Abandoning the American Dream: Returning Stories - ForumDaily
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Abandoning the American Dream: the story of those who returned to their homeland

For some, a green card is a lifelong dream. And those who carry the American dream in their hearts sincerely do not understand those who won a green card but did not take advantage of this chance. Starting life from scratch in a foreign country is not always as easy as it seems. ForumDaily readers who were lucky enough to win the lottery, but were not lucky enough to realize the American dream, told why things didn’t work out for them in the USA.

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At home was too good

Julia Maricheva came to America from Russia with her dad and his wife. On the first try, my father won the green card, which he really dreamed of. But Julia never thought about moving to America.

“My life in Nizhny Novgorod suited me quite well, but how could I miss such a chance? - Yulia recalls. — We came to California, to Sacramento. For two months I tried to find a job, but nothing worked for me: either the job was not the right one, or the pay was very low. Every day I understood more and more clearly that America is not for everyone. After pushing around for several months, I decided to leave for Russia.”

In Novgorod, Julia returned to her university and continued her studies. She says that in America her knowledge of English would not be enough for study. If I had been preparing to leave in advance and more seriously, then perhaps I would have tried to start life here from scratch: get an education, find a good job. But these steps seemed unnecessary, because at home everything was not bad at all.

Julia now lives in Russia, having abandoned the green card with a light heart. She says that so far she does not regret anything, because personally her life in her native country is no worse than that of the Americans in their homeland.

For the same reason, Alexandra and Viktor Malyshkov returned to Vilnius. At home, both had good jobs, friends, and relatives. Winning a green card was a surprise and a wedding gift for the newlyweds: “A week after the wedding, we found out that we had won a green card,” says Victor. “The initiator was my wife, I didn’t want to argue with her.” Victor and Alexandra are English teachers, so they had no problems with the language. But finding a job turned out to be not so simple.

The young family chose New York to move. Victor immediately realized that he could not undertake physical work, because his health would not allow. And to provide the family with the previous standard of living will not be easy.

In Vilnius, there was an apartment that the family did not sell, but decided to rent, a new car that was put up for sale, but it has not yet found its buyer. Savings melted, housing in a rented apartment was depressing, quarrels began.

“We came from too good a life,” Victor admits. — In the Baltics it was quiet, satisfying, calm, there was not a single reason to look for a better life. I regret that we played the lottery - we just took someone’s place and flew to the USA in some excitement and fervor.”

As a result, the family returned to Lithuania, from the new academic year almost all of the student clients returned to Alexandra, and Victor was willingly taken back to the company where he taught English.

Could not accept life

Oksana Pivovarova from Russia won the green card in the lottery at the third attempt and decided with her husband: if the American dream is to come true, then everything should be like in a movie.

“The interview went smoothly, and after 4 months my husband, 2 children and 3 suitcases were at the airport,” says Oksana. — First we went to Inglewood, a town in the southwest of Los Angeles County. We didn't like it there, so we moved to West Hollywood. The first problem was renting housing. We left 2 apartments and a house at home. The apartments were rented out. There was a feeling here that no one was in a hurry to rent out housing. And anyway, where did all these films about American workaholics come from? Everywhere you go, the employees work slowly. For example, a manager at a bank comes 50 minutes after the call. And we waited almost 4 hours to apply for insurance.”

Oksana quickly realized that she was disappointed with the local way of life and way of life. She had no problems with the language, but domestic problems were baffling. Without a credit history, it was difficult to rent a house and arrange a car for leasing, and it was not possible to open a credit card for several months.

“Once here, an immigrant is forced to go through the cruel millstones of natural selection,” Oksana concludes. “He is left alone with his goals and aspirations, and he will be able to survive only if he pulls himself together and focuses on achieving results. Such tests are easier for young people, they adapt faster. My husband and I gave up.”

“If I had more money with me, or at least had relatives or friends who would help with housing and work, then maybe they would stay,” Oksana says. “But we realized that no one was waiting for us in America, and we decided to go back to Russia. There is affordable medicine here, including paid ones that are affordable. And it’s not as scary to leave children alone at home as in America with its strict laws.”

Oksana also found pluses for several months of her life: low prices for food and clothes made me very happy. But this was not enough to start fighting for a place in the American sun.

First learn the language, then play the lottery

The story of a family from Belarus could have ended differently from the previous ones, if Marina and Yevgeny Filipenko knew English. The couple lived in Texas for 8 months, and all the domestic troubles began precisely because of the language barrier. Filipenko waited a long time for the social security number, which, after winning the green card, had to be sent by mail.

“Without him, we weren’t hired for any normal work,” says Evgeniy. “We should have immediately gone to the social service to figure it out, but we were speechless and didn’t know who to turn to.”

The lack of initiative ended sadly: it turned out that no one applied for the social security number and the process was not even started.

When all the documents were ready, and the husband and wife were able to get a job, life began to improve.

“We started buying things that we had never allowed ourselves in Belarus,” says Evgeniy. – Supermarkets have everything your heart desires! Yes, sitting in a warm office and talking to people for several thousand dollars is very good, but every evening, returning to someone else’s house, I thought about what if tomorrow I get fired from my job and I can’t pay my rent? In my native country, as a programmer, I made very good money, but in the USA I realized that there were thousands of people like me, and at least 5 people were vying for one of my positions. In Belarus they respected me as a worker, but in America they were just looking for something to latch on to.”

Marina got a job as an au pair. They paid well - $15 an hour. But cleaning and doing laundry in the house is not at all what a young woman with a higher education aspired to.

“Without good English, you are just cheap labor,” Evgeniy concludes. — Marina tried to learn the language, even went to school. But self-doubt and fear of saying the wrong thing took over.”

A serious crisis was brewing in the family, and Evgeniy decided to return home. In addition, the wife became pregnant and firmly decided that she would not give birth in America, because she was afraid not to understand what the doctor was telling her. Of course, it is possible to find a translator - hospitals provide such a service, but the decision had already been made, and the family did not want to guess whether they could overcome the language barrier and cope with life in English.

At home, Evgeniy got his old job, and Marina did the same. And after the birth of the child, she took a vacation, which in America the employer simply would not pay for. So far the family does not regret that they refused the green card and returned home.

It does not look like a fairy tale

Oksana Nycheporuk from Lviv picked up the 2 green card times and only the second time decided to leave. In the US, she was met by a friend, she invited me for a month. The terms were clearly stipulated, and Oksana knew that in a month she would have to take care of herself herself.

“I found a job quickly. The apartment where I lived with 2 girls was located 5 minutes from the office, and the car issue was not an issue. And the neighbors bought cars - there are big problems with public transport in small towns. In New York, San Francisco, Washington or other cities where there are buses and subways, you can get by without a car. In our Linden, New Jersey, you can't live without a car. And a car is, as a rule, a loan and banking bondage. In order to have enough money to pay basic expenses and necessary purchases, I needed to work from morning to evening. Every month my employer withheld money for my health insurance. I tried to rent a place without neighbors, but pretty soon my salary was cut and I had to look for a room again.”

Oksana lived in the USA for 2 years. She was worried that she was so eager to start a new life, went through a cruel selection process from the immigration service, endured the humiliation of her competitors, spent so much effort, but still decided to return to her homeland. She decided that by the age of 40 she needed to have something more than a rented room and a dead-end job. True, she didn’t cut ends - she plans to come to the United States from time to time so as not to lose her green card.

The main responsibilities of green card holders:
  1. You must comply with US law.
  2. You must annually file your income statement in U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the tax authorities of the state where you live. Naturally, pay taxes.
  3. You should in no way be involved in criminal activity.

The green card is a confirmation that you have the status LPR (lawful permanent resident - legal permanent resident), and it is of unlimited duration. The same cannot be said about the card itself, which must be changed every 10 years, if you do not want to change this status on the status of a US citizen.

Immigration services can take away your status if you:

  1. We moved to another country with the intention to settle there.
  2. Absent in the United States for a long period without good reason or without permission. It discusses the reason for your trip, and the duration, and other life circumstances that could affect your absence or delay in returning to the USA.
  3. You did not file tax returns or in them you identified yourself in nonimmigrant status.

A few tips for those who are afraid of losing their green card

  1. If you are a green card holder, you decide to go to your home country, but in the future you plan to return and get a US passport, then you should know that you must be in the US at least 180 days a year, and to apply for a receipt Citizenship You need to live in the US for at least 30 months in the last 5 years. If you have been absent in the United States for more than a year, this equates to the automatic loss of your status in the United States. If your absence did not last more than 6 months, but less than a year, then you will need to prove to the officer that you are permanently residing in the USA, justifying your long absence.
  1. If before leaving it is difficult to determine how much time you will have to be outside the US, then it is better to insure yourself and arrange it in advance Reentry permitwhich will allow you to be eligible to enter the country after an absence of up to 2 years. After that you will have to go through the procedure for restoring permanent resident status and further obtaining SB-1 visas. And this, as practice shows, is a rather complicated immigration process.
  1. Ensure your connections with the country. If possible, make your bank account active and take care of your home address. In addition, do not disconnect the phone with an American card. This, like the presence of letters from the bank and credit cards, will be proof of your ties with the United States.
  1. One of the conditions for maintaining your status as a permanent resident of the United States is the annual mandatory filing of your tax return.
  1. The presence of real estate in the United States is also a good proof of communication with the country.
  1. Do not forget the ID certificate, which must be renewed regularly.

Green Card Recoveryы

Restoring a green card after being absent from the USA for a long time is possible. This procedure takes place in the 2 stage. First you need to obtain the status of a US resident returning to the country after a long absence Returning Resident Statusand then get an SB-1 immigration visa for a US resident Returning Resident SB-1 immigrant visa.


Read also on ForumDaily:

How to Recognize Immigration Fraud and Protect Yourself: USCIS Recommendations

USCIS has a tool that makes life a lot easier for immigrants: how to use it

US citizenship: how long do immigrants wait for naturalization

How to transport parents to the USA: instructions for immigrants

immigrants repatriates Our people green card Immigration in the USA
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