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Here is an excerpt from the Foreign Affairs Manual of the US State Department:

9 FAM 402.2-4(B)(10) (U) Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Issued Nonimmigrant Visitor Visa for Emergency Temporary Visit to United States

(CT:VISA-1461; 01-26-2022)

(U) A lawful permanent resident (LPR) may, in some cases, need to get a visa more quickly than obtaining a returning resident visa would permit. For example: a permanent resident employed by a U.S. corporation may be temporarily assigned abroad which requires him or her to remain out of the United States for more than one year. They may be issued a nonimmigrant visa for the purpose of traveling to the United States for urgent business meeting and Form I-551 need not be surrendered. The relinquishment of the I-551 must not be required as a condition precedent to the issuance of either an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa (NIV) unless DHS has requested such action. You may wish to limit and annotate the visa to reflect the nature of the LPR's travel, and to provide additional information to ports of entry.

However, the law doesn't seem to explain what conditions apply to a person admitted on such a B-1/B-2 visa. Indeed, the situation seems a bit contradictory: a B visa can only be issued to a person "having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning", but if that's true, then the person has abandoned their residence in the US, and cannot avail themselves of the benefits of LPR status. But if that's the case, why would the consular post not require the I-551 (green card) to be relinquished?

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  • It wouldn't surprise me if some of these regulations were mutually contradictory. As often, in_practice, things usually go a certain way... which may only have tenuous connection to the apparent regulations. Anyway, although I have some acquaintance with immigration and visa issues (coping with faculty and grad students' issues in a math dept in the U.S.), I have no idea about this particular situation. :) Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 0:52

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This is one of those sections that does not make sense until you break it apart. In the provided example:

  1. Joe has Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status
  2. Joe works for a US corporation with offices oversees
  3. Joe has been required by this corporation to work oversees for a period of greater than 1 year as a condition of his employment. This would normally jeopardize Joe's LPR status. Upon reentry in normal circumstances, Joe will have to justify why this lengthy absence does not constitute abandonment of his US residency or be forced to surrender his green card
  4. Joe has been required to return to the US for some work-related activity, again as a condition of his employment.
  5. Joe's employer is able to secure a B-1 visa for his visit quicker than Joe himself would be able to secure a returning resident visa.
  6. Joe may now
    1. use this B-1 visa to reenter the US
    2. without his LPR status being scrutinized as part of the B-1 visa application process or at the US border

Joe must still go through the returning resident visa process when he ultimately does return to the US "for good."

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  • But I don't understand how Joe could ever get a returning resident visa after step 6, if he has been issued a B-1 visa in step 5. To get a B-1 visa, he would need to prove that he has a residence abroad. That would mean he, at least at that point, had abandoned residency in the United States. If an LPR abandons residency in the United States even for a short time, and then later intends to re-establish residency in the United States, they are not eligible for a returning resident visa.
    – Brian
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 22:46
  • And that would mean, if Joe wanted to return to the US permanently, he would need to get an immigrant visa other than a returning resident visa, and upon returning to the US, he would get a new I-551 showing the more recent admission date. So it seems odd to allow him to keep his old I-551 when he gets the B-1 visa.
    – Brian
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 22:52

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