U.S. Residency Requirements for Potential Citizens
Help From Our Qualified Los Angeles Immigration Attorneys
Continuous residence and physical presence are two of the
general requirements to become a
citizen. The two requirements are interrelated but they are different requirements,
therefore it is important that you consult with an immigration attorney
to ensure that you have met both requirements.
The concept of continuous residence involves the applicant maintaining
a permanent dwelling place (or domicile) in the United States over the
period of time required by the statute. Generally, the statute requires
5 years of continuous residence. However, spouses of U.S. citizens are
only required to have 3 years of continuous residence. And certain military
members are completely exempt from this requirement.
There are two types of absences from the United States that are automatically
presumed to break the continuity of residence for purposes of naturalization:
- Absences of more than 6 months but less than one year; and
- Absences of one year or more.
What If You Were Absent for More Than 6 Months But Less Than One Year?
If you were absent from the United States more than six months (more than
181 days but less than one year (less than 365 days)) during the period
for which continuous residence is required, immigration will presume a
break in the continuity of your residence. However,
our offices can help you overcome this presumption of loss of your continuity
of residence by presenting evidence demonstrating that you did not in fact disrupt
your residence. We will present documentation that you did not terminate
your employment in the United States or obtain employment while abroad,
your immediate family remained in the United States, and you retained
full access to your United States abode.
Determining the exact days of continuous residence is important because
if you were absent from the United States for a period of one year or
more your citizenship application will almost certainly be denied. The
attorneys at our firm are qualified to help you assess your case to determine
whether you met this requirement and to help you overcome presumptions
of break in continuous residence.
What If You Were Absent for One Year or More?
As for the second general requirement for citizenship, an applicant is
required to have been physically present in the United States for at least
half the time for which his or her continuous residence is required. Physical
presence refers to the number of days the applicant must physically be
present in the United States. For a general citizenship application, the
applicant must have at least 30 months of physical presence in the U.S. as a
Lawful Permanent Resident. The spouses of U.S. citizens must be physically present in the United
States for at least 18 months.
Call (562) 445-4870 to
speak with our Los Angeles citizenship attorneys who can help you determine your continuous residence and physical presence
in the United States.