My mother obtained a Green card in the year 2003. She has been living in the U.S. since then and her travel to India since then has always been less than 180 days. She came to India in Dec 2009 and has been staying in India because of health reasons. She might not be able to travel to U.S for another year or so or she might permanently reside in India based on her health. Can she apply for a re-entry permit if she wants to travel back to U.S. after one year or can she cancel her green card and apply for a tourist visa later if she wants to visit her children in the coming future if health permits? I would appreciate if someone can answer to my query.

Sree

If your mother has been in India for 365 days, her I-551, or ‘Green Card,' should still be valid. She can use it to travel back to the United States.

If it has been longer than one year, she has valid reason for not being able to return to the U.S., and she wishes to have her legal permanent residency re-instated, she may choose to apply for an SB-1 visa.

This is an immigrant visa. She should contact the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, for additional information, as we do not process immigrant visas in Hyderabad. Please visit the website: http://chennai.usconsulate.gov for more information.

Indian citizens who hold an I-551, or “Green Card,” may surrender it at the Consulate General and apply for a non-immigrant visa if they do not wish to return to the U.S. as legal permanent residents.

If your mother wants to surrender her Green Card, she must fill out Form I-407 “Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status” from the website at http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/uscisdownloads.html; make an appointment through VFS and submit Form I-407 – along with her Green Card and any Re-Entry Permit – to the Consular Officer at the window.

At the same time, she may apply for a non-immigrant visa. She must fill out form DS-160 and pay the appropriate fees prior to taking an appointment.

We usually approve B1/B2 visa applications for people who surrender their Green Cards; however, we review each case individually; and there is no guarantee we will approve the visa application. Individuals must still meet the criteria for a non-immigrant visa, which can be found on our web site at http://hyderabad.

usconsulate.gov.

In May 2008, I applied and received the F1 visa for pursuing a master's degree for a period of 5 years. After the completion of the programme in August 2010, I returned to India. Currently, my SEVIS record has expired as it has been over 60 days since my graduation and I have not applied for OPT. I am expecting a form I20 from a different university for a PhD programme starting in spring. Could you please clarify if paying the SEVIS fee will suffice or should I apply for the visa again?

Anusha

You must apply for a new visa.

I have applied for F1 student visa to pursue my master's and my visa interview was on November 8, 2010. After my interview, I was given a white slip indicating my case number which says my visa is pending administrative processing. My passport, I20 and admission letter were also taken. I am very much worried since my school's start date for spring 2011 is January13, 2011. I would be thankful if you could let me know the number of days it will take to get my visa. Will I receive it before January 13th?

Navya

If the consular officer puts your case on hold under Section 221(g), it means your visa application was not complete or requires further administrative action. 

“Why does my case need further administrative processing?” and “How long will it take?” are some of the questions we are asked most frequently.

This processing is mandatory and cannot be expedited. We will print your visa and return your passport as soon as the processing is finished.

We cannot predict how long this process will take as it varies based on the individual circumstances of each case.  When the processing is finished, the passport will be returned to you by courier or you will be contacted by the Consulate General. 

You can check the status of your case by visiting our website at http://hyderabad.

usconsulate.gov/

pending-or-refused-visas.html and typing in your case number. The website is updated every working day to reflect the most recent status of your case.

If our processing is not complete until after your reporting date, the Consulate General will ask you to send either a new I-20 reflecting a new start date, or a letter from your university permitting you to arrive after the start date listed on your current I-20.

Your university must also update your SEVIS record. If the new I-20 indicates you will be attending a new university, or have changed your programme or SEVIS number, you will need to attend a second visa interview.