Rights of Green Card Holders at the Border


Rights of Legal Permanent Residents at the US Border

All travelers, including permanent residents (green card holders) and US citizens, are subject to inspection by the Immigration Service when entering the US.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers may question permanent residents when entering the US at a port of entry to determine if they are “returning residents,” or if they have abandoned status as a permanent resident.

Abandonment of Permanent Resident Status

If you are a permanent resident of the US, you may be questioned on the following issues when you arrive at the US border:

  1. Where do you live?
  2. What evidence do you have that you reside permanently in the US?
  3. When you left the US did you intend to return to your residence in the US at the time you left, and for the entire time you were outside the US?
  4. How long have you been outside the US?
  5. Have you committed any crimes, either in the US or outside the US, since you became a permanent resident?
  6. If you have been outside the US for a continuous period of 180 days, you are likely to be questioned more thoroughly about these issues.

Any permanent residents who are returning residents and who are found by the Immigration Service to have abandoned their permanent residence, have a right to a hearing by an immigration judge on the issue of abandonment of permanent residence.

A permanent resident remains a permanent resident unless the Immigration Service proves abandonment by clear and convincing evidence, and until a final order of removal (deportation) is issued by an immigration judge.

If the Immigration Service determines that a permanent resident has abandoned residence in the US, and the permanent resident refuses to sign an acknowledgment of abandonment (Form I-407) CBP can issue a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge.  Even permanent residents who have signed form I-407 have the right to request a hearing by an immigration judge.

Right to Counsel

The Immigration Service holds the position that there is no “right to counsel” during inspection and admission to the US.  At their discretion, the Immigration Service may allow a lawyer to accompany clients who are detained in secondary inspection or who are ordered to appear at a deferred inspection office.

If you are a permanent resident of the US, plan your trips outside the US carefully and be sure you understand the issues involved in abandoning permanent residence.

Immigration Application Fees to Increase 12/23/2016

gallery-thumbnailsUSCIS Imigration Application Filing Fees will increase on December 23, 2016. If you are thinking about filing an immigration application, and you are eligible, file now before the fee increase.  Any application filed or postmarked on December 23, 2016 must include the new fee, or it will be returned by USCIS.

To find out if you are eligible to file an immigration applcation, or for help with an immigration issue click on Contact Us

Some of the filing fee amounts will increase by a large amount.  The list below includes some, but not all, of the forms that will require a larger filing fee on 12/23/2016.

Family Immigration Applications

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F $460 $325
Relative Petition, form I-130 $535 $340


Employment Immigration Applications

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129 $460 $325
Immigrant Worker, Form I-140 $700 $580


Green Card Applications (in the US)

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Adjust Status to Permanent Resident (green card holder),

Certain applicants under age 14

$1140 + $85 Biometric fee

Total = $1225


$985 + $85 Biometric fee

Total = $1070


Remove Conditions on Residence, Form I-751 $595 + $85 Biometric Fee

Total = $670

$505 + $85 biometric Fee

Total = $590


Citizenship Applications

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Naturalization, Form N-400 $640 + $85 Biometric fee

Total = $725

Certain low-income applications may qualify for a reduced fee

$595 + $85 Biometric Fee

Total = $680

Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-600 $1170 $600/$550


Miscellaneous Applications

Application/Petition New Fee Old Fee
Extend/Change Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Status $370 $290
Waiver of Ground of Excludability, Form I-601


$585 $930
Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence, Form I-601A $630 $585
Employment Authorization, Form I-765 $410 $380
Travel Document, Forms I-131 & I-131A $575 $360

For a complete list of the new fees click on New Immigration Fees

Visa Applications May Get Easier



Visa application procedures may become improve. The Obama Administration  instructed the Dept.of Homeland Security to work on improvements to the visa application process to make it easier to apply for a visa.  Proposals include an application process that reduces paperwork and streamlines the process.  For details on the proposed improvements see Visa Processing May get Better . If these proposals are adopted,applicants for immigrant visas (green cards) and non-immigrant visas, such as a visitor’s visa or a fiancee visa, will be able to file immigration applications and supporting documents more easily.