Residence and Physical Presence Requirement
In order for a permanent resident alien to qualify to apply for U.S. Naturalization, there are specific requirements that need to be met. This article discussed two of these requirements, continuous residence and physical presence for citizenship.
What is the continuous residence requirement for Naturalization?
All applicants are required to prove to USCIS that they have had“Continuous residence” in the United States. This means that the applicant has maintained a U.S. residence for the required period of time determined by USCIS. It is very important to note that any extended absences outside of the U.S. may disrupt an applicant’s continuous residence. To prove that they have had a continuous residence, an applicant must show that they have resided continuously in the U.S. for five years before applying. If they are the qualified spouse of a U.S citizen, then they must only show that they were in the U.S. for three years.
What does USCIS consider an extended absence from the United States for immigration purposes?
As mentioned above, an extended absence can detrimentally affect your application when it disrupts your period of continuous residence. Absences of more than six months but less than one year may disrupt a continuous residence unless the applicant can prove otherwise. If an applicant is absent from the United States for a duration of time in excess of one year or more, an applicant’s continuous residence is likely disrupted.
What physical presence evidence do I need to show for U.S. naturalization?
Physical presence is required for naturalization. Applicants are required to show that they were physically present in the U.S. for thirty months within the five year period before applying. For those applicants who are qualifies spouses of U.S. citizens, then they must prove physical presence. the U.S. for eighteen months within the three year period before applying in the case of qualified spouses of U.S. citizens
In addition, applicants are required to show they have resided for at least three months immediately preceding the filing of in the USCIS district or state where the applicant claims to have residency
Are there exceptions to the requirements for U.S. naturalization?
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for some individuals to be eligible for an exception to the continuous residence requirement. You may be able to preserve your continuous residence period if you are an applicant who is working abroad for:
The United States government, including the Military
Contractors of the United States government
A recognized American institution of research (List of Recognized American Institutions of Research and Other Recognized Organizations)
A public international organization
An organization designated under the International Immunities Act
USCIS will recognize an American institution of research for the purpose of preserving the continuous residence status of its employees who are, or will be, naturalization applicants assigned abroad for an extended period of time. Your continuous residence for naturalization purposes can be “preserved” or kept continuous while you are employed abroad by one of these recognized institutions. However, please note that you must file an Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes with USCIS for this to occur.