Continuous Residence and Physical Presence for Naturalization – In order to be eligible for naturalization as a U.S. citizen, an applicant is required to show that they have continuously resided in the United States for a period of five years before filing their naturalization application. If the applicant received their green carddue to marrying a U.S. citizen, they must provide evidence that they have continuously resided in the United States for a period of three years.
What is Continuous Residence?
As the name implies, continuous residence means that the applicant has maintained their residence in the United States for a required period of time without extended absences on trips outside of the United States. An absence of more than six months but less than one year is likely to disrupt the requirement of maintaining continuous residence unless the applicant can prove otherwise. Absences of a year or greater will most likely break the required time of continuous residence.
The Physical Presence Requirement
In addition to maintaining a continuous residence in the United States, an applicant for naturalization must also show that they have been physically present in the U.S. for the required amount of time. According to the USCIS, an applicant for naturalization must show that they have been:
- Physically present in the United States for thirty (30) months within the five-year period before they apply for naturalization; or that they were
- Physically present in the United States for eighteen (18) months within the three-year period before they apply for naturalization. This physical presence requirement applies in the case of spouses of U.S. citizens.
Are There Any Exception to These Rules?
Yes. Certain exceptions are available to applicants who are working outside of the United States. These exceptions apply to:
- Applicants who work for the U.S. government (including military service members);
- United States contractors;
- Applicants who work for a recognized American institution of research;
- A publicly recognized international organization; or
- An organization which has been designated under the International Immunities Act
If any of these exceptions apply to the applicant, they must file different paperwork with the USCIS in order to preserve their continuous residence. It would be wise to consider consulting an immigration attorney, who could determine your eligibility for naturalization and discuss the required steps which must be taken to ensure that your application is processed efficiently. Consider setting up a consultation with an attorney at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.
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