In order for an individual to apply for U.S. citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically requires that they have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years among other things prior to them submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Essentially, what this means is that anyone who is looking to apply for naturalization (i.e. to become a U.S. citizen) must reside “exclusively” in the U.S. and not in any other country. Although establishing residency in the U.S. is a must for those looking to become a U.S. citizen, it doesn’t mean they are barred from traveling back and forth from the U.S. to their home country given their Green Card allows them to.
How often can a Green Card holder travel to their home country before applying for naturalization?
If an individual wishes to travel to their home country prior to applying for naturalization, a single trip shouldn’t last longer than 180 days. According to USCIS, if a trip lasts longer than 180 days, the agency may decide that the applicant did not continuously reside in the U.S. and may therefore deem him/her ineligible for naturalization. Aside from analyzing the length of the trips a Green Card holder takes, the agency will also look at the frequency of their travel.
In order for an individual to be eligible for naturalization, they must “spend at least half of their time in the United States.” Therefore, if a person spends more than half their time in their home country by taking short, frequent visits, USCIS may also consider them ineligible for naturalization. To be safe, anyone who is looking to apply for naturalization must be sure any trip they take will still allow them to meet USCIS’s physical presence requirement.
Does an individual need to hire an Atlanta, GA immigration lawyer if they want to apply for naturalization?
While it isn’t necessary for an individual to hire an immigration attorney to apply for naturalization, it certainly helps. Here are a few of the benefits of retaining an attorney prior to applying for naturalization:
- A lawyer can provide an individual with legal advice in regards to which forms and documents he/she will need to attach to their application.
- An attorney can help a person understand what immigration options are available to them.
- Contact USCIS on their behalf to discuss their case.
- Prepare an applicant for their interview and the English and civics tests.
- Intervene in the event an issue arises or USCIS denies an applicant’s naturalization application.
Connect with Kuck | Baxter Immigration Before Applying for Naturalization
Anyone who is considering applying for naturalization should contact Kuck | Baxter Immigration to discuss their questions and concerns with an Atlanta, GA immigration lawyer. An attorney can help an individual understand the process and can help him/her make an informed decision as to whether they need to retain an immigration lawyer.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration can be reached at:
365 Northridge Road, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350