Your absence for more than 6 months reset the clock. You should have waited 4 years and 1 day upon your return to the US before filing for naturalization. You can file again once you accrued the required continuous residence.
An absence of 6 months or more, but less than 1 year, creates a "presumption" that you have disrupted the continuity of residence required. You may rebut the presumption with evidence, including, but not limited to, such issues as: U.S. employment, close family members living in U.S., ownership of and access to property you own in the U.S., and absence of employment outside the U.S.
It is unfortunate that your application was denied. I don't know if you were working with an attorney or not.
I suggest that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options, including a possible appeal of the denial.
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You should retain an experienced immigration lawyer to review all the facts, advise you, and handle the case. You can find one through http://www.ailalawyer.com.
J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.
you may rebut the presumption in the law that you abandoned your residence in an N-336 hearing or you may wait and refile at another time. If you chose to fight the decision you should retain immigration counsel.
Absence of between six month and one year raises a presumption that the continuous residency requirement to become a United States citizen was broken.
However you can rebut this presumption in a request for a hearing on the N400 decision.
You should retain an immigration attorney to help you request a hearing before an immigration officer on the denial of your Form N-400.
Gary D. Goodin (702) 423-2721, www.immigrationlasvegas.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Goodin Law P.A. 3440 E Russell Road, Suite 226 Las Vegas Nevada 89120 . Note: Gary D. Goodin is an attorney licensed in the Florida and is authorized to practice US immigration law nationwide. The above answer is for general informational use only. You should not act or refrain to act solely based on the information provided. The answer does not create an attorney/client relationship unless an Agreement is signed by the attorney and the client.
An absence from the U.S. in excess of 6 months but less than 1 year presumptively breaks the continuity of your continuous residence. Whether you can rebut the presumption depends on a number of different factors including, but not limited to, the length of the amont of time you were outside the Unted States, the reason for your absence, whether you took up employment abroad, and whether you knew the expected length of your trip prior to departure. If you break the continuity of your residence you can apply for naturalization 4 years and 1 days after resuming your residence in the U.S.
A lot of the things you mention are not relevant to maintaining continuous residence. Additionally, your wife's case is looked at independently from yours. We don't have any facts about your wife's case, however, for example, assuming that she remained outside the U.S. unexpectedly to accompany you, she may have been able to establish that she did not intend to break the continuity of her residence prior to departure. This, of course, is just a hypothectical example.
Your case is a good example of how your could have prepared better had you been represented by counsel. There is much more to immigration than just completing forms. I suggest you consult with an experenced immigration attorney who can review your case to determine the viability of filing an adminstrative appea, refiling (which may be a possibility), or other options.
While this answer is provided by a Florida Bar Certified Expert in Immigration and Nationality Law, it is for general information purposes only and an attorney/client relationship is neither intended nor created. You should seek out qualified counsel to review your case and provide you with advice specific to your situation. Call +1-561-478-5353 to schedule a consultation with Mr. Devore.