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How long can I stay out of US if I am on Greencard

Discussion in 'Life After The Green Card' started by sbhavinm, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. sbhavinm

    sbhavinm New Member

    Hello,

    Below is my situation.

    I am on Greencard since last 3.5 years and have not traveled out of the country. I own a house in USA. Because of family situation I had to go to India and am in India since last 2 months. I have started working in India for a software company since about a week. I would like to apply for my US citizenship once I complete my 5 years of stay.

    My question is :
    Do I have to come back to USA before 180 days so that I do not break my continuous residency?
    Or is there a way that I can stay for longer then 180 days and can still be eligible for applying for citizenship after 1.5 years?

    USCIS naturalization link (Document Checklist for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization - I cannot post links so am posting the title of the page on USCIS) states that

    If you have taken any trip outside the United States that lasted 6 months or more since becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident, send evidence that you (and your family) continued to live, work and/or keep ties to the United States, such as:

    An IRS tax return “transcript” or an IRS-certified tax return listing tax information for the last 5 years (or for the last 3 years if you are applying on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen).
    Rent or mortgage payments and pay stubs.

    Is there a way that I can stay for more than 6 months but less than a year and still apply for citizenship?

    Thanks.
  2. Firi

    Firi Registered Users (C)

    I think you would jeopardize your residency if you stay outside of US for more than 180 days. I know a person who works here but has been traveling to US and back every 3 months for the past 2-3 years to avoid any issues with her status.

    Also, from what i can remember, you have to be in US for at least 6 months of a year to qualify as a resident. The condition you provided above probably applies to individuals, who, for instance, travel outside of US because of their jobs (US Employee).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2011
  3. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    That is not true. It is a good idea to spend at least that much time in the US every year if you want to keep your green card and qualify for citizenship, but there is no specific rule like that.
  4. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    6 consecutive months outside the US would create the presumption of breaking continuous residence. That presumption may be overcome if you present sufficient evidence to the satisfaction of the interviewer, but it's better to avoid having to do that in the first place.
  5. BigJoe5

    BigJoe5 Registered Users (C)

    Due to obtaining employment abroad you have endangered both your greencard status and naturalization eligibility. Consult a reputable and competent immigration attorney ASAP.
  6. sbhavinm

    sbhavinm New Member

    @BigJoe5, please elaborate. This is the first time that I am hearing that obtaining employment abroad will endanger both my greencard status and naturalization eligibility. Is there a specific mention about not obtaining employment out of USA if I am on GreenCard (on USCIS or somewhere else) ? I have read multiple threads on immigration.com about employment outside USA while the person is still on greencard and haven't seen a mention of greencard status being endangered because of it.

    Thanks
  7. BigJoe5

    BigJoe5 Registered Users (C)

    INA 101 DEFINITIONS

    (a)

    (13) 2/ (A) The terms "admission" and "admitted" mean, with respect to an alien, the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.

    (B) An alien who is paroled under section 212(d)(5) or permitted to land temporarily as an alien crewman shall not be considered to have been admitted.

    (C) An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States shall not be regarded as seeking an admission into the United States for purposes of the immigration laws unless the alien-

    (i) has abandoned or relinquished that status,

    (ii) has been absent from the United States for a continuous period in excess of 180 days,

    (iii) has engaged in illegal activity after having departed the United States,

    (iv) has departed from the United States while under legal process seeking removal of the alien from the United States, including removal proceedings under this Act and extradition proceedings,

    (v) has committed an offense identified in section 212(a)(2), unless since such offense the alien has been granted relief under section 212(h) or 240A(a), or

    (vi) is attempting to enter at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers or has not been admitted to the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.

    ***************
    Please read the attached case decision. It is an EXTREME example.
    ***************

    8 CFR § 316.5 Residence in the United States.

    (c) Disruption of continuity of residence —(1) Absence from the United States —(i) For continuous periods of between six (6) months and one (1) year. Absences from the United States for continuous periods of between six (6) months and one (1) year during the periods for which continuous residence is required under §316.2 (a)(3) and (a)(6) shall disrupt the continuity of such residence for purposes of this part unless the applicant can establish otherwise to the satisfaction of the Service. This finding remains valid even if the applicant did not apply for or otherwise request a nonresident classification for tax purposes, did not document an abandonment of lawful permanent resident status, and is still considered a lawful permanent resident under immigration laws. The types of documentation which may establish that the applicant did not disrupt the continuity of his or her residence in the United States during an extended absence include, but are not limited to, evidence that during the absence:

    (A) The applicant did not terminate his or her employment in the United States;

    (B) The applicant's immediate family remained in the United States;

    (C) The applicant retained full access to his or her United States abode; or

    (D) The applicant did not obtain employment while abroad.

    (ii) For period in excess of one (1) year. Unless an applicant applies for benefits in accordance with §316.5(d), absences from the United States for a continuous period of one (1) year or more during the period for which continuous residence is required under §316.2 (a)(3) and (a)(5) shall disrupt the continuity of the applicant's residence. An applicant described in this paragraph who must satisfy a five-year statutory residence period may file an application for naturalization four years and one day following the date of the applicant's return to the United States to resume permanent residence. An applicant described in this paragraph who must satisfy a three-year statutory residence period may file an application for naturalization two years and one day following the date of the applicant's return to the United States to resume permanent residence.

    **************
    IF an LPR is going abroad to work for a qualified U.S. employer AND is otherwise qualified, he may preserve naturalization eligibility IF qualified through an approved N-470.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2011

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