Opt to preserve your residence in order to apply for US citizenship!

A permanent resident alien who wants to travel outside US for employment purposes and at the same time preserve his/her immigrant status in order to pursue naturalization can make use of the Form N-470. The person can preserve residency though he or she may be outside US for more than a year and it gets counted towards the residency requirement.

Who should file Form N-470?

Persons employed in specific US government jobs, private sectors and religious organizations mostly would require this form and must be filed before departing from the United States. For religious workers who travel abroad for religious duties the regulations differ. They may apply before or after departure or after returning to the US. Prior to filing Form N-470 they are not required to live in the US for any specific time period.

Permanent resident is not relieved from getting reentry permit in advance for trips more than a year outside US nor relieves the applicant from the physical presence requirement for naturalization once they file the application to preserve residence for naturalization purposes.

The spouse and dependent children of the applicant who are all members of the same household and have lived with the primary applicant while abroad also benefit from this residency preservation. The aliens in US armed forces are also given exception to residency requirement while abroad.

When to file the form?

Applicants can apply for naturalization only if they meet the 5 years residency requirement in US immediately before filing or its 3 years for citizen and spouse exemption. In addition continuous physical presence of 30 months is eligibility criteria for green card holders to apply for US citizenship through naturalization and in case of citizen and spouse exemption its 18 months. But unless they are beneficiaries of an approved Form N-470, the applicant who has stayed outside US for more than a year will interrupt their residency requirement of naturalization.

Hence for employment purposes and in order to preserve residence to qualify for Applying for US citizenship, the naturalization purpose a lawful permanent resident can file the Form N-470 when they will be staying outside US for more than a year. Only if you have been physically present in the US for an uninterrupted period of one year as a green card holder you qualify to file INS forms N-470.

How to file the form?

The application to preserve residence for naturalization purposes, Form N-470 should be submitted to the USCIS before applicant leaves US for a continuous period of one year or more. In case the absence from US is as part of any religious denomination organization and as brother, nun, clergyman or clergywoman or sister the application can be filed after or before the 1 year or more of absence.

The applicant can include the qualifying spouse and dependent unmarried children in the application provided they are also green card holders and will reside as members of same household as that of the applicant abroad.

Listed below are the steps to be followed to complete the application:

  • Form N-470 filing reason: Possible reasons are for which the applicant can file are:
  1. 1.      Behalf of US government: As employee or under contract with US government which includes armed services members.
  2. For pursuing research: As employee of any qualifying American research institution.
  3. Development of foreign trade and commerce purpose: As employee of any qualifying firm or corporation.
  4. 4.      Property rights protection of the American firm outside US used for trade and commerce purposes: As employee who perform such services.
  5. 5.      Public international organization of which US are a member: As employee of qualifying organizations.
  6. 6.      Religious purposes: Persons with religious denomination or interfaith mission organization as clergyman or clergywoman, nun, sister or brother having genuine organization in the US.
  •  Filling out the application: Information should be filled in capital letters using black ink and ‘N/A’ or ‘NONE’ should be used wherever appropriate. Personal information of the applicant like the Family name, A-number which can be found on Form I-551 permanent resident card and US social security number should be filled. Also home address which is the physical street address with street number and name or a rural route number should be filled. Post office box number shouldn’t be entered. If mailing address if different from your home address it also should be entered. A day time phone number with area code, date of birth, country of birth and country of citizenship should also be filled.
  • Submitting the application: After filling the required details Form N-470 must be dated and signed and submitted to the USCIS office having jurisdiction on place of your residence in US. The filing fee if $330 and can be paid as check or money order payable to Department of Homeland security. Along with the application copy of the permanent resident card Form I-551 and eligibility evidence should be submitted. It could be an official communication or affidavit from the appropriate officer, department or agency of the US government, research institution, firm or corporation public international organization or interfaith mission or religious denomination organization. Approval with a new application is required for any changes in the employment. Once the application is checked for completeness and approved decision will be sent to applicant in writing. Applicant must remember that a valid reentry document is mandatory when applicant reenters the US.


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