To qualify for naturalization, you must generally have resided continuously in the United States after your lawful permanent resident (LPR) admission for at least three years, if filing based on being married to and living with your U.S. citizen spouse, or otherwise five years before filing your naturalization application and up to the time of naturalization. You must also establish that you have resided in the state or service district having jurisdiction over the application for three months prior to filing.
In addition, you are generally required to have been physically present in the United States for at least half the time for which your continuous residence is required. For example, if you are required to demonstrate five years of continuous residence, you must also demonstrate physical presence in the United States for at least 30 months (at least 913 days) before filing the naturalization application.
Even if due to unforeseen reasons, such as COVID-19-related travel restrictions, an absence from the United States for a continuous period of one year or more (365 days or more) during the period for which continuous residence is required will automatically break the continuity of residence. This applies whether the absence takes place before or after you file your naturalization application.
Unless you have an approved Form N 470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes, USCIS must deny a naturalization application for failure to meet the continuous residence requirement if you have been continuously absent for a period of one year or more during the statutory period. Form N-470 preserves residence for LPRs engaged in qualifying employment abroad with the U.S. government, an American institution of research, an American firm or corporation, a public international organization of which the United States is a member, or a religious denomination or interdenominational mission organization.
If you still have questions about your eligibility for naturalization, or any other immigration matter, contact our attorneys at the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C. Our experienced immigration attorneys can address your concerns and advise you of the proper course of action.