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N-400 Application – Question 7

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N-400 Application – Question 7

When filling out the N-400 Part 7, it applies to both the 3 year and the 5 year eligibility that is confusing – at least to me.

7A. How many total days did you spend outside the U.S. during the past 5 years.

7B. How many trips of 24 hours or more have you taken outside of the U.S. during the past 5 years.

7C. List below all the trips of 24 hours or more that you have taken outside the U.S. “since becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident”. Begin with your most recent trip. If you need more space, use a separate sheet(s) of paper.

My wife (married to a U.S. citizen) was granted a Permanent Resident card in Oct 2008. This means that she is required to live in the U.S. on a permanent basis for a period of 3 years before she would be eligible to take the interview and test for U.S. citizenship.

Here is my question: If she was required to live in the U.S. permanently from the Oct 2008 permanent resident card issue date, and she was eligible to take the test in Oct 2011 (three years later), Why does the application ask for how many times in 5 years that she has been outside the U.S. when she would have had no requirement to be domiciled in the U.S. for Oct 2006 and Oct 2007 time frame when she was holding a Visitor’s Visa prior to the Oct 2008 issue of the Permanent Resident card

Oct 2006 = Visitor’s Visa (no requirement to live in U.S.)

Oct 2007 = Visitor’s Visa (no requirement to live in U.S.) Year we got married

Oct 2008 = Granted a Permanent Resident card (expires Feb 2021)

Oct 2009 = First year domiciled in U.S. permanent.

Oct 2010 = Second year domiciled in U.S. permanent.

Oct 2011 = Third year domiciled in U.S. permanent - eligible for U.S. Citizenship filing.

Oct 2012 = Fourth year in U.S

Oct 2013 = Fifth year in U.S - Planning to file N-400 (but stuck on questions 7A, 7B, 7C.)

At this point in time I’m wondering if I have to go back only 3 years to (Oct 2010) as was granted for an applicant married to a U.S. citizen or adhere to their five year statements in 7A, 7B & 7C which is really confusing because if “for instance” you waited for 10 years to apply, you would have to go back 10 years of listing 24 hours or longer outside the U.S. per the 7C statement.

Sure is confusing and the permanent resident card ends up taking away your freedom to travel for many years as opposed to the freedom of coming and going freely, with very few restrictions, with a 10 year visitor’s visa. Go Figure!

By the way - are short gaps in your listing days outside the U.S. not longer then 4 to 6 weeks, maybe once or twice a year held against you at the interview?

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At this point in time I’m wondering if I have to go back only 3 years to (Oct 2010) as was granted for an applicant married to a U.S. citizen or adhere to their five year statements in 7A, 7B & 7C which is really confusing because if “for instance” you waited for 10 years to apply, you would have to go back 10 years of listing 24 hours or longer outside the U.S. per the 7C statement.

Sure is confusing and the permanent resident card ends up taking away your freedom to travel for many years as opposed to the freedom of coming and going freely, with very few restrictions, with a 10 year visitor’s visa. Go Figure!

By the way - are short gaps in your listing days outside the U.S. not longer then 4 to 6 weeks, maybe once or twice a year held against you at the interview?

Yes. only 3 years.

Length of visits only matter when you exceed the number of days outside the US, or exceed 6 months and need to prove you didn't break continuous residency.

As to your 2nd paragraph. A legal permanent RESIDENT is exactly that, someone who RESIDES in the US. A visitor, is someone who visits. They cannot live here. Of course their freedom to travel is different :S

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Thanks for the input. I was dreading on going back 5 years because that entailed tracking two of her passports (some dates are smeared, too light or stamped over another date and unintelligible).

I can only hope that the 3 year time frame of going back for dates outside the U.S. is a unanimous agreement by all as I would hate to have her submit the N-400 and have them reject it as needing to be 5 years and even worse – they pocket the money, say tough cookie and try again with another check.

Maybe it would be a good idea to fill in another page for Part 7 showing 5 years as a backup – just in case.

Through the whole process, now going on 7 years, it has been one hurdle after another and it is usually because you’re given bad or unclear information. At this point, I just want to see it all over with, I’m sick of the B.S. You would think by now that it would be clear and concise and only one way to be interpreted.

It must be the same guys that write the instructions for the IRS tax forms.

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Not to long ago if you purchased any product would get an instruction manual for just that one particular product, then to save costs, I don't know how, including a whole bunch of similar products in that same now fat instruction manual. Even worst than this don't even include that instruction manual now, expect you to download it and print it out.

Well the USCIS is not that much different, would be so much easier if they had different 3 and 5 year N-400 forms for the consumer, but everything is combined into one as well as the instructions. Spend more time trying to separate what applies to you than anything else. Also you have to download everything and print it out yourself.

That list of trips you have to fill out clearly states when you became a LPR, but only a given number of blanks, if you took more, have to make your own form on a separate sheet of papers. They don't put that total number of days under that form, suppose to back track to that very first question, how many days outside of the country in the last five years. At the advice of my attorney, we put in something like 440 days, said it is not legal for us to change the form. Those were the days before my wife entered this country, plus the number of days she was on trips. That is what they asked and that is what they got.

Did both the 3 and 5 year for my girls, with the 5 year, instructions state to type in an N/A for each blank that does not apply to you, that one was loaded with N/A's.

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N-400 Application – Question 7

7A. How many total days did you spend outside the U.S. during the past 5 years.

7B. How many trips of 24 hours or more have you taken outside of the U.S. during the past 5 years.

7C. List below all the trips of 24 hours or more that you have taken outside the U.S. “since becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident”. Begin with your most recent trip. If you need more space, use a separate sheet(s) of paper.

1: If she was required to live in the U.S. permanently from the Oct 2008.... why does the application ask for how many times in 5 years that she has been outside the U.S. when she would have had no requirement to be domiciled in the U.S. for Oct 2006 and Oct 2007 time frame?

2: At this point in time I’m wondering if I have to go back only 3 years to (Oct 2010) as was granted for an applicant married to a U.S. citizen or adhere to their five year statements in 7A, 7B & 7C which is really confusing....

3: are short gaps in your listing days outside the U.S. not longer then 4 to 6 weeks, maybe once or twice a year held against you at the interview?

1. The form applies to standard 5 year applicants, 3 year by marriage, 1 year by military service, and "other" LPRs. They don't have separate N-400, N-400M, N-400MS, and N-400O variations. Unfortunately all designations are rolled into one and the instructions apply to all the various applicants. The average LPR naturalization applicant is the 5 year one, so they get the standardized form. Don't like it? (Neither do many of us, I suspect) Petition your congressperson. :)

2. I would err on the side of caution and show 5 years vs. 3, but I figure more information beats not enough. She qualifies for three, therefore you can note the three. Have an additional page for five years and slip it into the application or be prepared to send it in or present at her interview if they ask. I don't think the IO would.

3. Short gaps (less than 4-6 weeks): I call those holidays. ;) If you have listed them, they should not be an issue. Declare them all on the list and use an extra sheet of paper as necessary, rather than omitting them. I spent at least a week or more regularly outside the US during my LPR phase. My IO didn't even ask about them. She peered into my passport briefly and saw a few stamps.


26 January 2005 - Entered US as visitor from Canada.
16 May 2005 - Assembled health package, W2s.
27 June 2005 - Sent package off to Chicago lockbox.
28 June 2005 - Package received at Chicago lockbox.
11 July 2005 - RFE: cheques inappropriately placed.
18 July 2005 - NOA 1: I-485, I-131, I-765 received!
19 July 2005 - NOA 1: I-130 received!
24 August 2005 - Biometrics appointment (Naperville, IL).
25 August 2005 - AOS touched.
29 August 2005 - AP, EAD, I-485 touched.
15 September 2005 - AP and EAD approved!
03 February 2006 - SSN arrives (150 days later)
27 February 2006 - NOA 2: Interview for 27 April!!
27 April 2006 - AOS Interview, approved after 10 minutes!
19 May 2006 - 2 year conditional green card.
01 May 2008 - 10 year green card arrives.
09 December 2012 - Assembled N-400 package.
15 January 2013 - Sent package off to Phoenix.
28 January 2013 - RFE: signature missing.
06 February 2013 - NOA 1: N-400 received!
27 February 2013 - Biometrics appointment (Detroit, MI).
01 April 2013 - NOA 2: Interview assigned.

15 May 2013 - Naturalization Interview, approved after 15 minutes.

10 June 2013 - Naturalized.

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