My wife was granted a conditional permanent resident status (green card) in the US and we started the process for removing the conditional status while we were living in the States after being married for more than two years (as per the requirement). Before receiving a response to our application, we made the decision to return to her home country for work reasons. We recently received mail from USCIS requesting further documentation to prove the "legitimacy" of our marriage. The deadline to submit the additional documents recently passed, and I had already decided to give up pursuing the application process anyway, since we will not be returning to live in the US for at least five years. My concern (and question) is this: Can my wife still enter the US to visit my family, or will the lapsed/failed green card status create an issue that prevents her from even entering the country?

  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about travel.
    – Dirty-flow
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 9:07
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    I suppose it's a matter of perspective. I would be happy to pursue further answers to my question on travel.stackexchange.com if the moderators deem that site more appropriate for this type of question. I humbly suggest that the question can be considered on-topic on either site, but members of this site's community are likely to have the greater experience/knowledge to provide the best answer.
    – pyobum
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 9:44
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    Given that it's specfically about complications resulting from having expat status (the green card), and thus is an issue that only expats would ask about, I'm ok with it here. It IS a travel question and might worth on travel.SE too, but I am ok with it being on our SE site too.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 0:55
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    @MarkMayo, thank you for weighing in on this. I went ahead and asked this question on travel.SE in hopes of getting more exposure to the question, but I am appreciative of it being allowed to remain here. Again, I feel like this question straddles the line between those intended for expatriates.SE and travel.SE.
    – pyobum
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 1:42
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    Question asked on travel.SE
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 3:12

2 Answers 2


No, she'll have to apply for a visa of course but there's no specific limitation on ex-permanent residents from visiting.

However, you should have cancelled the green card instead of ignoring the USCIS, as she's still liable for taxes in the US and her status is in limbo. The proper way, IMHO, would be to go to the US consulate and officially surrender the permanent residency using form I-407. Do talk to an immigration attorney to make sure.

  • Thanks for the speedy response. We didn't exactly ignore the USCIS mail, as a family member shipped the mail to us as part of a larger package that got held up in customs for almost a month. We finally got the package delivered about a week after the deadline had passed. I will take a look at the form you mentioned and what it entails. I would also like to hear from someone with firsthand experience about this, if anyone reading this has been in the situation I've described.
    – pyobum
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 9:34
  • Since posting my question, I did some further research using the form you mentioned as my starting point. I came across a website that summarizes what to expect quite nicely. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I'll come back and post an answer in addition to yours detailing our experience after we've finished the process.
    – pyobum
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 3:31

To provide an update and back up the answer provided by littleadv:

My wife completed the I-407 form, went to an interview (scheduled) with the US embassy here in Korea, and relinquished her permanent residence status. The official gave her back a signed copy of the form showing that she had given up her status. A short time later, we applied for an ESTA so she could visit the US and it was approved. When it came time to actually visit the US, the customs and immigration officer reviewed her papers and admitted her without trouble.

I realize this is anecdotal, but it does confirm that, under normal circumstances (i.e. no criminal history, overstays of past visas, or other irregularities), former PR holders can re-enter the US as tourists (and even get an ESTA).

  • "and even get an ESTA". The main Thing is not that she can get an ESTA, but that she can enter visa-free (ESTA is merely a pre-registration required for most visa-exempt nationalities to board a carrier without a visa)
    – Crazydre
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 8:15

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