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What are the requirements for a permanent resident to become U.S. citizen if working abroad for Department of State?

Washington, DC |

Hello, I am a permanent resident since 2009. I am working in the U.S. Embassy in my birth country and every year i am visiting US in order to keep my "Green Card" active. As i have heard i can aply for citizenship if i have at least one year (out of 5) phisical presence in US and 5 years as permanent resident.

Is this mean that if i take one year unpaid leave with my current employeer and live for a year in the US, i can aplly for citizenship?

Also, do i need to continue working for the US government after the year i worked in US for private company in order to be eligeble for applying for US citizenship?

Thank you!

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Attorney answers 3


Your main issue is whether you've abandoned your permanent residency. If you haven't applied for a re-entry permit, just returning to the US periodically is not sufficient to avoid a finding of abandonment. What's important is your intent on whether you intend to return to the US. This wouuld depend on a lot of facts. Working for the US government on temporary assignment may proove that you intend to return to the US eventually.

If you received your green card through your US citizenship spouse you may be eligible for expeditious naturlization but more facts would be need to establish if this is a possibility for you. You should contact an American immigration attorney to review your case.

Please note that by answering this question an attorney client relationship is not created. My answer is general information based on the facts provided in the question. Detailed and accurate advice may only be given once a lawyer is able to meet with a person to assess the totality of a person's circumstances.


I agree with Ms Flynn again.

Section 316 paragraphs (b), (c), and (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows for certain exceptions to the continuous residence requirement for those applicants working abroad for:

The United States government, including the Military
Contractors of the United States government
A recognized American institution of research (List of Recognized American Institutions of Research and Other Recognized Organizations)
A public international organization
An organization designated under the International Immunities Act

Neil I Fleischer (513) 977-4209 Note: Neil Fleischer is an attorney licensed in the State of Ohio The below answer is provided for informational use only. One should not act or refrain to act solely based on the information provided. No attorney/client relationship is created unless an Agreement is signed by the attorney and the client. Best regards, Neil Neil I Fleischer The Fleischer Law Firm, LLC 917 Main Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1314 Direct telephone: 513 977 4209 Enjoy our Blog at

Janice Ann Flynn

Janice Ann Flynn


Thanks again!


I agree with my colleague.

This answer is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as final, nor is it intended as legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney before making any legal decisions. Gen Kimura, (832) 247-6932.

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