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Today, February 26th, 2020 USCIS announced that it would introduce an update to the policy manual clarifying requirements in regards to a naturalization applicants’ absences from the U.S. UCSIS states that this update is meant to “align USCIS practice with congressional intent.”

This update is specifically in relation to absences of more than six months but less than one year during the statutorily required continuous residence period. 

As outlined by USCIS, 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 who is 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 U.S. 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 for more information on this update.

Read more about naturalization.

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