As a permanent resident that is applying to become a US citizen, you have probably come across the 4-year 1-day rule but may not have a clear idea as to exactly what that concept means. You understand that before applying you need to have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years and that you must have lived in the state where you are applying for at least the past three months prior to filing your application.
What you must also know is that if your application has been denied because you have been absent from this country for one year or longer, in order for you to qualify to undergo this process, you must have lived in the United States for four years and one day after returning.
What does continuous residency mean?
An important requirement when applying for US citizenship is known as continuous residence. To be sure you comply with it, you must maintain a permanent place where you live in the United States over a specific period.
Cases that involve certain members of the military, as well as certain cases of spouses of US citizens, might qualify for an exemption or a reduced period of the continuous residency requirement.
Are physical presence and continuous residency one and the same thing?
These two legal concepts are interrelated but not necessarily the same thing. And each requirement must be satisfied when applying for citizenship.
Continuous presence means maintaining a residence in the United States for a specified period of time. This refers to the place where you actually live. For naturalization purposes, you must prove you have lived at that place for the last five years.
Physical presence simply means the number of days that you, as a lawful permanent resident have physically been in the United States. To comply with this requirement, you must show that you lived in the United States at least half of the required period of continuous presence.
How do you break the physical presence requirement?
If you are a permanent resident and are away from the United States for more than six months at a time, you may incur discontinuity of residence and you may be deemed to have abandoned your permanent residency status. Short absences do not make you break the physical presence requirement.
Are there breaks in continuous residence?
Yes. As a matter of fact, there are two types of absences that are automatically presumed to break the continuity of residence when you are applying for naturalization.
- Those that last more than 6 months but less than a year
- Those that last one year or more
If you are looking to become an American citizen, it’s in your best interest to put matters in the hands of experts. You want the process to proceed as smoothly as possible and to achieve the most favorable results.Contact an immigration law firm to request a review of your case and make sure all the requirements are met and everything that needs to be done is done. You do not want to jeopardize your case by doing it on your own and missing a small detail that could derail the whole process. Call today and ask for a free initial consultation to get the process started.