USCIS Clarifies Effect of Breaks in Continuity of Residence on Eligibility for Naturalization

Clarifications align with existing regulations and congressional intent

USCIS today announced an update to the USCIS Policy Manual to align USCIS practice with congressional intent and existing regulations by clarifying requirements surrounding naturalization applicants’ absences from the United States. This update concerns absences of more than six months but less than one year during the statutorily required continuous residence period.

This update clarifies the following requirements for naturalization:

  • 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
  • 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 applicant filing under the general naturalization provision is not eligible until they have reached the required period of continuous residence as a lawful permanent resident. Under the law, an absence from the United States for more than six months but less than one year during the statutory period triggers a presumption of a break in the continuity of such residence. USCIS adjudicators have always been required to determine whether naturalization applicants have broken their continuous residence when evaluating naturalization applications.

Please see the Policy Alert (PDF, 300 KB) for more information on this update. Visit the Policy Manual for Comment page for more information on stakeholder review and comment.

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