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Friday, May 2, 2014

San Francisco Immigration Lawyer Q & A: Meeting the Physical Presence requirements for Naturalization while Traveling Overseas

Question: My green card (Employment based) was approved in September 2010, and since then I have not travelled outside US. But after 4 months from now, I have a need to be in India for 8-10 months to oversee medical treatment of my aged parents. I am planning to apply for re-entry permit and once my permit comes through, I will travel to India. Now my questions are:

1) If I return to US after 10 months of departure with a valid re-entry permit, will the counter for 5 years towards naturalization be re-set? Means, will I lose 1.5 years of stay in US and my 5 years will count from the day I return to US after 10 months?

2) If I don’t lose this 1.5 years, will that be an issue at the time of citizenship?

3) What documents are required at the time of interview for citizenship?

Answer: No, you will not have to start counting the five years from zero after you return. You just won’t be able to count that time towards the physical presence requirement (2.5 out of 5 years).

Also, there is the N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes. Notably, the purpose of your trip may disqualify from eligibility; and if you do not have any other extended trips planned, it might not be relevant - in other words, despite your proposed trip, your eligibility for Naturalization will not be delayed. Still, it is still worth reviewing the requirements in my opinion.

Your eight-ten month trip should not be a problem. The issues are (1) avoiding abandonment of your green card; and filing a re-entry permit is generally viewed as strong evidence that you do NOT intend to abandon your permanent residence; and (2) meeting the physical presence requirement for naturalization [2.5 out of 5 years in the US].

Information about Natz can be found here.

Here is a link to a USCIS checklist/eligibility worksheet:

http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/attachments.pdf

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

 


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