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Leaving the U.S. After Filing a Naturalization Petition

By March 24, 2021Immigration
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If you plan to leave the U.S. for more than 6 months after your Naturalization petition was filed, but before you become a U.S. citizen, you will still have to rebut the presumption that this absence did not disrupt the Continuous Residence Period.

If you are a green card holder and you are thinking about filing a Naturalization petition and becoming a U.S. citizen, you should first assess whether you meet all the criteria for naturalization.

Generally, you must:

Generally, you must:

  1. Be at least 18 years old;
  2. Have had your green card for 5 years (or 3 years if you got your green card based on a marriage to a U.S. citizen) ;
  3. Have lived in the district where you plan to file your naturalization petition for at least 3 months prior to filing the petition;
  4. Demonstrate that you have been continuously residing in the U.S. for the past 5 (or 3) years;
  5. Have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months in the past 5 years (or 18 months in the past 3 years if you got your green card based on the marriage to a U.S. citizen);
  6. Demonstrate that you have a good moral character for the 5 years (or 3 years) prior to filing the naturalization petition;
  7. You are wiling to support the U.S. Constitution and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

To meet the Continuous residence requirement, you will have to show that you have maintained a domicile or principal actual dwelling place within the United States for the 5 –or 3-year Continuous Residence Period.

Please note that extended absences outside of the United States for more than six months but less than one year create a rebuttable presumption that the absence may have disrupted the Continuous Residence Period.

This means that a Resident who traveled outside the United States for a period of 6 months or more but less than one year within the 5-or 3-year period can still attempt to prove that the continuous presence was not disrupted (e.g. you could submit evidence showing that you kept paying for rent during this period, you owned a house in the U.S., or that you kept working for your U.S. employer).

Please note that USCIS will look whether you have met the continuous residence requirement up until your admission to U.S. citizenship. This is very important to keep in mind, in case you are planning a longer trip outside the U.S. after the naturalization petition is filed. If you take a trip outside the U.S. that is longer than 6 months after the naturalization petition is filed, but before your naturalization petition is approved/you become a U.S. citizen, you would still have to rebut the presumption that you disrupted your Continuous Residence and bring supporting documentation to the interview.

Additionally, the USCIS may also look at multiple absences that are shorter than 6 months and question whether you meet the Continuous residence requirement.

Additionally, if you are planning to leave the U.S. after you file the Naturalization application, you should keep in mind that after USCIS receives your naturalization petition, you will have to attend an in person biometrics appointment & naturalization interview.

Please click here to read our blog post on the difference between the Continuous Residence & Physical Presence requirements.

Please click here to find out how you can prepare for your naturalization interview.

Please click here to find out if you can be a dual citizen of two countries.

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