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JosiahMiller

Citizenship after a long time abroad

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I have a similary question?

My wife in December of 2002 came to the US on a fiancé visa…we were married in the US in December 2002 and she received her temporary Permanent Residence card in October 2003. In May of 2003 until now we are working for a mission agency as missionaries traveling back and forth to Colombia (note: in Oct. 2005 she received her Permanent Resident Card). We stay in Colombia for up to 11 months and travel back to the US to stay one month and return to Colombia to continue to work.

On a side note: In 2010 we overstayed within the country 16 months. We had to prove the reason for staying too long was a medical issue and the embassy approved our over stay and my wife continued with her permanent residence card with the orginal date of Oct. 2003.

We now want to apply for her US citizenship. The question is can we apply for her citizenship right now? And if so, can we apply in the US Embassy located in Bogota, Colombia or should we apply in the US? Do we meet all the time requirements or do we need to extend our time in the US for three months to meet the state residential requirement?

Thank you very much, David

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I'm a little confused about the overstay. Do you mean overstayed here in the US? If she had her permanent resident card, she can stay as long as it is valid which should be for 10 years. If you read the guides about naturalization, you have to be living in the US for a certain amount of time. You must document all of your trips outside of the US and count up the days that you were gone. It sounds like you are out of the US for about 11 months a year. Do you have some kind of re-enty permit? Because maintaining your green card usually means living most of the time in the US. Read the guides for Naturalization, but I think you are going to have a problem with the residency requirement. Also, someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I have never heard of applying for citizenship while living outside of the country. I believe you would have to have an established residence here. Good luck to you!smile.png


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Well, the overstay of 16 months COULD be used to determine that she abandoned her status. I know she has since been permitted entry but I'm not sure whether that really matters given her pattern.

The 11 month stays outside the US with 1 month in could be used to show she was abusing her LPR status and it could be revoked.

The stays outside of 6+ months break continuous residency. Have you been filing US taxes (both of you) and maintaining a residence here in the US? US bank account for both of you etc? Proof that she did not intend to break residency?

Qns:

1. Would she be applying based on 5 years as LPR or 3 years married to USC?

2. How long in the last THREE years has she been IN the US?

3. How long in the last FIVE years has she been IN the US?

From your OP it doesn't appear that she would be eligible yet and it also appears that she's been abusing her GC. I have no idea if USCIS would take the N-400 application as an opportunity to assess her absences and revoke her greencard but anything is possible.

The greencard is for LIVING in the US, not for visiting. It sounds like she doesn't need the GC and should give it up and reapply when you're both ready to settle in the US.

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I assume she is applying on the basis that she has been a lawful permanent resident for at least three years, and she's been married to and living with the same US citizen for the last three years, and her spouse has been a USC for at least three years. Alternately she can qualify as a LPR of the US for at least 5 years.

Per USCIS instructions: "If you are applying based on five years as a LPR or based on three years as a LPR married to a USC, you may apply for naturalization up to 90 days before you meet the "continuous residence" requirement. You must meet all other requirements at the time that you file your application with USCIS."

Whether she meets continuous residence requirements is going to rely on the definition on the website. From my reading, spending only a month a year in the US -- even if she still has access to her home -- is going to seriously delay this application. As per the guidelines on the USCIS site (http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=399faf4c0adb4210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=399faf4c0adb4210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD):

Applicants are required to show that they have:

  • Resided continuously in the US for [five - if standard, three - if married] years before applying.
"Continuous residence" means that the applicant has maintained residence within the US for the required period of time.
Extended absences outside of the U.S. may disrupt an applicant’s continuous residence.
Physical Presence
Applicants are required to show that they were:
  • Physically present in the U.S. for thirty months within the five year period before applying, or (see legal basis)
  • Physically present in the U.S. for eighteen months within the three year period before applying in the case of qualified spouses of U.S. citizens (see legal basis)
  • In addition, applicants are required to show they have resided for at least three months immediately preceding the filing of Form N-400 in the USCIS district or state where the applicant claims to have residency (See 8 CFR §316.2(a)(5) & §319.1(a)(5)).

Part 6 of the N-400 form requests to know the applicant's residence and employment for the past 5 years. If she is spending 6+ months a year outside the country on a visa in Colombia, I think that will need to be factored in for employment.

Part 7 of the N-400 form requires you to list all trips taken outside the US longer than 24 hours. These count against the minimum days present in the US needed to file for naturalization. For example, the standard "5 year citizenship" path requires you to live in the US for at least five years.


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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At the very least, she must be resident in the US for a minimum of 90 days prior to filing for the application. She cannot file from outside the US unless she works for one of the exempted research institutions listed on the USCIS site, which requires a separate form and supporting documentation.

From the sounds of it, if she's spending 11 months outside the US out of every year, she isn't eligible. It may also be decided by USCIS that she does not have eligibility as an LPR because she works/lives elsewhere.


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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Fiorst, I would assume that the missionary work is what has allowed her to come and go from the US and has been the reason CBP has not taken her GC for being outside the US more than inside. She does not meet the continous residency requiremnts. She can use the 364 day rule and thus would be eligible for USC after she has been in the US for 2 more years with no significant trips outside the US. I would wait until the two of you have decided to maintain more time in the US than outside before you even begin to think about USC. I would be more worried about keeping the GC right now. CBP is not the USCIS and just because they let her back into the US, it will be up to USCIS to grant USC or decide that she has adandoned her LPR status. I would tread lightly right now.

Good luck,

Dave

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I have a similary question?

My wife in December of 2002 came to the US on a fiancé visawe were married in the US in December 2002 and she received her temporary Permanent Residence card in October 2003. In May of 2003 until now we are working for a mission agency as missionaries traveling back and forth to Colombia (note: in Oct. 2005 she received her Permanent Resident Card). We stay in Colombia for up to 11 months and travel back to the US to stay one month and return to Colombia to continue to work.

On a side note: In 2010 we overstayed within the country 16 months. We had to prove the reason for staying too long was a medical issue and the embassy approved our over stay and my wife continued with her permanent residence card with the orginal date of Oct. 2003.

We now want to apply for her US citizenship. The question is can we apply for her citizenship right now? And if so, can we apply in the US Embassy located in Bogota, Colombia or should we apply in the US? Do we meet all the time requirements or do we need to extend our time in the US for three months to meet the state residential requirement?

Thank you very much, David

Does your wife meet the physical presence requirement for naturalization?

With occasional visits to the US, it doesn't seem like she qualifies to naturalize.

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