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Continuous Presence versus Physical Presence for Naturalization

Many clients have questions about the physical presence and continuous presence requirements before applying for citizenship. It is always best to consult an immigration attorney before sending  in your application.


Physical presence means you actual time in the United States. If you are a green card holder you should be living in the United States at least 6 months a year and filing taxes in the US. If you are outside of the United States for more than 6 months you may be presumed to have abandoned your green card status. If you know you will be away you can apply for a re-entry permit by filing form I-131 in the United States before your trip abroad. You also need to be physically present 30 months out of the previous 5 years in order to be eligible.

You are generally required to be in the US continuously for 5 years before you apply for citizenship. You can be continuously present in the US if you take short trips abroad, 1 or 2 months. It is important to know that you need to know the dates of your trips abroad including Mexico and Canada when you apply.   

Our firm has  helped many people become citizens.

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