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What are residence and presence requirements for naturalization?


Immigrants in San Diego who are seeking citizenship in the United States must understand the various requirements that must be fulfilled for naturalization. Some are basic, but no less important. Residence and physical presence requirements fall into this category. Those who have all the other requirements but do not meet the criteria for residence and presence could find themselves unable to be naturalized.

With continuous residence, the applicant must show that he or she has resided continuously in the U.S. for at least five years prior to the application or that he or she resided continuously in the U.S. for three years if the person is a qualified spouse of a U.S. citizen. Continuous residence means that the person has maintained a residence in the U.S. for whichever amount of time is applicable based on the situation, either five years or three years. If a person is absent from the U.S., the process could be disrupted. An absence of more than six months but less than one year could affect the continuous residence requirement unless the person is able to prove otherwise. If there is an absence of one year or more, it might disrupt the continuous residence requirement.

With physical presence, the person must show that he or she was physically in the U.S. for 30 months of the five years before applying. The person, if it is a spouse of a U.S. citizen, must have been physically in the U.S. for 18 months within the three-year period prior to applying. The applicant must also show that he or she resided in the U.S. Citizenship and immigrantion Services district or state for a minimum of three months where the application for residency is being made before applying.

There are exceptions to these rules for those who were working abroad for the U.S. government; were contractors for the U.S. government; were part of a recognized American research institution; a public international organization; or an organization that was designated under the International Immunities Act. People who are planning to apply for naturalization should be aware of these rules. If there is a question or a problem related to this or any other citizenship issue, a legal professional experienced in citizenship can help.

Source: uscis.gov, "Continuous Residence and Physical Presence Requirements for Naturalization," accessed on June 20, 2017

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