Continuous residence requirement in the process of becoming a citizen.



From the time he/she gains permanent residency in US and before filing for US citizenship in general an applicant filing for naturalization should have resided in US for a minimum period of five years though how long to become citizenis not correctly predictable. Also applicant should have established residence prior to minimum three months in the State or service district which has jurisdiction over that residence area before filing application for US citizenship with it.

What is residence?

A place of abode maintained on a permanent basis in the United States for a period of time legally acceptable for any requirement is what continuous residence is all about. The principal place of stay or alien’s domicile without the person’s ownership rights and the time period spent since he/she started to reside in it is what is meant by residence. So the physical place of stay in general is considered applicant’s residence accordingly though he/she might or might not own the same during the process of becoming a citizen

This continuous residence period is generally minimum 5 years prior to filing for US citizenship. In some cases the requirement is a reduced time period for certain applicants.  For some the time period might be exempted completely or is continuous residence period is reduced. As far as the members of military or US armed forces is concerned there is an exemption from this altogether. For applicants who marry US citizen the waiting period is 3 years before filing Form N400.

In order for an applicant to be eligible to file for naturalization both the continuous and physical presence requirements must be met. Though they are interrelated both have to be satisfied prior to filing.

How to maintain continuous residence as permanent resident?

Starting with the day the applicant became a permanent resident to the date the N400 form is filed will be considered for continuous residence requirement compliance by USCIS.

The applicant’s status as a lawful permanent resident will be terminated in case order is issued for his/her removal from US and so as far as naturalization purpose is concerned the continuous residence is disrupted. In case after a deferred inspection or by an immigration judge involved in proceedings of removal the permanent resident is readmitted then as any normal naturalization applicant the residence requirements should be satisfied.

Sometimes if the permanent resident had claimed some benefits posing as a non resident alien it would be decided by USCIS that the applicant neglected the lawful permanent resident status. If applicant has also done so to be eligible for special excuse from tax burden from income or did not file state or federal tax returns because he/she opted voluntarily to claim non resident status, this may raise a denial supposition while filing for US citizenship.

In case applicant has to travel abroad for a period less than 6 months the green card and home country passport could be used. It’s advisable to not travel immediately after gaining residency or prior to filing for US citizenship or while the application is being processed. The travel records of the applicant would be under scan when they file for naturalization.

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