United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Wednesday announced an update to the USCIS Policy Manual that clarifies the continuous residence requirement for naturalization.
The policy update clarifies that:
- An applicant who has been absent from the United States for more than six months but less than a year must overcome the presumption that they have broken the continuity of their residence in the United States; and
- An applicant who has broken the continuity of residence in the United States must establish a new period of continuous residence, the length of which depends on the basis for naturalizing.
Permanent residents become eligible to apply for naturalization five years after they got approved for a green card (three years if they received the green card through a US citizen and are still married and living with that same spouse).
The update means that green card holders who stay out of the country for a period of more than six months but less than a year and cannot overcome the assumption of break in continuous residence will have to start a whole new five-year (3 years if married to a US citizen) period before they can apply for citizenship.
Applicants can overcome the assumption of break in continuous residence in the US by providing documentation showing that the:
- The applicant did not terminate his or her employment in the United States or obtain employment while abroad;
- The applicant’s immediate family members remained in the United States; and
- The applicant retained full access to or continued to own or lease a home in the United States.
- Multiple DUI Convictions Could Make Immigrants Ineligible for Citizenship, Says USCIS
- Requirements for Becoming a US Citizen through Naturalization
- Tips on Maintaining Your Green Card Status and Eligibility to File for US Citizenship