Maintaining Residency Requirements for Naturalization Eligibility

In order to be eligible for naturalization, an applicant must generally have resided in the US as a legal permanent resident for a five-year period prior to filing their naturalization application. Throughout that five-year period, the applicant must have been physically present in the US for at least one-half that time. The applicant will also have to live continuously in the US from the date of his applicant for naturalization to the date he receives citizenship. Lastly, the applicant must have also resided within the US district from which he is applying for naturalization for at least three months before filing his application for naturalization.
Note that although the rules for abandonment of residency are similar to the continuous residency rules, we only discuss the continuous residency rules in this article.
If an applicant is absent from the US for a total of six months to one year, there is a presumption that the continuous residence requirement is interrupted. If there is an absence of one year or more, then the continuous period is interrupted, and the applicant will have to wait four years and one day from the date of return to the US after the interruption to be eligible to apply for naturalization (or two years and one day in cases based on marriage to a US citizen).
If there is a presumption of an interruption in the continuous residence requirement, that presumption can be rebutted if the applicant provides evidence showing that:
  • That the applicant did not terminate his or her employment in the United States or obtain employment abroad;
  • That the applicant’s immediate family remained in the United States;
  • That the applicant retained full access to his or her place of residence in the United States;
This presumption can be rebutted on a case by case basis by using relevant documentation.
Note that there are exceptions for certain members of the armed forces or other uncommon situations where a legal permanent resident is not subject to the full five-year continuous residency rules.
Any legal permanent resident wishing to file for naturalization in the future should take care to maintain his residency by abiding by the physical presence and continuous presence requirements.
Please contact us at (248) 557-3645 for a free 15-minute telephone consultation to see if you qualify for naturalization.


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