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Frequent trips & continuous residency

Discussion in 'US Citizenship' started by gopher97, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. gopher97

    gopher97 Registered Users (C)

    Based on information from another thread where an IO requested a letter from the employer ( http://www.immigrationportal.com/showthread.php?t=272891 ) regarding frequent trips outside the US, I pose the question:

    Not sure why the number or destination of trips would matter as long as continuous residency is met. If the trips were not job related, should it really make a difference?

    I make trips for 3 days each every other week for personal reasons (wife lives abroad). Would this really matter? I work in the US, pay mortgage here, etc.

    Any insights? Thanks.
  2. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    That's because the reason for the trips is a factor in the determination of whether continuous residency is met. Continuous residence has aspects of intent, not just geographic location. If your US employer sent you overseas, they figure you went probably because you simply wanted to keep your job, whereas if you traveled without such a reason it probably means you personally wanted to be overseas that long. (Note that I wrote "probably" ... in any given case the actual intentions may be different.) They also want US employers to be more free to send their noncitizen employees overseas when needed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2008
  3. gopher97

    gopher97 Registered Users (C)

    So, if an applicant travels 20 times in a year for personal reasons even though he maintains a job as well as lease/mortgage (which is the evidence I have noticed most IOs ask for in case of break in continuous residency or let's say two 5 month trips with a week in between in the US), it wouldn't be considered as continuous residence because they are not business trips? That is BS!
  4. warlord

    warlord Registered Users (C)

    Comming back for a week and leaving for another 5 months clearly show you are not comming back to the US to live, it shows you're just comming back just to make it seem like you're not breaking continous residency. The main thing is you need to show you are living and residing in the US in that year. 2 5 month trips like that clearly show you are not living at all in the US and are visiting the US for a week. If you took a 5 month trip, came back and remained in the US for 6 months or so then took another one, then that looks more logical that you at least were living here for 6 months. It's not BS at all, it weeds out those that are trying to take advantage of the citizenship process...
  5. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)

    Trips that were not US-job related usually make the IO more interested, than those that were. Consider for a moment, a person who makes three consecutive 5 month long trips to India, with only a couple of weeks spent back in the US before the next departure. Are they residing in the US or India?

    What if they made three consecutive 5 month trips, but this time to different destinations. Is it as easy this time to say the person is living abroad, or are they merely traveling extensively for pleasure purposes?

    Destination does matter...
  6. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    Not necessarily. It is just a stronger case for convincing them of continuous residence if it was a business trip on behalf of a US employer. If it is for a non-US employer, that tilts things in the other direction, making them inclined to believe you did intend to abandon US residence.

    If person A goes to Japan for six months as their own personal choice, and person B travels there for six months because their employer sends them to work there, it is logical to conclude that A more strongly intended to be in Japan than B.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2008
  7. gopher97

    gopher97 Registered Users (C)

    I think everyone is missing the point. I am NOT talking about a 5 month trip abroad followed by a week or a month in th US and then another 5 month trip abroad. I am talking about a 3 day trip outside the US followed by 11 days in the US and then repeat.

    The thread referenced in my original post discusses an issue where the applicant was outside the US on 27 trips for 258 days in 5 years. Clearly, it was not an instance of 5 months outside the US followed by a month in the US and then another 5 months outside the US.
  8. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    The interviewer was probably just fishing for a reason for denial or trying to trap him in a lie. The poster said the trips were for his job ... if he was lying he wouldn't be able to provide proof. Similarly, even though it is not a requirement to be employed during the 5-year period (except EB applicants who should be employed for at least a few months post-GC), they still often ask for proof of that employment if you listed your jobs on the form. In other words, whatever question you answer, they may ask for proof, even if the answer is irrelevant to citizenship eligibility.
  9. MobileAlien

    MobileAlien Registered Users (C)

    gopher97, I have a similar situation to yours. I live 10 to 14 days a month outside the us (as wife is abroad) and rest of the days in the US. I have all my pay stubs, apt lease history, utility bills and tax transcripts for the past 5 yrs. I have sent my n-400 appln last month, and receieved finger print notice. I'm fairly confident that at the time of interview the uscis officer will view our cases with sypmpathy and approve our cases. As we are fullfilling our residency law obligation as a US PR and at the same time trying to be as much as possible with our family abroad.
  10. yummyk

    yummyk Registered Users (C)

    Yes, that could also be it as well, although this is the first time I have heard of somebody needing any letter or documentation pertaining to WHY they traveled outside the US.

    What worries me is that I also have quite a few trips out of the country listed, in addition to writing on my N-400 form that I probably have additional trips that I simply cannot remember that may be longer than 24 hours. In my case, I live about 90 miles from the Mexican border and have made quite a few trips to Mexico since becoming a PR. Virtually all of the trips I have listed are "personal" in nature, meaning that they are completely unrelated to my job.

    I am concerned that if they now start asking for the reasons for trips, or providing some kind of additional documentation regarding them. The "reason" for the trips is nothing more elaborate than the fact that I enjoy traveling and I like Mexico very much. Most of the trips were weekend getaways, picking up ceramics and whatnot for my house (I bought a fixer-upper here in souther cal) or just hanging out / surfing / enjoying the baja. I don't have a better explanation, and I certainly cannot provide a letter from anybody regarding the rationale or purpose for the trips - I took them because I wanted to, not because an employer told me I had to.

    Here is what I listed on my N-400:

    Total trips: 15 (none longer than 6 months in duration)
    Total days outside the US: 58
    longest trip: 8 days in duration

    Plus, I made a statement that I made additional "day" trips to Mexico, most of which were less than 24 hours in duration, but that in some cases may have extended to more than 24 hours. I estimated 6 - 8 such trips, and no more than two days out for each one. Worst case scenario: additional 16 days out of the US over a 5 year period.

    Should I be worried now or try to get additional documentation in place? I have letters from all my employers with my employment dates that supports my N-400 claim (I have been continuously employed in the US since I got my GC). I also have pay stubs and mortgage statements, so I think I can prove that I always resided here. I just never realized that taking trips could be such a problem, especially when the total number of days out is still relatively small. Any thoughts on what I should do to prepare?
  11. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    Then just say that in the interview. And bring some hotel receipts and vacation pictures to the interview if you can find any.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2008
  12. yummyk

    yummyk Registered Users (C)

    Thanks, that is probably good advice. While I do not have any hotel receipts (Mexico is a cash economy, and I pay for everything in cash), I do have some pictures and I can also take pictures of the stuff that I brought back, since that was one of the main reasons that I went there. I just hope that this does not cause any delay to my application, even though I definitely met all continuous residence and physical presence requirements (not even close to the limit on either one!).
  13. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    Cash or not, they don't give you a receipt when you pay?

    You should be in the pictures, in order for them to have any convincing value.
  14. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)

    No, you don't LIVE outside of the US for 10-14 days a month. You just visit regularly. If you put it the other way around, you'll get denied, because you are supposed to reside in the US. It may seem like I'm making a lot out of an insignificant point, however I believe it is important to paint the correct picture for the IO.
  15. yummyk

    yummyk Registered Users (C)

    Yes, they generally do give receipts but I just never thought to keep them since I didn't think I would need them. Yeah, I will be in some of the pictures, although some of them are just scenery and landscape and stuff.

    But, really, I mean at what point is the line drawn here? Exactly what am I proving by showing them a hotel receipt or a picture from a trip that I took (and disclosed that I took on the N-400), especially when it was a personal trip? I fail to see how that information can possibly make any difference to the adjudication of my application. The primary purpose of the foreign trips section of the N-400 is to allow the IO to ensure that continuous residency and physical presence requirements have been met. While I understand that IOs may sometimes try to "trap" an interviewee (as we suspect was the case reported above), I am not sure that this really applies to a situation where you traveled for your own pleasure.

    If somebody discloses that trips were for business purposes, then it is perhaps possible to verify. However, If one maintains that the trips were personal, there is no "documentation" that one can obtain to prove intent. All the hotel bills and pictures in the world won't prove anything except the fact that you were outside the country.

    I am getting a headache just thinking about this...this whole process is making me crazy!! I just want it to be over so that I can stop worrying and move on with my life.
  16. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    You're preaching to the choir. Whether for business or not, they shouldn't care why you've spent time outside the country if the trips are very short. But sometimes they still want some evidence. It may be to trap you. Or it may be just to buy some extra downtime for their lazy selves by requiring to produce something that may delay the decision. If you don't have pics and receipts then don't worry about it unless they ask for it. But if you have them, store them just in case.

    Often it isn't about "proving" something per se. Sometimes it's just a matter of giving them a little extra to push them from believing you 49% to believing you 51%. For example, at the airport line I overheard them ask somebody who they worked for. Then they asked "do you have a business card?" A business card doesn't prove anything directly, as it can easily be forged, and not having the card doesn't mean you don't work for the company. But showing the card might have made the last incremental difference when combined with the other available information.
  17. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)

    As much as anything, the IO is looking for your reaction to the questions being asked. Do you become evasive, uncomfortable.... showing signs of concealing something, or outright lying. How you present your case is probably at least as important as what you have to say. To sum it up, all the pieces of the puzzle must fit together.

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