This morning while I was reviewing a client’s passport as to the length of time he had spent abroad , when the issue of “continuous residency” arose as I saw that he had been out of the US for longer than six months during the last five years. He asked what are the consequences of being out of the US for longer than six months as it relates to my N-400 petition for Naturalization?
One of the requirements of obtaining US citizenship is that you have been a permanent resident in the US for five years. If you obtained permanent residence through marriage, then the time requirement is reduced to three years.
It is important during your term of permanent residence to not be outside of the US for longer than six months at a time. If you stay outside of the US for longer than six months, you may be not just putting your permanent residency at risk, but you are also re-setting the time period for you to be eligible to apply for citizenship. The USCIS deems absences of 6-12 months to create a presumption that you have broken the continuity of residence and may re-set the five or three year continued residency requirement. Over a year outside the US by law will be deemed as having broken the continuity of residency thereby automatically re-setting the five or three year continued residency requirement.