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westcoastJon

Traveling during N400/naturalization process

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Hey guys,

I'm currently a US green card holder based in Los Angeles who is eligible to apply for naturalization. A business opportunity has arisen overseas and I need to leave the country the 1st week of August but I still want to apply for citizenship.

I'm thinking:

- submit my N400 in the next few days

- get my fingerprints done by 1st week of August, which is when I depart

- come back in 4-6 months for the interview (reschedule/delay the interview to when I come back if need be)

- stay here for 1 month (2-months max) for interview/oath ceremony/expedited passport service

- once I receive my US passport, leave the country for however long I want

Thoughts?

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Hey guys,

I'm currently a US green card holder based in Los Angeles who is eligible to apply for naturalization. A business opportunity has arisen overseas and I need to leave the country the 1st week of August but I still want to apply for citizenship.

I'm thinking:

- submit my N400 in the next few days

- get my fingerprints done by 1st week of August, which is when I depart

- come back in 4-6 months for the interview (reschedule/delay the interview to when I come back if need be)

- stay here for 1 month (2-months max) for interview/oath ceremony/expedited passport service

- once I receive my US passport, leave the country for however long I want

Thoughts?

You have to demonstrate physical precense in the U.S. until the day you file your application. This won't be a problem.

You have to demonstrate continuous residence in the US all the way up to your oath date. If you are not residing in the U.S. then your application may be denied.

So you will be asked in the interview about your address and your job and your job location as well as your travel. If you show that you are only outside the U.S. temporarily and that you are still residing in the US then you should be fine. If it looks like you've moved abroad then they should deny your application. The USCIS policy manual clearly states that trips shorter than 6 months may break continuous residence depending on the circumstances.

At the oath ceremony you will be asked again if anything has changed since your interview. If for example you sell your home and move abroad after the interview and before the oath you may not be naturalized.

After naturalization you may leave for as long as you want. There have been in the past, and there are currently some proposals for, laws that would limit your ability to move abroad in the first few years after naturalization, but such laws do not currently exist.

Edited by JimmyHou

For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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thanks for all the advice!

so if I'm going to sublease my apartment during this 6-month trip does that still count as keeping my LA residence?

The rules are as stated above... as you can see they are open to interpretation.

You are required to be residing in the US until you become a citizen.

But what does residing mean exactly? That's vague.

If your interviewer feels that you don't live in the US anymore then your application will be denied.

If he feels that you don't live in the US anymore and that you don't intend to return, then your green card can be taken away.

On the other hand if the interviewer feels that this is a temporary trip, then you should have no problem.

-Trips over a year - these break continuous residency

-Trips between 6 months and a year - these may break continuous residency and it is up to you to explain why and how your residency was maintained.

-Trips under 6 months - these may break continuous residency but usually the officer has to come up with an explanation for why residency was broken.

At the interview the officer may just ask you if you're planning to live in the US and if you say yes, he may approve you. But he may also ask you for phone bills, rental agreements, credit card bills, car insurance... anything that can show him that you are still living in the US.

Just my opinion: if you're subleasing your apartment, that means that you're not living in the US anymore. What will matter is how long you're gone. If you're subleasing your apartment and can show that you'll be back at the end of the 6 months, then you'll probably be OK (in this case, try to return before 6 months are up). If you can't show this (for example if you are subleasing until the end of the lease and have nowhere to live after that) then you may have a problem.

Again, all I can say is that this area is open to interpretation and it'll depend on your interviewer. No need to panic, but you should understand the possible outcomes.

You have the option to apply for citizenship when you reestablish residency in the future provided that you don't lose your green card in the meantime.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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Sounds like your trip will be less than 6 months, after you file the N400, so I personally think it should be okay because you still wouldn't be over the 6 month timeframe and you are still maintaining your residence and other ties to the US.


CR1 / CR2 Visa:

(Day 1) 12/16/11: I-130 Application sent

(Day 283) 09/24/12: Interview at US Consulate – Approved!

(Day 287) 09/28/12: Visa Received & Immediately entered US using Visa

(Day 290) 10/01/12: Social Security Card sent automatically

Removal of Conditions CR1 / CR2
(Day 1) 07/28/14: Application sent.
(Day 135) 12/10/14: ROC Approved!
(Day 143) 12/18/14: 10 year GC received (IR1 / IR2)

Naturalization:
(Day 1) 06/30/15: Application sent.
(Day 210) 01/26/16: Interview and Oath Ceremony. DONE!

***Son and I became US Citizens 01/26/16***

(Day 1) 01/27/16: Applied for my U.S. Passport
(Day 14) 02/10/16: Passport Book & Cert of Naturalization received

(Day 1) 03/16/16: Applied for U.S. Passport for son

(Day 22) 04/07/16: Passport book and original docs received...(Card rec'd 04/16/16)

N-600 for child age 9
(Day 1) 01/27/16: Application sent

(Day 12) 02/08/16: NOA received

(Day 23) 02/19/16: Case received at local office

(Day 88) 04/23/16: In line for oath scheduling *Called USCIS to inquire about why there is an oath required for a child under 14. They sent a service request to the field office.

(Day 95) 04/30/16: Received letter from field office to say no oath necessary and that they would mail the certificate.
(Day 106) 05/11/16: Cert of Citizenship received by registered mail (they never sent tracking. case status was never updated either)

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