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Why Do Some People Have to Wait Four Years and a Day to Naturalize?

  • One of the requirements to naturalize is maintaining continuous residence.
  • CR involves keeping a permanent dwelling in the U.S. over a minimum period of time required by statute.
    • It’s the same legal concept as “domicile” 
    • Intent to stay in U.S. doesn’t matter
    • Actual physical location of green card holder and tie and connections to the US is what matters.
  • How is Continuous Residence Broken?
    • Claim non-resident alien status on tax return or fail to file a federal or state tax return because views self as not a resident of the U.S.
      • Can’t have it both ways! (Can’t keep LPR status and avoid paying taxes as a resident).
    • Absent from U.S. more than 6 months but less than a year
      • Overcome presumption with evidence of ties and connections
      • If you can't overcome the presumption, then the statutory period re-starts, based upon your last entry to the U.S.
      • Earliest can apply is at least 6 months from the 5 year anniversary of the new statutory period.
    • Absent from the U.S. one year or more.
      • Automatically breaks continuous residence
      • Reentry permits don’t help with CR
      • Need to bring absence during statutory period under 1 year. So if you have a 5 year statutory period of CR to natz, then you need to wait 4 years and a day from your long absence from the U.S.
      • But to avoid having to overcome the presumption of a break in residence, it’s best to wait for 4 years and 6 months to file (so then there’s no presumption of break in CR since outside U.S. less than 6 months during statutory period).


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