Helping U.S. Citizens Return Home After Years Abroad

Posted on: 2 March 2021

Immigration attorneys are usually called to help non-U.S. citizens gain residency or set up work permits, or they help U.S. citizens bring over fiances and spouses. Immigration attorneys can also help U.S. citizens who are returning home after years abroad. For citizens, it's not just a matter of hopping on a plane and showing up. Legally, they have to detangle themselves from their previous country's laws and successfully navigate the process of getting home without making it seem like they're trying to skirt laws.

Residency for Children

One area where U.S. citizens may need help is ensuring that any of their children born abroad have all the paperwork to come back to the U.S. and live as citizens. There are processes that U.S.-citizen parents can do to ensure their children born abroad have citizenship, but laws and paperwork requirements can change. It's best to double-check with an immigration attorney about what is required now, before you fly into an airport and find there's an issue with your child's passport, for example.

Partner Visas

If your spouse/fiance/partner does not already have the right to enter the U.S. and live here legally, you'll need to start that process early. Requirements depend on the country the person is coming from, the country the person is a citizen of (if they weren't a citizen in the country you were living in), and whether the person is a fiance, civil or domestic partner, spouse, or merely a significant other. It can take several months to meet all the requirements, so contact an immigration attorney now to ensure you do everything correctly.

Re-importation of Personal Goods

Someone moving out of the U.S. to another country generally has an opportunity to bring over personal goods in their move without having to pay import duty on them (moves like these typically involve bringing over more than just a vacation's worth of clothing, so they're governed by immigration and customs laws). Depending on the country, there may be strict laws that govern taking those goods back out of the country. Then there's the issue of bringing over goods you purchased in the other country to use as personal items in the U.S. You don't want to be accused of smuggling goods that you plan to sell in the U.S., for example. An immigration attorney who specializes in moves between the U.S. and that other country can help you make sure your belongings make it back here, too.

Don't assume you and your family can just show up at a U.S. airport and get back in. Make sure everyone has the right paperwork and permissions by contacting an immigration service before your move.