence with you to substantiate your claim. If possible, have someone in the US fax or e-mail you a copy of your green card. If you’ve been outside the United States for more than 6 months you may want to speak to an immigration lawyer before you attempt to re-enter.
Problems at the airport:
If you are experiencing considerable difficulty at the airport, you may want to consider the following courses of action:
You may ask for “Deferred Inspection.” This means that you will be allowed to enter the United States but you will have to see an immigration officer and clear immigration again a few weeks after you enter the United States. This gives you the opportunity to find lost documents and gather other important evidence and to hire an immigration lawyer to go with you to the inspection if necessary.
If the immigration officer refuses to grant you deferred inspection, it might be a good idea to ask to be allowed to “withdraw your application without prejudice”. This means that you will not enter the United States that day; however, if you file a new application, you will not have a denial of entry on your record- a flag that can cause a lot of problems. If you chose to withdraw an application, you should get copies of all any document you sign or are given by immigration and then contact an immigration attorney to discuss your best options for returning to the United States.
Remember that the United States Citizen and Immigration Service may perform background checks if you file a form I-90. Certain criminal or misdemeanor acts may result in the revocation of your green card and removal from or inadmissibility to the United States. Consult an immigration attorney if you are worried about this. Don’t enter the US under the visa waiver program if you are a green card holder. Always tell the truth at the inspection point. Be polite. Bring documentary evidence to assist you with admission. Never fabricate or falsify documents. If you know that you will experience difficulty getting back into the United States contact a lawyer who is a member of the American Immigration lawyers Association before you apply for admission.
FIANCÉ VISA (K-1) vs. SPOUSE VISA (K-3) vs. TOURIST (B-2)
Many people ask us which is the fastest way to bring their loved one to the United States. The options are to marry in the U.S. (Fiancé (K-1) or Tourist (B-2) visa) or marry in your loved one’s home country (Spouse visa K-3). Every case is unique. We encourage you to NOT focus on the immigration aspects of this important event, but rather to use the immigration laws to serve your desire to marry where you want to marry. Also, know that it is impossible to provide a blanket answer that would apply in every situation. Here is a summary of the options you have, with the advantages and disadvantages highlighted. Understand that the actual processing times of any of these visas, but particularly the K-1 and K-3 will vary greatly depending on both the location of the U.S. citizen in the United States and the country of origin of the foreign national spouse. Whichever way you chose to proceed, we look forward to assisting you with your immigration matters.
FIANCÉ(E) VISA (K-1)
- You don’t need to marry immediately in your Fiancé(e)’s country or the U.S.
- You bring your loved one to the U.S. as your Fiancé(e), and you have 90 days to get married. This allows you both to get to know each other better and make a decision about whether you want to spend the rest of your lives together.
- You deal nearly exclusively with the U.S. immigration system and U.S. immigration officials here in the United States.
- You avoid dealing with local foreign procedures of marriage in a foreign country in a foreign language.
- Your fiancé has a chance to see the country and get familiar with U.S. customs and language before the marriage. Your Fiancé(e) needs to make a strong effort to convince the Immigration Officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in her home country, that you are both in love and are planning to get married upon her arrival in the U.S.
- Close family and friends will NOT see your Fiancé (e) get married in the U.S. unless they could manage to obtain another type of visa such as a tourist visa, which is hard to obtain.
SPOUSAL VISA (K-3)
- You are both together immediately. Your wife’s family and friends are able to attend your wedding without any delay, which is very important for many spouses.
- Local marriage in a foreign country can sometimes be accomplished in 10 days, or less.
- Depending on the U.S. Consulate, the process could take much less time.
- Extensive supporting documentation is usually necessary for a U.S. Citizen to get married in a foreign country.
- It is a two-step process, instead of one. First, you are required to submit a package for the Form I-130. And, second, upon USCIS Notice of Action, you would need to send I-129F Package. It takes time and a lot of patience from both of you.
- This process is very document-sensitive which means that if you are missing a document, you may have to fly back to the U.S. in order to obtain a necessary document before process can be completed.
- All your documents must be translated into the native language of that country where you are planning to get married. The translation much be certified with attached apostille.
- Your might end up with more expenses for the marriage itself and Embassy visa processing charges and fees.
TOURIST VISAS AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO K-1 or K-3 VISA
In adjudicating visa applications, the Consul at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is guided by U.S. laws and regulations and not laws of your Fiancé home country. The issuance of non-immigrant visas is governed by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
U.S. immigration law places the burden of proof on the visa applicant to show that he or she is not planning to immigrate to the United States by using a tourist visa. In other words, each non-immigrant visa applicant must prove to the Consul’s satisfaction that s/he will NOT travel to the U.S. in order to reside there permanently. Each applicant must demonstrate that s/he is traveling to the U.S. for ONLY a temporary stay and has strong ties to home country that will compel him/her to return home.
If the officers of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry believe your prospective or actual spouse is coming as a visitor to avoid the delays associated with the K-1 or K-3 visas, these officers have extraordinary power to bar your significant other from entry to the United States for a minimum of five (5) years; and if they believe fraud or misrepresentation is involved, these officers can impose up to a lifetime bar to entry!
Some examples of documents that may be helpful include:
- Evidence of employment. A letter from your employer can be useful.
- Evidence of income (and in some cases evidence of your spouse’s income), such as earnings statements.
- Evidence of immediate family (spouse, children) in the home country.
- Evidence of ownership of property.
- Evidence of ongoing studies if applicant is still a student.
- Evidence of ongoing projects for those in entertainment fields.
- Your old passport bearing earlier visas and entry stamps indicating the date on which you returned to the home country (for those who have traveled to the U.S. previously).
However, in these times of strict visa scrutiny, it is almost impossible for a young unmarried woman to obtain this type of visa.
DISCLAIMER: The confidential information provided in this memorandum is for information purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client or other relationship between Kuck Immigration Partners LLC and the recipient. The reader should consult with an immigration attorney before acting in reliance on any such information.