How long can you stay outside U.S. with Green Card?

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

I have seen people asking this question quite often that if you’re a Permanent Resident i.e. Greencard holder, how long can you stay outside US.

You can stay for 1 year without the need for a re-entry permit – Ref: Article on USCIS website – Maintaining Permanent Residence.

NOTE: The details below is added on 01/14/2014. Check USCIS website for latest updated information.

You may lose your permanent resident status (green card) if you commit an act that makes you removable from the United States under the law, as described in Section 237 or 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). If you commit such an act, you may be brought before an immigration court to determine your right to remain a permanent resident.

Abandoning Permanent Resident Status

You may be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status if you:

- Move to another country intending to live there permanently

- Remain outside of the United States for more than 1 year without obtaining a reentry permit or returning resident visa. However, in determining whether your status has been abandoned, any length of absence from the United States may be considered, even if less than 1 year

- Remain outside of the United States for more than 2 years after issuance of a reentry permit without obtaining a returning resident visa. However, in determining whether your status has been abandoned any length of absence from the United States may be considered, even if less than 1 year

- Fail to file income tax returns while living outside of the United States for any period

- Declare yourself a “nonimmigrant” on your tax returns

What if my trip abroad will last longer than 1 year?

Reference USCIS website: International Travel with Green card

If you plan on being absent from the United States for longer than a year, it is advisable to first apply for a reentry permit on Form I-131. Obtaining a reentry permit prior to leaving the United States allows a permanent or conditional permanent resident to apply for admission into the United States during the permit’s validity without the need to obtain a returning resident visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.  Please note that it does not guarantee entry into the United States upon your return as you must first be determined to be admissible; however, it will assist you in establishing your intention to permanently reside in the United States.  For more information, see the “Travel Documents” page.

Is your stay abroad more than 2 years?

If you remain outside of the United States for more than 2 years, any reentry permit granted before your departure from the United States will have expired. In this case, it is advisable to consider applying for a returning resident visa (SB-1) at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. An SB-1 applicant will be required to establish eligibility for an immigrant visa and will need a medical exam.  There is an exception to this process for the spouse or child of either a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or civilian employee of the U.S. Government stationed abroad on official orders.  For more information on obtaining a returning resident visa, see the Department of State’s webpage on returning resident visas.

Will it have any effect on my Naturalization (obtaining US Citizenship)?

Additionally, absences from the United States of six months or more may disrupt the continuous residency required for naturalization.  If your absence is one year or longer and you wish to preserve your continuous residency in the United States for naturalization purposes, you may file an Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes on Form N-470. For more information, please see the “Continuous Residence and Physical Presence Requirements” page.

Please feel free to add a comment below for any questions or sharing your experience.

References:

Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures expanded for Permanent Residents

June 20, 2014 Leave a comment

You might have read about OVDI or OVDP process but IRS introduced this new process called: Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures

This was kind of introduced last year but was for US citizens residing abroad. This new process now includes permanent residents i.e. Green card holders as well.

Here are the quick links for your reference.

Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures

U.S. Taxpayers Residing Outside the United States

If you are already under OVDI/OVDP program check these FAQs: Transition Rules

I couldn’t find much time to read all through and do much analysis. I will update my thoughts as I understand it better but feel free to post your questions and comments.

Hope this helps.

Deadline for filing FBAR 2013 is approaching

June 6, 2014 Leave a comment

This is just a friendly reminder blog post to the readers that June is the FBAR month. The deadline to file FBAR for the tax year 2013 is June 30, 2014.

If you forgot what FBAR is and don’t know if you need to file it or not, check this – What is FBAR?

I believe, now you cannot do a paper filing and it is mandatory to file it electronically.

Here’s from BSA FAQ

The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (114) must be filed electronically using the BSA E-Filing System.

To file FBAR Online go to : BSA E-Filing System

For Individual filer, you have two options:

  1. With Registration: This is where you need to go through the registration process. It takes little more time. I have used this earlier. Here is my blog post: Filing FBAR Online
  2. Without Registration: Here you can file the FBAR form online without the need to register. I haven’t used it but you can get more information here: File FBAR without Registration

Note: “An FBAR filer is considered an individual when he/she personally owns (or jointly owns with a spouse) a reportable foreign financial account that requires the filing of an FBAR for the reportable year.”

Hope this will be helpful.

Categories: General

IRS FBAR OVDP Opt-Out Interview Questions Revealed !

May 29, 2014 Leave a comment

desiways:

For those who are considering opt-out or already in opt-out process, this article has some information on what to expect and prepare for the possible questions that they might encounter….

Originally posted on Tax Controversy (Civil & Criminal) Report:

For more than a year, numerous taxpayers with previously undisclosed interests in foreign financial accounts and assets have been seeking participation in the current IRS offshore voluntary disclosure program (the OVDP) which began in 2012, modeled after similar programs in 2009 and 2011.

Taxpayers participating in the OVDP generally agree to file amended returns and file FINCEN Form 114 (formerly Form TD 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts), FBARs, for eight tax years, pay the appropriate taxes and interest together with a 20% accuracy related penalty and an “FBAR-related” penalty (in lieu of all other potentially applicable penalties associated with a foreign financial account or entity) of 27.5% of the highest account value that existed at any time during the prior eight tax years. The OVDP does not have a stated expiration date but can be terminated by the IRS at any time as to specific classes of…

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Categories: General

New service provider for Indian Passport, VISA ,PIO card in US

May 29, 2014 Leave a comment

If you have read my previous posts on Passport renewals, I am really shocked with the news release from the Indian consulates in US that they are once again changing the service provider for application of visa / passport / POI, that is for the third time in last two years.

Around May 2012, they outsourced it to VFS and then around May 2013 to BLS-India. Now starting 16th May 2014 to Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd.
Here’s the website for the new service provider: http://www.in.ckgs.us

Obviously this is really frustrating for many. I read somewhere (I believe in an article on timesofindia) that the reason for this change was lots of complaints and poor reviews about BLS-India. I haven’t use their service personally so don’t have much to say about them but here’s my take on what might have went wrong with these providers.

My expectations as an applicant

To understand the real problem let me first write a list of my expectations from a standpoint of an applicant who wants to renew a passport (or apply for visa or PIO card).

  • Application process: The application process should be as simple as possible. [Right now there’s lot of stuff that you need to worry mainly when applying via mail e.g. getting documents notarized, photo specifications, confusion in documents required, request return service, etc.]
  • Information: The information required to apply for renewal of passport(or anything else) should be thorough and detailed. e.g List of documents needed, detailed information about the fields in the application form, Fees, other FAQs, etc. This information should be detailed enough to remove any ambiguity and cover as many scenarios as possible.
  • Inquiry: I prefer to talk to someone if I have questions on filling application or documents needed. [The time I have tried to contact the Consulate, 99% of time I have got the busy tone. I don’t even recall getting a wait message. Contacting via email has worked once or twice but not really helpful. So this is one area they need to focus a lot.]
  • Track status: Once I have sent my application and it has reached the destination, I should be able to know the status of my application until my passport(or other corresponding documents) is returned back to me. [ I have heard with the introduction o
    So basically 90% of my expectations falls under “I want Information”…on so and so…

Why these providers have failed?

The failure of these providers is due to: “The Consulates” (or indirectly the leaders in Consulates and/or the government). I say that from my experience with SFO consulate.

The “I need information…” is where the providers seems to have failed. The Consulates failed at the same and since they started garnering negative reviews and complaints, they came up with this “services providers” concept. Why? So they can skip the blame and put it on those providers.

My understanding is these service providers are just facilitator. E.g. Say I sent a mail through an independent agent for “XYZ Mail Service”. The agent can provide me the details on status of my mail but only what the “XYZ Mail Service” provides him with and nothing more.

So these providers can only provide the information to an applicant what they have got from the Consulate and nothing more. They don’t have any authoritative knowledge. If you contact them, they can only provide you with limited information and I believe that you would also get from their website.

And since they cannot answer my question, I would complaint and give negative feedback.

Also I think the government might have found the cheapest provider. So that will lead to the same problems(e.g. Understaffed and Small space) which lead to the failure of Consulates providing service in timely fashion.

Why have the Consulates failed?

So the question still remains why the Consulates failed and what can we do to make them succeed?

Understaffed: The major reason I think is they don’t have professional staff and that to enough in number. Fewer number of staff to answer the queries and concerns means a lot of load on single person. And honestly dealing with many frustrated people would frustrate the service staff as well. And we as an Indian, aren’t trained hard at Customer service. So if the customer loses his/her patience, so does the staff.

Small space: Another reason I think is space. I haven’t been to any Consulates in US recently but I believe, they might be small and in the same small place where they might have started years back. They haven’t upgraded to larger space and this not only is inconvenient for the people but due to space constraint they would remain understaffed as well.

The reason for above could be several. First the head of staff is irresponsible and doesn’t care and don’t have a vision. Another reason could be they are not well-funded and they need to work within the small budget.

Whatsoever be the reason, the citizens of India suffer at the end.

Though it’s been 2+ years I contacted Indian Consulate but that experience isn’t easy to forget and so I am here still ranting about that.

Tindora (Ivy Gourd) and Aloo Sabji

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Tindora (Ivy Gourd) + Aloo Sabji

Tindora (Ivy Gourd) and potato Sabji with tomatoes and coriander garnish.

You can serve this with hot Roti (Indian bread) or rice.

Categories: Food Tags: , , ,

How to renew / reissue Indian passport after 10 years in USA by post – BLS international

October 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Originally posted on In the Line of Fire....Shaunak Pandit:

*** IMP Update:  Cox and Kings would be the knew service provider to Indian consulate after May 20th. If you can, wait for them to take over than submitting your application to BLS.

*** Update: 06/04 As per comments from many others it seems like BLS is still handling passport services so ignore the comment above

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/indian-embassy-in-us-outsources-visa-passport-services-to-new-firm/470326-2.html

** Check the end of the post for issues related to BLS & USPS express packages

** Check comments for FAQ

 Have woken from my long siesta to share some info on the process of getting an Indian passport renewed while staying in USA.

Thought of writing this post to help others like me, who may want to get their Indian passports renewed while staying in USA and are faced with little or minimal how to on the Indian consulate site.

***As of May 2013   The Consulate General of India  outsourced the handling…

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Categories: General
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