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Little_My

A few questions regarding continuous residency

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I was issued my greencard on July 20, 2011. Therefore, the earliest I am eligible to apply for US citizenship - should I choose to do so - is around April 26, 2014.

My husband, the USC, is a co-founder and co-owner of a company that is based in SF, but operates in India. Due to recent changes in their personnel and in the situation of their company, it now seems that he might have to re-locate to India for a while, instead of just traveling there 3-5 times per year as he has been doing so far. This would obviously mean that I would go with him.

Now, I have done a lot of reading about continuous residency and traveling abroad with a GC. I know that technically I can be abroad for up to a year without a re-entry permit, and if the absence is for more than a year, I need to file the I-131 for a re-entry permit before leaving. If we have to go, I am not planning to stay abroad for more than a year, more likely 9-11 months.

What I am not 100% clear about is whether this possible absence of around 10 months or so would..

1. Stop the citizenship clock while I am away, meaning that the time I had my GC before leaving would count towards the 3 years, the time in India wouldn't, and the time after I return would start running from what it left off on when I moved to India

2. Zero the citizenship clock altogether, and I would start from scratch upon return to the US

3. Not affect the citizenship clock

If the answer is option 1, then, since to qualify for US citizenship, applicants must show that they have been physically present in the U.S. for eighteen months within the three year period before applying, would this mean that assuming we move around July this year, meaning I would have been here as an LPR for 12 months before the move, and I would come back from India around May of 2012, I could still apply around April of 2014 as long as I spent that time from returning from India to applying for citizenship in the US, therefore accumulating around 20 months or so of physical presence in the US? I know the naturalization guide states that:

If you leave the United States for more than 6 months, but less than 1 year, you have broken or disrupted your continuous residence unless you can prove otherwise. Read the “Document Checklist” in the back of this Guide to find out what information you must give to prove you did not break your continuous residence.

What I am not clear about is how that break or disruption exactly affects the timeline - does it throw me back to square one, or does it just mean that the time abroad won't count?

Thanks again for advice and insight!


Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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it's my understanding that OPTION 1 covers yer circumstances.


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

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You "just" got your Green Card, so that sucks, big time.

One you have been absent from the U.S. for 6 months, your residency clock stops. Once you return, provided this happens before you have been abroad for less than one year, the clock will start again where it stopped.

For you that means that as long as you are coming back within a year's time, you are still on the path to naturalization as long as your total time in the US is greater than the time abroad . . . at the time you are sending off your N-400. Your main problem will be to convince CBP that you are still residing in the U.S., when in fact you are not.


There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all . . . . The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic . . . . There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

President Teddy Roosevelt on Columbus Day 1915

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Yes, I agree - it's definitely not the most desirable situation.. but, it is what it is. My husband's company does great things and it really is his dream, and at this point I want to support him in what he does every way I can. Right now it looks like that might mean the both of us relocating to India for a while, since neither one of us is ready to spend 8-10 months apart.

However, our plan in the long run is to remain here, and for several reasons it probably will make the most sense for me to go for citizenship as soon as I can to make future traveling and relocating easier - we both work in the field of international development, which means we most likely might be traveling a lot for work and might spend periods of time abroad in the future too.

I agree, my biggest challenge will be CBP when I am on my way back here. Obviously, we won't be keeping an apartment here while we are in India. We do plan to keep our US bank accounts and credit cards, and possibly our insurance as well. Our mail will go to my husband's parent's address. His company is a US based firm, so I will also be able to produce documents stating that his relocation to India was necessary and temporary to hopefully show that our relocation was partly due to external reasons and beyond our control, and also that it was never meant to be permanent. Now, obviously none of these necessarily will convince the CBP officer - but I won't know until I try. I will also be able to come back to the US a few times while we are living abroad, which will hopefully help.

However, if anyone who has been in a similar situation or has knowledge about this otherwise has any tips or pointers in terms of what kind of documentation we might want to have at hand when I am returning to show I did not abandon my residency, all advice will be greatly appreciated.


Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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I've not been in your particular situation, but remember: If you try to re-enter and you're confronted with an obstinate CBP agent, remain as calm as possible throughout any abuse, and, if all seems lost, ask for a supervisor. Volunteer for "secondary" if necessary. Keep requesting further consideration until you're let in.

You might visit http://www.cbp.gov and pose your question to the Q&A outlet that's there. Even better, phone the POE where you would actually be trying to re-enter, ask for a supervisor, get the official word, and make note of his/her name & title, along with the date & time of your conversation. That way, if you get hopeful-sounding information or instructions, you can "drop the name" upon actual POE if you're challenged.

Let us know, si man.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Hi Little My,

I think I can offer you some advice by sharing my experiences... I'm a US citizen and my wife currently has a conditional GC and we moved to Europe ~4 weeks after she received it due to my work transfer. We ultimately obtained a re-entry permit (REP) (it's a long story, search my user name for threads with addition details) and I highly recommend you obtain one in your hands before you depart.

The #1 first thing you should do is get a REP, even if you don't plan to be out of US for >1 year. This 1st REP will most likely be valid for 2 years or until the date your GC expires, whichever is earlier, in your case it sounds like the conditional GC will set this date.

Why you should do this: As I understand it, USCIS cannot use the time during a valid re-entry permit to count against you in their consideration of abandoned residency. It also is a strong demonstration that your travels abroad are temporary and you do not intend to live abroad permanently. A REP does not protect the time required for naturalization/citizenship, but if you're worried of possibly deemed to have abandoned residency a REP is a part of your insurance.

When entering the US my wife has on her

  • joint US tax returns for several years
  • scan of our vehicle title that we left in the US at my mom's house
  • scans of some recent US credit card bills (we use one of my US family's house as the billing address)
  • scan of marriage cert.
  • print outs of relevant USCIS communication
  • REP
  • GC
  • and the newest development, a US citizen daughter!

We've had no problems so far entering the US.

In addition, it may possibly be easier to enter if your US husband is with you. Go through the same line and step up to border agent together. We answer any questions truthfully, honestly and efficiently without offering additional information. I don't want to oversimplify it, but if the very very worst happens and USCIS takes your GC (which is extremely unlikely if you have a valid REP), then you do have the right to obtain another one.

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Thanks for all the inputs and advice! Your help is very much appreciated.

I had an additional question relating to ROC - IF we have to relocate to India, we will most likely go in July, and I will then return in less than a year from that, so probably in June 2013. My GC was issued on July 20, 2011, so I need to file for ROC before July 20, 2013. Should I expect any additional scrutiny or problems with ROC if I have just spent a considerable time abroad? I will be more than able to show ample proof of on-going marital relationship, that won't be an issue - but will the time in India be an additional challenge, assuming I am not send to an immigration judge for abandoning my residence when attempting to come back in..

Edited by Little_My

Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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I am resurrecting this thread with a few more questions about this same topic.

It is confirmed now - me and my hubby will be temporarily relocating to India in August 2012 due to his job.

Now, what I have established now, thanks to much appreciated help from VJ members, is that if I leave US in August 2012, and return back to the US in less than 12 months, my citizenship clock will continue from where it left off when I moved to India. I was issued my 2 year conditional GC on July 20, 2011 - therefor, when I move to India, I have been a permanent resident for about 12 months. I also know I have to file ROC within the 90 day window before my 2nd anniversary as a permanent resident. Here are my questions..

1. How is it determined whether ROC is filed on time? Is it based on the date the package was mailed, or the date it was received by USCIS? In other words, if I am back in the US late June/first week of July to mail the ROC package, should this suffice? I can also mail it from abroad to make sure it gets to USCIS on time.

2. Re-entry permit: I know I do not need it, as I plan to return before I have been abroad for less than 12 months. However, I was wondering if getting a re-entry permit prior to traveling, even though I know I will not need it, would help me prove that I did not abandon my residency? I know this will be my biggest challenge once I return. I will be able to show bank accounts, credit cards and a letter from my husbands company stating that his relocation was 1) necessary, and 2) temporary, but I was wondering if re-entry permit would also show that my plan was to return to the US all along.

I will be able to come to the US probably 2-3 times during the period we are residing in India, which will hopefully make things easier for me. Both me and my husband work in the field of international development, which makes us very mobile people, so my goal is to remain on the citizenship track without delays. Any suggestions and/or similar experiences are greatly welcomed and appreciated.


Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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1. Based on the date the package was mailed.. IF it's accepted. What happens if you made and error and the package was returned to you? It's better to apply about a month before the deadline just to be sure you're under the line.

2. Will you be living outside the US for more than a year (ignoring visits will you LIVE outside for longer)? If so I would get the re-entry permit anyway, makes it more obvious you aren't intending to abandon your status. Remember also that any stay outside the US can be used to determine whether you've abandoned your residency. Normally it's stays over 6 months but if you establish a pattern of out for 5 months and back for 2 weeks, it might not look great.

I just want to remind you that while says for 6-12 months simply pause the clock, any period over 6 months will mean you need to show more proof come N-400 time that you didn't disrupt your continuous residency. If possible I would try and make sure you come back every 5 months (at most).

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Thanks for the insights and advice, they are all very helpful. I will be leaving the US around mid-July this year, and then have to be back by late June in 2013 to file for ROC - I am also planning to make sure I won't be abroad for more than 11 months. It doesn't seem like there is any harm in applying for the re-entry permit, so my thinking is to do it anyway, just in case, even though there shouldn't be any need for it.

I am pretty convinced we'll be able to satisfy the requirements for additional proof come N-400-filing time. I can definitely come back once or twice during the 11 month period when I am in India, and I can also provide proof of my husband being temporarily relocated there by his company, and therefore show that it was not our personal decision to make this move now, but due to his company's needs. We are also keeping accounts here, I am only "freezing" my gym and yoga memberships instead of cancellign them altogether, etc. I think we should be okay with being able to show that I did not abandon my residency.


Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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Good thinking, and good luck, si man!


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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