U.S. Citizens Petitioning a Foreign Spouse for Permanent Residency Must Prove Domicile in U.S.
A U.S. citizen petitioning/sponsoring a foreign national spouse for permanent residency must prove that he/she is domiciled in the U.S. at the time of the petition. Domicile means the place where the petitioner has his/her principal "residence" in the U.S., with the intention to maintain that residence for the foreseeable future. Residence means the place of general abode. The place of general abode of a person means his principal, actual dwelling place in fact, without regard to intent. Unless otherwise established, a petitioner who is maintaining a principal residence outside the U.S. cannot claim domicile and is ineligible to file a petition unless he/she can re-establish domicile. If the petitioner is living abroad, then he/she: - Must demonstrate that steps have been taken to establish domicile in the US; - Has already taken up physical residence in the U.S. or will do so concurrently with the foreign national; - Must at least arrive in the U.S. concurrently with, or before, the foreign national; - Must establish an address (a house, an apartment, or arrangements for accommodations with family or friend) and either must have already taken up physical residence in the United States; or at least demonstrate that he/she intends to take up residence there no later than the time of the foreign national's immigration to the U.S. Though there is no specific time frame, the petitioner must demonstrate at the time the petition is submitted that he/she has taken up principal residence in the United States. Evidence that the petitioner has: 1) established a domicile in the United States and is either physically residing there; or 2) intends to do so before or concurrently with the foreign national may include: - Opening a bank account; - Transferring funds to the United States; - Making investments in the United States; - Seeking employment in the United States; - Registering children in U.S. Schools; - Applying for a Social Security number; or - Voting in local, State, or Federal elections If a petitioner cannot satisfy the domicile requirement, he/she fails to qualify as a sponsor and the foreign national will be refused entry as a permanent resident. Cedric M. Shen, Esq. / Maximilian Law Inc. / (310) 591-8200 U.S. / (604) 288-7771 Canada / contact@localhost / www.maxlawinc.com