CONTINUOUS RESIDENCE

Continuous Residence Requirement:
An applicant for naturalization provision must have resided continuously in the United States after his or her lawful permanent resident admission for at least five years prior to filing the Naturalization application and up-to the time of Naturalization.

INA: ACT 316-REQUIREMENT AS TO RESIDENCE
(a) No person, except as otherwise provided in this title, shall be naturalized, unless such applicant(1) immediately preceding the date of filing his application for naturalization has resided continuously, after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, within the United States for at least five years and during the five years immediately preceding the date of filing his application has been physically present herein for periods totaling at least half of that time and who has resided within the State or within the district of the Service in the United States in which the applicant filed the application for at least three months, (2) has resided, continuously within the United States from the date of the application up to the time of admission to citizenship, (3) during all the periods referred to in this subsection has been and still is a person of good moral character, attached to the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.
(b) Absence from the United States of more than six months but less than one year during the period for which continuous residence is required for admission to citizenship, immediately preceding the date of filing the application for naturalization, or during the period between the date of filing of the application and the date of any hearing under section 336(a), shall break the continuity of such residence, unless the applicant shall establish to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that he did not in fact abandon his residence in the United States during such period.
Absence from the United States for a continuous period of one year or more during the period for which continuous residence is required for admission to citizenship (whether preceding or subsequent to the filing of the application for naturalization) shall break the continuity of such residence except that in the case of a person who has been physically present and residing in the United States after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence for an uninterrupted period of at least one year and who thereafter, is absent for more than a year or more to engage in qualified employment abroad may be permitted to preserve his or her residence.

Preservation of Residence for Naturalization:
Certain applicant may seek to preserve their residence for an absence of one year or more to engage in qualifying employment abroad. Such applicant must file an Application to Preserve along with application for Reentry permit.

In order to qualify, the following criteria must be met:

    (1) The applicant must have been physically present in the United States as an LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) for an uninterrupted period of one year prior to working abroad;
    (2) The application may be filed either before or after the applicant’s employment begins but before the applicant has been abroad for a continuous period of one year

In addition, the applicant must have been:

  • Employed with or under contract with the U.S. government or an American institution of research recognized by the Attorney General;
  • Employed by an American Firm or Corporation engaged in the development of U.S. foreign trade and commerce, or a subsidiary thereof if more than 50 percent of its stock is owned by an American firm or corporation; or
  • Employed by a public international organization of which the United States is a member by a treaty or statute and by which the applicant was not employed until after becoming an LPR.

The applicant’s spouse and dependents unmarried sons and daughters are also entitled to such benefits during the period when they reside abroad as dependent members of the principal applicant’s household.

The approval of an application to preserve residence does notĀ guarantee that the applicant(or any family members) will not be found, upon returning to the United States, t have lost LPR status through abandonment. USCIS may find that an applicant who claimed special tax exemptions as a nonresident alien to have lost LPR status through abandonment.

Reentry PermitĀ  may be necessary along with application to preserve continuous residence for Naturalization:

Approval of an application to preserve residence also does not relieve the LPR of the need to have an appropriate travel document when the LPR seeks to return to the United States. A Permanent Resident Card (PRC) , general is acceptable as a travel document only if the person is absent for less than one year. If the LPR expects to be absent for more than one year, the LPR should also apply for a reentry permit. The LPR must actually be in the United States when he or she applies for a reentry permit.