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Days spent outside of the US during the past 5 years

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  • Days spent outside of the US during the past 5 years

    My wife got her greencard 3 years ago, so she is eligible to apply for her citizenship (I am a US citizen, we're married for 3+ years and all that).

    We have a problem with question "A" of the N-400's part 7, which is "How many total days did you spend outside of the United States during the past 5 years?" For her, the answer to this question changes every day (today, the answer is 680, tomorrow it's going to be 679, and so on). This is because she arrived to the US only three and a half years ago; five years ago she lived outside of the US. In the three years she held her greencard, she traveled outside the US only once, spending 12 days abroad.

    It is clear that 680 is not the answer to the question the form was intended to ask; clearly, the intent is to check the continuous residency of the applicant. Answering 12 is wrong too, because the question clearly asks about "the past 5 years."

    Does anybody know how to handle this issue correctly? I think we should write 680, add a little note explaining that the number includes 668 days prior to entering the US for the first time, and state that since the date of first entering the US my wife spent a total of 12 days outside the country.

    Do you think this may work? I am worried that if we simply write 680 it will look like more than 50% of the three-year qualification period, and the INS would reject the application after just a quick look at the numbers.
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