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Natz experience (with frequent visits outside the US) - Please share your experience

Discussion in 'US Citizenship' started by catonj, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. catonj

    catonj Registered Users (C)

    Could people who had frequent visits outside US share their interview experience ? If you have stays close to 6months and multiple such stays please mention.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2007
  2. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)

    As long as you don't exceed 180 days per trip & 900 days total in 5 yrs, you should have no problem.

    Prior to my own natz, I was out several times approaching 5+ months (154 days longest), and a total of 464 days. No problems during interview at all.
  3. LegalAlien99

    LegalAlien99 Registered Users (C)

    Hi there!

    I had 453 days out side the U.S. prior to filing N-400. From 8/13/2000 until 01/11/2002 I was out of the country for 515 days (consecutively). Yet, not all of the 515 days counted as some where outside the statutory period. I had secured a Reentry Permit. There were no issues during the interview. He did not even ask about the trips. He noticed the Reentry Permit approval in my A file and just wrote 'overcome' next to the longest absence from the U.S.


  4. namedude

    namedude Registered Users (C)

    I had a different experience.

    There was 1 year when I was absent total of 8 months. But on 2 seperate 4 month trips. They were due to family reasons and taking care of family business. I also secured reentry permit.

    The issue was that I did not actually keep my original residence but the residence was with my friend. The IO kept asking why I changed address when I did those trips? Why is this a residence of a friend? etc. etc. The reentry permit was irrelevant here.

    The IO was specific on drilling especially on the fact whether the employment links with the US were still there since I have been out for 8 months total in a given year (2 seperate trips - 4 months each).

    Then IO asked if I filed taxes on time even though I was abroad? IO kept drilling about my wife - what she did when I went abroad.

    Finally the IO asked me to show current lease agreement and really scrutinized passport.

    But the IO finally approved the application after a very long hard drill. The interview was in Seattle, WA. I will take the oath this week.

    The IO was not rude by any means. Just very thorough - that's all. And in the end the IO bought the fact that I had residence with a friend. But I also convinced the IO that I continued to work in the US for a US company and my wife worked and got paid by US company.

    My impression is that you have to be careful. Continuous residence is not what people think: it is not that you satisfy continuous residence if you stay away for less than 6 months on any trip. Lots of people seem to suggest that if you go on temporary trips abroad and you stay less than 6 months you are okay. This is not the impression I got from the interview.

    Continuous residence is that you reside here and that is you keep very strong links with the US at all times. Reentry permit seems irrelevant because it has nothing to do with continuous residence. I think your intent not to abandon residence has also nothing to do with continuous residence. Continuous residence is the fact that you reside in the US - that is have job, residence and other life activities like bank accounts, pay utility bills. I am almost sure that even if you own residence but you rent it out - then it is also a red flag.

    There are other issues you have to take care of if you look at continuous residence. For example if you file form 2555 on resident taxes (a regular 1040) claiming that you were temporarily a bona fide tax resident of another country to get some exclusion - you get screwed. However it seems filing form 2555 based on physical presence to gain partial exclusion might be ok?

    Take this advice at your own risk. This is my personal experience with a particular IO. I am not a lawyer.
  5. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)


    I think you hit the nail on the head - continuous residence isn't just one tangible rule, but a whole bunch of things that combine to paint a picture for the IO.

    In my case, I was living on a sailboat for 2.5 years and travelling up & down the US east coast, Bahamas & Caribbean. We'd sold our house and were legally domiciled in Florida (at a mail forwarding service), however we always observed the 6 month thing, as well as keeping strong ties to the US; banks, cell phone, possessions in storage, brokerage accounts, vehicles etc, etc. With all this in mind, I'd like to think we'd have been able to explain this satisfactorily to the IO, however the question never came up.

    In summary, you don't have to keep your job, house or anthing else, but the little things combine together to support your case.
  6. namedude

    namedude Registered Users (C)

    Boatbod - Out curiosity - what address did you put during absences?

    I just got naturalized - so my immigration nightmare is coming to an end...
  7. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)

    I was officially domiciled in Florida, so that was the address I used. The fact that it was a mail forwarding service didn't seem to bother either the local authorities (who are used to people who seasonally travel), or USCIS. I even had a copy of the paperwork with the Broward County clerk of court seal stating I was a FL resident, just in case there were any problems.
  8. co1hz

    co1hz Registered Users (C)

    I was on oversea assignment for 2 years, 2004-06. During the time, I have had my house under my name, but rented out for part of the time. While abroad, I lived in an aprt paid my company. I came back to US roughly every 6 months, stayed for 1-2 weeks then back to host country again. In this case, Shall I list my apartment address during the 2 years?

    I don't want to be dishonest, but don't want to raise unnecessry questions either. Please share your opinion. Thanks!
  9. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)

    What address was on your US drivers license? Generally I think you'll find this is your official domicile address, and therefore the one to use on the N-400 form.

    Opinions may vary on this matter...
  10. Sufian

    Sufian Registered Users (C)

    My Experience

    I got my green card in 2001. From mid 2001 to end 2005, I was outside US for 445 days including three trips outside the US for vacation totaling 69 days and four trips when I had a job outside US totaling 376 days. The longest trip I made was 158 days. During the time period I had a full time job outside the US, I did the following to maintain my residency in the US:
    1. I never stayed outside the US for over 6 months in one visit.
    2. I filed my tax returns as US resident although I did not pay taxes on my foreign earned income.
    3. I maintained my bank accounts in the US.
    4. I maintained my 401K account in the US although I did not make additional contributions to this account when I was outside the US.
    5. I kept my car in my name and paid for insurance. A family member of mine was using the car.
    6. My parents and immediate family members lived in the US and I stayed with them whenever I came to US.
    7. I took over the responsibility to pay part of my brother’s apartment’s rent and issued rent checks on a monthly basis. I did not have a utility or cell phone bill in my name.
    8. During my vacation, I came to US and worked for my ex-employer for 3 weeks as an employee. I was able to get pay stubs and W-2 indicating that worked for a US company in the US.
    9. On my N-400, when listing addresses of my residence, I also listed the address outside the US and showed that I was living there. However, whenever I came back to US even for one day, I showed US address as my home address.
    10. I maintained my US driving license although I had a get a separate driving license in the country I was living in.

    Although my employer outside the US was a US company but I was not hired in the US. I took job outside the US and moved there. Besides professional reasons, the reason I moved outside the US was that was not able to bring my wife to the US fast enough on my green card and we did not want to live separate for extended period of time. My wife was able to get a one year US visit visa from the country we were living in and came to visit US with me a couple of times but left before her visa expired.

    I spent a lot of money on discussing my planning and the above scenario with lawyers and I think all of that was unnecessary. I filed my case on my own.

    When submitting my N-400, I sent all supporting documents to substantiate my case. During my interview, the immigration officer asked me only two questions about my stay outside the US:
    1) Was I working for any of the employers I had listed on my N-400 when I was outside the country and the answer was yes?
    2) She confirmed that I switched residence/home address between the US and the foreign country during my stay outside the US and I said yes.
    She also verified all stamps on my passport and the dates as I had mentioned on my N-400.

    My interview went very smooth and I did not have to spend any efforts in convincing the immigration officer that I maintained my residence in the US during my stay outside the US. My timeline is as follows:

    N-400 sent 5/12/2006
    Priority Date 5/18/2006
    Finger Prints 6/2/2006
    Status disappeared 8/24/2006
    Interview letter received 8/31/2006
    Interview date 10/16/2006
    Oath Date 10/20/2006
    DO Office: Hartford, CT

    Best of luck to all of you who have similar situations or are planning to be outside the US for some reason.

  11. gurram1941

    gurram1941 Registered Users (C)


    Did you apply for N400? Have you decided what to do??
    I am in a similar position like you. I am staying outside the country from Sept 05 until now. I have applied for N400. Now I am not sure whether I should continue to stay outside the country.
  12. gurram1941

    gurram1941 Registered Users (C)

    A quick question, did you list the employer in the foreign country in the list of employment and the home address outside the country.
  13. rwsh

    rwsh Registered Users (C)

    I got my Green Card in 1983. I made innumerable (over 60) and extended trips outside of the USA for my employer till my eventual repatriation. These trips varied from a few days to over a year without return visits to the US.

    For several overseas assignments, I did have an overseas address (“residence” ???) even though I was hopefully preserving at least some semblance of US residency.

    In my case, the following steps were taken:

    1. I recreated a fairly accurate list of the trips that was submitted with the N-400 citizenship application. Most (but not all) trips had reentry stamps either in my passport and/or the reentry permits.
    2. I always kept my bank accounts etc etc. in the US.
    3. I always filed, and have copies of, Federal Income Tax returns.
    4. I do not think that I had a valid US driving license throughout all of these trips because I had, technically, relinquished residence in the particular State that issued them (to avoid the complexities of State income tax).
    5. I always applied for, and was granted, a reentry permit for any absences that were expected (and sometimes did) exceed six months in duration.
    6. On the last two occasions when I had an overseas address, I also filed a form N-470 to preserve my US residency. Note that I think I was only able to do this because my employer was a US Corporation. It would have been problematical if this was not the case.
    7. Notwithstanding the above, I still had to meet my 50% continuous residence requirement after my return before filing my N-400.
    8. I am honestly not sure whether my employer filed all the AR-11s (change of address) that they should have done during my absences. However, I made sure that I did upon my return here.
    9. I am sure that my name check experience will be quite long because of the complexities outlined above plus the paper, rather than electronic USCIS "paper trail" from 1983 till 1995.

    Hope this helps some. Please let me know if I can offer any further information or clarification.

    Regional office: Mesquite, Texas
    Local office: San Antonio, Texas

    • 28th July 06: N-400 application mailed
    • 7th August 06: Resubmitted with correct check (first check based on incorrect data on USCIS web site)
    • 9th August 06: Check cashed
    • 14th August 06: USCIS acknowledgement with application number (17 days from first application)
    • 15th August 06: Fingerprint (FP) notification (only one day from acknowledgement; missed FP date due to absence from town
    • 31st August 06: Request to reschedule FP
    • 5th September 06: Proactive visit to the FP office as a “walk-in”: (17 days from original notice)
  14. gurram1941

    gurram1941 Registered Users (C)

    Thanks for the reply. How easy was N-470 to apply and get it approved?
    I am currently outside US working for a subsidary of a US firm. But I was hired overseas. In addition I am working a contractor for another US firm (a small company) doing some marketing work.
    I have decided to quit the job and move to US. I made mistake on N-400 by not mentioning the overseas job and address and hence withdrawing the petition and hope to apply after I am in US and add the details.
  15. rwsh

    rwsh Registered Users (C)

    Hi again.

    I not sure that you can file for an N-470 once you have already left the USA. I rather doubt it. You need to check the USCIS website to get clarification on that.

    Filing was a piece of cake. I filled out the form, wrote a check and submitted to my local USCIS office (Houston at that time). BUT .... no acknowlegement or "approval" by the USCIS ...... nothing.

    Later follow-up was even more weird. After I came back to the States and was getting ready to file my N-400, I asked the immigration lawyer of the company I worked at, "what happened to my N-470?". He then checked with the Houston USCIS and said "Oh they got it, no problem, it's in somebody's desk drawer!!!"

    Let me say right away that I have not put the N-470 to the test as I now have enough residency without it. However, I am assured its there if I need it !!!
  16. rwsh

    rwsh Registered Users (C)

  17. immigrateful

    immigrateful Registered Users (C)

    Actually filing Form 2555 under the physical presence test might even help in proving that you did NOT have intent to reside in that foreign country indefinitely. That can be used to show that you did have intent to return to the USA - which is the crux of the whole continuous residency for immigration purposes. This is assuming 'intent' is interpreted in the same way for immigration and tax purposes.
  18. im50

    im50 Registered Users (C)

    Any new experience? If you have stays close to 6months and multiple such stays please mention.
  19. derekleewo

    derekleewo Registered Users (C)

    In the 5 years prior to my N400 application, I had the following:

    - 414 days outside the US
    - A total of 8 trips
    - I had 2 trips that lasted 156 and 151 days respectively
    - The other 6 trips ranged from 9 - 57 days each.

    My wife made those same trips with me so she had the same info on her N400.

    Neither of us had any problems. I became a citizen 5 months after mailing my N400 and my wife became a citizen in 6.5 months. We had mailed our applications just before the rush in the middle of June 2007.
  20. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)

    How long a gap was between the two 150 days trips?

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