Frequently Asked Question

Because my Green Card allows me to travel between the United States and my home country, can I live in both places until I am ready to apply for citizenship?
Last Updated 3 months ago

To qualify for citizenship, generally applicants must demonstrate they have continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years before filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. This means you must be residing exclusively in the United States – not in any other country.

You may travel to another country, including your home country, provided no other legal impediment precludes you from doing so. However, if a trip lasts longer than 180 days, USCIS may determine that you have not continuously resided in the United States and therefore are ineligible for naturalization.

In addition to examining the length of your trip abroad, USCIS will look at the frequency of your travel. To qualify for naturalization, an applicant must spend at least half of his or her time in the United States. This is known as the “physical presence” requirement. If you take frequent, short trips abroad that result in you spending more than half your time outside the United States, then you will also be ineligible for naturalization.

The requirements of “continuous residence” and “physical presence” are interrelated but are different requirements. A naturalization applicant must satisfy each requirement to be eligible for naturalization.

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