How long can you be absent from the United States before breaking Continuity of Residence?

How long can you be absent from the United States before breaking Continuity of Residence?
USCIS has a new update on the policy for naturalization applicants’ absences from the United States. Most applicants wish to visit their family members in their country of origin. As a lawful permanent resident, one is not eligible for naturalization until they have reached the required period of continuous residence in this status.
An applicant must have resided continuously in the United States after his or her lawful permanent resident admission for at least 5 years prior to filing the naturalization application (certain conditions such as spouses (and battered spouses and children) of U.S. citizens may apply for citizenship after 3 years of continuous residence).
The update is found in the USCIS Policy Manual. It indicates the policy highlights as follows:
  1. • An applicant who has been absent from the United States for more than six months but less than a year must overcome the presumption that they have broken the continuity of their residence in the United States; and
  2. • An applicant who has broken the continuity of residence in the United States must establish a new period of continuous residence, the length of which depends on the basis for naturalizing.
An absence of 1year or more will automatically break the continuity of residence. Note that Form N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes preserves residence for lawful permanent residents engaged in qualifying employment abroad with the U.S. government, private sector, or a religious organization.
For more information, please contact our office for a free telephone consultation (15 minute) at 248-557-3645.
Sevahn Merian
Associate Attorney, Immigration Law Department
The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz, PLLC
phone: (248) 557-3645 fax: (248) 200-0645 email:
1000 Town Center, Suite 800 Southfield, MI 48075


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