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I'm a Filipino passport-holder but I also have an expired US green card. I'm currently in South Korea for my master's degree and I wish to visit USA this summer to see family.

My green card's expiry date is August 2017. I applied for a master's program scholarship March 2017, got accepted in June 2017, got my ticket from the scholarship organization July 2017, and flew out August 2017. I didn't (couldn't?) renew my green card due to following reasons:

  • Yes, I could've renewed 6 months before it expired as recommended, but I didn't expect I'd get a full-ride scholarship for a master's degree. My plan was to renew my green card after graduation (May 2017) because I had to save up $540 for the renewal fee.

  • Let's say I did renew my green card 6 months before or before it's expiration date AND got accepted to the scholarship program July 2017...

    1. There would be no guarantee that I'd have my greencard before August 2017 as it takes 5-9 months for the new green card to be issued;
    2. If I did renew and got my new green card before August 2017, I'd have to apply for a re-entry permit and that's another 2-3 months of waiting... I was accepted 2 months before so, again, there's no guarantee I'd have said re-entry permit before August 2017.
  • Because the scholarship process went by so fast, I was a bit stressed with what to do with my green card. I have all intention to remain a US permanent resident but I also couldn't just throw away a FREE master's scholarship program (knowing that US higher-ed is just extremely expensive).

Back to my question... I want to visit family this coming summer break. But of course I have to come back to Korea to finish my master's... and I plan to go back to USA after obtaining my master's degree. Is my best option to apply for a tourist visa? Do I need to give up my green card? Am I considered as someone who abandoned their residency? Are there other better options in my case that would allow me to visit US for a bit and finish my degree then go back to US?

Also, I'm an "international student" in Korea. I live in my school dorm and have NO purchases of an apartment, car, or any of that. I just have a Korean bank account.

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You will probably not be allowed to enter the United States if your visa is expired. Sometimes foreign student advisors at a college or an immigration attorney will know how to expedite the process to get it renewed in time.

Also, sometimes the offeror of a scholarship can move it back to accommodate your inability to get a timely visa renewal, assuming that it is possible to get a visa renewal at all. Applications from the Philippines are processed more slowly than applications from any other country as a matter of official policy.

It also isn't obvious to me that you are really talking about a green card (lawful permanent residency) as opposed to a student visa. A tourist visa does not suffice in cases where you need either a student visa or a green card.

You need professional help ASAP as this is a highly technical, non-intuitive area, even if that means paying an immigration lawyer hundreds of dollars.

  • I have an expired US green card. I lived in US before coming here in Korea. I want to visit US this summer. Obviously, my green card is expired so I need another legal way to enter... which would possibly be a travel visa? Or is there another way that's more appropriate for my situation? The country that gave me the scholarship is the Korean government. – mollayo Mar 31 '18 at 13:53
  • @mollayo There are too many risks involved in entering on the wrong kind of visa without having a highly skilled specialist review all of your personal facts. For example, when I was in law school, an international student there went to Canada where her boyfriend proposed and they mentioned that on reentry. But since she had a student visa rather than a fiance visa to fit her new ten minute old status, she was detained in immigration detention for six months. – ohwilleke Mar 31 '18 at 13:56
  • Aside from an immigration lawyer, are there US immigration-related office that I could ask about my situation? – mollayo Mar 31 '18 at 13:58
  • A foreign student advisor at a college might provide help although this is probably over their head. In general, U.S. government immigration officials won't give you advice, and certainly won't give you complete advice that you can fully rely upon because you may not be asking them the right questions. I would not trust someone other than an immigration lawyer meeting with you at length for issues this complex. – ohwilleke Mar 31 '18 at 14:01
  • I wonder how I missed this question before. It bears mention that green card expiration does not cause loss of LPR status. An airline will probably not board someone on the basis of an expired green card, however. A consulate should not issue a student visa without first establishing abandonment of LPR status. If the traveler does not intend to abandon LPR status, the consulate can issue a returning resident visa, though there may be other options. There are a few related questions on both Travel and Expatriates concerning the administrative procedures. – phoog Sep 11 at 17:34

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