Navigating the U.S. immigration system can be particularly challenging for couples who wish to maintain a bi-national lifestyle, often referred to as “snowbirds.” In our recent weekly live immigration attorney chat, Attorney Megan Pastrana from Immigration for Couples delved into this topic, offering valuable insights for couples looking to balance life in multiple countries while complying with U.S. immigration requirements.
Embracing a Transnational Lifestyle with a U.S. Green Card
The concept of a snowbird lifestyle typically involves spending part of the year in the U.S. and part elsewhere, often in a warmer climate. For couples where one partner is from the U.S. and the other from a different country, like Canada, this lifestyle raises important immigration considerations.
The Balancing Act: Residence and Travel
The key to maintaining a snowbird lifestyle with a U.S. green card lies in understanding and adhering to the residency requirements set by U.S. immigration law.
Understanding Residency Requirements
- Maintaining U.S. Domicile: Holding a green card is a declaration of your intent to reside permanently in the U.S. Therefore, maintaining a home in the States is crucial.
- Travel Duration Limits: Green card holders should avoid trips outside the U.S. that last more than six months. Extended absences can be interpreted as abandoning U.S. residency.
Special Circumstances: Prolonged Absence from the U.S.
Life can present situations where a longer stay outside the U.S. is necessary. In such cases, it’s possible to comply with immigration rules while still keeping your green card.
Planning for Extended Travel
- Seeking Permission: If you need to be outside the U.S. for more than six months, you must request permission from immigration authorities beforehand.
- Maintaining Your Green Card: Approval for extended travel ensures you can keep your green card even if you’re away from the U.S. for up to a year.
Legal Considerations for Marriage and Immigration
An essential aspect for couples considering the snowbird lifestyle is where to get married. For U.S. immigration purposes, the legality of the marriage in the place where it occurs is what matters. A legally binding marriage in any country is generally recognized by U.S. immigration authorities.
Navigating Immigration with Confidence
For snowbird couples, balancing a life in multiple countries while adhering to U.S. immigration laws can be complex but achievable. With the right information and guidance, you can maintain your bi-national lifestyle without jeopardizing your U.S. residency.
If you’re part of a bi-national couple looking to explore green card options while maintaining a snowbird lifestyle, we’re here to assist. Our expertise at Immigration for Couples is tailored to help you navigate the intricacies of U.S. immigration law. Contact us for a discovery call to discuss your specific circumstances and start your journey with clarity and confidence.