Continuous Residence important in the process of becoming a citizen in US?

US continuous residence

 

One of the main requirements to be met for US naturalization is continuous residence.  Meeting the terms of continuous residence requirement is one burden each applicant must establish. In the process of becoming a citizen and mainly for naturalization purposestwo types of absences from US denotes a break in the continuous residence requirement. This includes absence for less than a year’s time period but for more than 6 months and another is absence for more than a year’s time. Continuous residence may be affected depending on the reason of absence even if it’s less than 6 months period.

 More than six months and less than One Year’s absence

Travel plans of a permanent resident should be well planned since it decides the time period of how long to become citizen in US. During the period of time continuous residence is required if he/she is absent for more than six months time or about 181 days but for less than a year’s time or 368 days then the continuity of residence gets affected. Either just before US citizenship application is filed, while the process is going on after filing or just before the permanent resident is given citizenship this absence may occur.

An applicant’s intent is not relevant in determining the location of his or her residence. The period of absence from the United States is the defining factor in determining whether the applicant is presumed to have disrupted his or her residence. It’s important for the applicant to provide evidence and be vigilant to not lose continuous residence and prove that there was no disruption to his or her residence in United States. Following documents could also among other proofs be used for the period of absence and to prove intend to come back:

  • The job in US was not terminated and also no new job was taken up outside US
  • Close and immediate family members stayed back in US
  • To the US residence the applicant had retained full access

More than a year’s absence

During the period of time continuous residence is required if he/she is absent from US for more than a year or 365 days then the continuity of residence will be broken. Either before or after the naturalization application is filed this absence can occur.

Subject to the continuous residence requirement the application for US citizenship of applicant should be denied if the person has been outside US and continuously absent for more than a year’s period of time and hence failed to meet the requirement of continuous residence. Such a person does not also qualify for the exception benefits with regard to naturalization residence requirements. In case the person has permission and stays outside US for employment based requirement then he/she could opt to preserve residence for naturalization benefits later using Form N-470.

What after continuous residence is broken?

If establishing continuous residence for a period of minimum 5 years is required for US citizenship applicant and for absence of more than a year or longer whose application for naturalization is rejected then the person could reapply after waiting for a period of 4 years and one day calculated from the day the permanent resident returns to US and recommences permanent residency. Similarly one who must meet the minimum 3 years of waiting as permanent residency could reapply 2 years and one day after return to US and resuming permanent residency for US citizenship.

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