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Physical presence and continuous residence

Philadelphia, PA |

I have become a permanent resident in April 2007 and then took several trips outside the USA, each of which with a duration of more than 6 months but less than 1 year. The reason for my stay for that long every time I went outside the USA was to complete my associate degree in the home country. Since February 2012, I have been staying in the US continuously. I want to file for naturalization in Feb 2014. Can I be granted citizenship in 2014 even though I had not been continuous resident until February 2012?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Yes, if you were physically present in the U.S. for more than 50% of the past 5 years. Please see

    Mr. Shusterman's (former INS Trial Attorney, 1976-82) response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.


  2. Your question is nuanced. In order to qualify for naturalization you must show good moral character and you have to show that you did not leave the country for a total of 913 days or more during the five year period preceding your application for naturalization. The reason the six month absences are important is because the U.S. Immigration Service (USCIS) can presume that you abandoned your status, even if you were allowed to enter the United States by Customs agents. Accordingly, if you file for naturalization and you do not cover all of your bases, you maybe inadvertently putting yourself in to deportation proceedings. There is a case where an individual spent nine years abroad, coming back into the US every six months and getting reentry permits from the US Goverment. He then returned and spent ten years in the US prior to filing for naturalization. When he did so, he triggered a denial of his naturalization and deportation proceedings. The court concluded that he was deportable as charged, despite the fact that he had spent so much time in the US after coming back. The moral of the story is that you should consult with a qualified attorney before filing your naturalization application. If you have any additional questions, please message me at mizrailev@wildeslaw.com..

    This reply is intended only as general information and does not constitute legal advice in any particular case. This reply does not create an attorney/client relationship.


  3. Speak with an attorney.

    This response is not a substitute for specific legal advice and it should not be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.


  4. I agree with my colleagues. You need to be in the country for over 50% of the time before you file for the citizenship application. Please consult with an immigration attorney in detail. Good luck

    This advice does not create an attorney client relationship. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. A lawyer-client relationship will not be deemed to exist until such time as a written retainer agreement has been executed by an authorized representative of this firm, or until the firm otherwise agrees to and actually begins rendering services on a clients' behalf.


  5. You may benefit from a one-on-one consultation. There are ways to show continuous presence, as long as physical presence requirements are met.

    Dhenu Savla, Esq.
    SwagatUSA, LLC

    This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not meant to be relied upon as legal advice.

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