Monthly Archives: August 2014

Citizenship and long absences from the US

Permanent residents with more than 6 month continuous absence from the US may still be eligible to apply for US citizenship under certain conditions.

To be eligible to apply for citizenship, a person must be a permanent resident for at least 5 years (can be 3 years if spouse of US citizen), physically present in the United States for at least fifty percent of the time, and be a person of good moral character. Moreover, the person must not have any absence from the United States of more than 6 consecutive months.

If a permanent resident is outside the United States for a more than 6 consecutive months (less than one year), the government can consider this as disruption of his residence and might deny an application for citizenship. To avoid this, some of the factors that the officer will look at are the following: (a) Did the permanent resident terminate his employment in the US? (b) Are there immediate family members who are present in the US? (c) Did he retain access to his home here while he was abroad? (d) Did he obtain employment abroad?

Thus, it is crucial to prove that the person did not disrupt his permanent resident status. He can show documents such as tax returns, bank statements, letters that he continued to receive even in his absence, affidavits from family members, proof of medical condition like a medical certificate from the doctor who treated him while out of the country, evidence about how he supported himself abroad during his stay. The more evidence that he can provide, the better.