I am working in Saudi Arabia and that is where my wife will be living also. Will they take her green card when she travels with me to Saudi Arabia? Would it not be more correct to have a visitor visa?
Allan, I am working in Saudi Arabia and that is where my wife will be living also. It is my understanding that if she is not living permanently in the United States and she has a Green Card then they will take her card when she travels with me to Saudi Arabia. Would it not be more correct to have a 10 year visitor visa issued for her before departing to Saudi Arabia; so that, she would not have a problem traveling with me to the United States? When we decide to live in the United States permanently have a Green Card issued to her 6 months before? Thanks.
David, Since you both will reside in Saudi Arabia, yes it can make sense to apply for a visitor visa for her and then a spousal visa when you are ready for her to immigrate to the U.S. However, a visitor visa is unstable. A green card is a more secure entry document. I would choose a green card first. If confiscated, then she becomes a good candidate for a B visitor visa.
Every time your wife enters the U.S. on a visitor visa, she must convince a border agent her purpose is to visit only. Given marriage to a U.S. citizen, there is an inherent risk that she may overstay her welcome as a visitor and try to obtain a green card stateside based on your marriage. A visitor visa is for visiting only.
By comparison, the green card requires that she maintain primary residence in the U.S. If we obtain the green card now, it is possible it can be taken away from her at some point. However, that event should not happen for a number of years. If her green card is confiscated, then her chances of traveling on a B visitor visa increases: She had a green card and had the chance to make the U.S. her home, but she did not immigrate. She truly is a visitor only.
To maintain a green card, she must maintain primary residence in the U.S. and also not be outside the U.S. for more than one year at a time without a reentry permit. So long as she travels to the U.S. at least once per year, it can take several years for an immigration border agent to conclude she does not maintain primary residence in the U.S. Basically, she can travel as a visitor using the green card for a number of years and this is more stable than traveling on a B visitor visa. It is harder for a border agent to confiscate a green card than to confiscate a B visitor visa. I had a friend visit the U.S. once per year for 10 years before his green card was confiscated.