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How will my international trips affect my ability to get U.S. citizenship?

After I got my green card, I stayed in the United States for more than two years and took very few international trips. About two years ago, my father was very sick so I had to return to my previous home country to take care of him as well as the family business. My wife and kids stayed in the U.S. so I had to come back frequently to stay with them. I have taken more than 25 international trips during past two years and the longest trip lasted for about 80 days overseas. Now, it has been five years since my family and I have received our green cards and we are thinking about naturalization. Although I stayed in U.S. for more than 30 months during the past five years, the total time I stayed in U.S. is less than half year (six months) during 2015 and 2016. And I also took many international trips although none of them were longer than six months. How will this situation affect my naturalization? Thanks.

Answers

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    Answered on

    You must look at the total from the last 5 years and look for any trips that lasted more than 6 months continuously. Even if you frequently traveled in the last year or so, the overall requirement may still be met with the proper review and preparation by an immigration attorney.

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    Answered on

    The date of filing the Application for Naturalization is important. You will have to go back five years and determine if 50% of that time was spent in the U.S. Also you will have to determine that no more than 6 months at one time was spent in the foreign country. In addition, you have to physically reside in the state for a continuous period of 3 months before you file the Naturalization Application.

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    Answered on

    The requirement to apply for citizenship is that you be a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States for 5 years. The period starts upon receipt of your Conditional Lawful Permanent Residence and you can actually file 90 days before your 5th anniversary. During the applicable 5-year period you must have been in the U.S. half of that time, which would be 30 months in the aggregate and never outside the U.S. for any period of time continuously longer than 6 months. So it is okay to have taken many international trips, provided that you were physically in the U.S. at least half of the time and, as you stated, none of the trips were longer than 6 months.

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    Answered on

    Based on the scenario you presented, it appears your international trips should not prevent you from filing for naturalization. However, you should report each time you traveled outside the U.S., as the USCIS typically wants to know the details of those trips. Also, make sure all the days are accurately counted. Advisably, consult an immigration attorney to ensure that all information provided is accurate and thorough.

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    Answered on

    If your trips were not longer than 6 months, it should not raise a presumption that you abandoned residency. You should be fine to apply for citizenship. I would even advise that you should apply for your citizenship, especially if you plan to continue to spend a lot of time outside the U.S. in the future. If the officer asks about the trips you can explain that you had to take care of your sick father. The fact that you maintained a home in the United States and your wife and children lived here is additional evidence that you continued to reside in the U.S.

  • Avatar
    Answered on

    Go back 5 years from today and calculate if you have been INSIDE the United States for at least 1/2 the time (30 months) total. That is the required amt of time you must be physically present in the U.S.

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    Answered on

    If you maintained your home in the United States, which you appear to have done as your family is here, and you took several short trips to care for parents abroad, this would appear not to be a problem as you can show that the United States is still your home. The fact that you were out more than half the time recently will be an issuebut you just need to explain why you needed to spend so much time out of the U.S.

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    Answered on

    One of the requirements for naturalization is that, in the immediate 5 years prior to filing, you must have been physically present and a resident in the United States for more than 50% of that time. So, in your case, as long as you have met the remaining criteria for Naturalization, having been in the U.S. for more than 30 months in the last 5 years, you should be clear to proceed with your filing.

  • Avatar
    Answered on

    If you have spent more than half (at least 913 days) of the last five years in the United States and you do not have any single absence/trip of 180 days or more, you should be able to meet both the physical presence and continuous residence requirements for naturalization.

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