Filing N-400 from abroad

kika92

New Member
Hey everyone,
My situation is a little complicated so I'll try to be as clear as possible.

My husband (US citizen) and I have been married since February 2017, and lived together in the US for over 3 consecutive years. In those 3 years we were only abroad for a total of 50 days (1 to 2 weeks vacations), so based on that we meet the consecutive stay requirements for me to apply for citizenship. However, at the beginning of the pandemic we both lost our jobs and it has been impossible for us to find something else. In that time I started 2 online businesses (2 LLCs both registered in Arizona, where we had been living for the past 2 years). My businesses started going pretty well but the money was still not enough to support us and pay all the bills, so we decided to move back to my country for a little bit, just enough time for my businesses to start making consistent money and to be able to save enough before moving back to the US (I have my own apartment in Rome, so here we literally pay nothing compared to the US). We moved back to Italy last week and a friend of mine told me that I could lose my green card and ability to apply for US citizenship if I stay abroad for more than 6 months. I didn't know about that before moving to Italy, but now I definitely can't move back to the US. I don't want to lose my green card, I have spent so much money and time to get it, but we don't know when we will be able to afford moving back to the US. We are still connected with the US, we won't be looking for jobs in Italy cause we are focusing on our businesses now. We have a virtual mailbox in AZ, our credit cards and bank accounts are all open and active, we will be paying taxes both personal and for the businesses, and our car lease is still active and charging our bank account for the next 15 months (the car is parked at my in-laws house in California, but it's still in our names). Our move to Italy was never intended to be permanent, but it will probably be longer than 6 months. So, I am now thinking that I should probably try and apply for US citizenship from here, but am I allowed to apply from abroad? We just arrived here a week ago. I guess I could fly back to the US for appointments and interview when needed.

What option do you think is the best for me at this time? Any type of advise would be much appreciated! I am really trying to understand what to do at this point.

Thank you so much.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
It is 12 months abroad that is the danger to losing your green card. However, if you are living abroad for longer than 6 months, you will be presumed to break continuous residency and will be ineligible to apply for citizenship at that stage. The continuous residence requirement applies right up to the time you take your oath so no, in the circumstances you describe you cannot apply from abroad and fly back for interview and oath. You may want to properly examine the chapter from the manual on this, including the definition of residence (a virtual mailbox is not a residence) https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-12-part-d-chapter-3

Note there is also a requirement to be residing in the district you apply for 3 months before application so again, having moved to reside overseas (as opposed to just a visit, without having a home still in the US) makes you ineligible to apply even in your prior place of residence. You will have to restart your clock when you move back, if you are absent longer than 6 months.
 

kika92

New Member
Thank you for your response @SusieQQQ , do you know if the wait after moving back again will be 3 years or only 1 and a half? I read that you only need to be present in the US for 1 1/2 year to be eligible again, but not sure if that was accurate.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
Thank you for your response @SusieQQQ , do you know if the wait after moving back again will be 3 years or only 1 and a half? I read that you only need to be present in the US for 1 1/2 year to be eligible again, but not sure if that was accurate.
It’s detailed in the chapter I linked to under “Eligibility After Break in Residence” just, everywhere they talk about 5 years it is 3 for you.
 
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