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Posts Tagged ‘applying for US citizenship’

One of the key eligibility requirements while applying for US citizenship is maintaining continuous residence. It means that you should not have left the United States for a long period of time. If you had left the United States for too long, you would have interrupted your continuous residence and it might make you ineligible to apply for US citizenship.

Outside the United States between 6 and 12 months :

If you leave the US for more than six months, but less than one year, you have broken or disrupted your continuous residence unless you can prove otherwise.

Outside the United States for 1 year or longer :

Mostly, if you leave the United States for 1 year or more, it means you have disrupted your continuous residence. This is also applicable even if you have a Re-entry Permit. If you leave the country for one year or longer, you may be eligible to re-enter as a Permanent Resident if you have a Re-entry Permit. But none of the time you were in the United States before you left the US counts toward your time in continuous residence.

If you return within 2 years, some of your time spent outside of US does count. In fact, the last 364 days of your time outside the US (1 year minus 1 day) counts toward meeting your continuous residence requirement.

This continuous residence requirement does not apply to certain types of applicants, such as members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving during designated periods of conflict. Other provisions allow a few other types of applicants to remain outside the US more than a year without disrupting their continuous residence status. To maintain their continuous residence while out of the US, such people must file an “Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes” (Form N-470).

In the citizenship application, while counting the total number of days you have been out of the US, you have to include all trips you have taken outside the US. This should include even the short trips and visits to Canada and Mexico. For example, if you go to Canada for a weekend, you must include that trip when you are counting how many days you have spent out of the US. Normally,partial days spent in the US count as whole days spent in the US. However, certain types of applicants can count the time outside the US as time physically present in the US. An example of this exception is one who is abroad in the employment of the U.S. Government.

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Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements before applying for US citizenship. Being at least 18 years or older and a being a permanent resident (Green Card holder) now and during all of the past 5 years are few of the requirements. You should have resided in the United States for a continuous period before filing of the citizenship application. If you are not married to a U.S. citizen, you should have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of five years after admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you should have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of three years following your admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident.

A prolonged absence from the U.S. will break the continuity of your residence in the U.S. for naturalization purposes. Additionally, you should have met physical presence requirements too. It means that you have actually been in the United States. Prior to applying, you should have resided in your current state for at least 3 months.

If you are applying for US Citizenship, you should file Form N-400 , Application for Naturalization with the USCIS. Certain supporting documents should be send with your N-400 application. Documents that are in a foreign language should be accompanied by a full English language translation while submitting to the USCIS. In such cases, the translator should certify the translation as complete and accurate, and also by the translator’s certification that he/she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.

The filing fee for the citizenship application is $595.00. Additionally, a biometric fee of $85.00 is required when filing this Form N-400. You may submit one check or money order for $680 for both the application and biometric fees. If you are filing under the military provisions , you do not require a filing fee.

The processing time for the citizenship application can vary from five months to more than two years depending on where and when you choose to file your application. Then the swearing-in ceremony for receiving the certificate will take place from 1 to 180 days after the interview, although in a few USCIS district offices, it can take another one or two years. The length of time for the entire process depends on the number of Citizenship applications the USCIS offices receive in each state. Additionally, making a mistake on your application can cost you even more time. So always ensure that your application is complete and error- free.

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There are quite a few eligibility requirements to be met in order to qualify for citizenship.

  • You should be 18 years or older.
  • You have to be a permanent resident (have a Green Card) now and during all of the past 5 years.
  • Continuous residence requirement: You should have resided in the United States for a continuous period prior to the filing of the naturalization application. If you are not married to an American citizen, you should have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of five years after admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident. Whereas, if you are married to a U.S. citizen, you should have resided in the U.S. for a continuous period of three years after admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident.
  • Physical Residence Requirement: You should have physically resided in the U.S. for one half the period of continuous residence needed within the period required for continuous residence. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you should have been physically present in the United States accumulatively for eighteen months within three years prior to the date of applying for US citizenship. Whereas if you are not married to a U.S.citizen, you should have been physically present in the U.S. accumulatively for thirty months within five years before the date of filing the application. This requirement is cumulative but not continuous. You can leave and come back to the U.S within the three or five years as much as you want as long as you do not break the continuity of residence, and as long as your total time spent in the U.S. adds up to eighteen or thirty months.
  • You should have resided in your current state for at least 3 months before applying. Note that your current state is the state where you are submitting your citizenship application.
  • You should not have broken any immigration law and also that you have not been ordered to leave the US.
  • You should not have been a member of the Communist Party at any time during the past ten years.
  • You should be able to show at least 5 years of good moral character and that you believe in the principles of the US constitution.
  • You should be able to speak, read, and write simple English during your interview and that you can pass the test on US history and government.
  • You should be prepared to take an oath of allegiance to the U.S.

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