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The Domicile Paradox

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, I'm going to briefly discuss something I kind of refer to as the domicile paradox if you will and how it affects U.S. immigration. There are various kinds of cases mostly involving American expats who are looking to return to the United States where the issue of the American citizen domicile or more specifically residents comes into play. It's been sort of a wall necessarily called a pet peeve exactly. But the way the Department of State views domicile is slightly different than sort of the way in which that a traditional lawyer is going to view the issue.

Basically, domicile and its basic definition means a place you left but intend to return to. So for example if one has a house whether they own it, rented technically speaking it could be somebody else's home, perhaps a parent or something but you leave that house, an individual goes ahead and leaves home and they're gone up for a year. But they come back in the entire time they intended to return, that sort of a classic example of what we define as domicile in in sort of a general legal context. Okay nothing says the determinate state takes something of a slightly different view and when I first started dealing with this, as I said it was kind of pet peeve and I started to understand why it was. There was basically what the Department of State wants to go ahead and do is ascertain and determine and understand and have some certainty about the fact that an individual American citizen is going to return to the U.S. to live because the underlying visa for a spouse and this is all in the sensitive spouse or fiance, the underlying reason for issuance it shows the married couple and presuming when the fiance that they're going to eventually be married so that the couple is going to remain in the United States for at least a fairly for a long period of time.

Yeah intentions can change. I'm not saying you have to live in the United States forever and I don't think the part of the state is either. However they want to make sure that within sort of the instant case, the relatively foreseeable future with respect to the case that the American citizen is truly returning home. Now this can lead to some rather interesting situations especially when dealing with so-called global filing or what are also called direct consular filings or local filings at Bangkok USCIS. Basically one can, in theory, file an underlying immigration petition abroad and in certain circumstances especially those involving a local USCIS office abroad, one resident has to be determined at the type to be within the jurisdiction, the consular jurisdiction of the embassy which is hosting the Department of Homeland Security office of raw and the American citizen has to essentially prove that they're living abroad in the country that's being serviced by these immigration officers who would be taking the case. This creates the so-called domicile paradox because on one side of the case, you've got to sort of prove up that you're indeed living abroad and on the other side of the case, the immigration officers want to see so-called affirmative steps showing reestablishment of domicile in the United States. And this can be shown in a number of ways.

The easiest one is by the American citizen pre-departing or going ahead of their Thai counterpart. So for example, American citizens who filed the case over here in Thailand and then travels to the United States later may possibly deal with that. These are the exhaustive and they're not certain other things such as proving up a job, proving up rental of a new place, purchase of a new place, continuous ownership of a place that the couple is returning to. All of this goes pretty far improving up domicile and intention to reestablish down a sign. So not to confuse the viewer basically, the paradox we’re talking about involved an American citizen petitioner for let's say an alien spouse or fiance. That American citizen lives abroad. The issue for partners state is whether or not that American citizen is genuinely returning to the United States to live and go ahead and do that one needs to basically show affirmative steps of what they call reestablishing domicile in the U.S. and some of the steps that can be taken are things like actually returning, renting a place, getting a job etc. These will go ahead and be pretty demonstrative of one's intentions to return to the U.S.A. and remain there.

In these cases it should be noted that there is no one sort of magic bullet magical key piece of evidence Department State officers tend to go ahead and take a sort of a global view of the entire case, a sort of broad view of the case of the whole when making their determinations with respect to reestablishment of domicile in the U.S.A.