Naturalization after Living Abroad!

Posted in citizenship, Green card, Immigration Status, re entry pemit at 3:16 am by Lalita Haran

Permanent Resident X departed United States about Y years ago and had been living in her country since then. X now wants to return to the U.S. and X now wants to be a U.S. citizen.

Green card holder X wants to naturalize after living abroad for so many years. Can she? Maintaining the greencard status is the first requirement before one can think of naturalizing. Permanent resident status holder is supposed to reside in the United States otherwise the status can be considered abandoned. Absence of more than 6 months creates a presumption that the status is abandoned and absence of more than a year creates a conclusive proof. Greencard can be lost if X is considered to have abandoned her permanent resident status. Return after travel abroad or an application for naturalization brings the issue to the limelight for USCIS to initiate proceedings for revocation of greencard.

Exceptions to this rule would permit extended stay abroad if prolonged stay abroad was due to compelling circumstances beyond x’s control. In times when administration is required to strictly enforce the immigration law we may see more prolonged questioning at the entry, secondary inspection to determine admissibility and denials of naturalization application.

Planning for extended stay abroad is a great idea to achieve x’s immigration goals. It may be a cost effective approach but x should plan in advance. Most ignored fact however is that living in the U.S. is only one of the many conditions to be satisfied in maintaining permanent residence before X can seek naturalization.

Re entry permit could allow x to return after stay abroad for longer than a year although it does not help with other admissibility issues. Permit is valid for two years and x can use it as the travel document. Re-entry permit however is not an answer to all issues. Permit also does not solve the issue of extended stay abroad.

In order to naturalize, x must take necessary steps to preserve permanent resident status. Many of these steps should be taken before departing the U.S. for a long trip abroad.

Contact this law office if you have more questions or need help with this.