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JumpingJasonFlash

N400 Application and Continuous Residence

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So we officially hit our 5 year LPR anniversary in Nov 2017! Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Decided to delay our application a few months to get the holidays out of the way and make Naturalization our focus for 2018. But now looking at the application and supporting docs we're faced with a bit of a Continuous Residency issue.

The thing is we arrived in Nov 2012 to active our visas did a Look 'n' See for a couple weeks and then went back to SA to sort out our lives. We came back to the US for about week 4 months later (in March) opened bank accounts, sorted out our Social Security Numbers (that never arrived) and received an offer of employment. We then went back to SA sold our house and moved to the US permanently about 2 months later in June 2013.

Theoretically, we didn't automatically break our continuous residency by being out of the US for a single 6 month stretch, but we only really started "living" and residing in the US in June 2013. So basically it comes down to how the immigration officer interprets our travel, "residency" and intent up to that point as we had no physical US address during that period.

Has anyone else here applied for their N400 so close to their 5 year anniversary after doing a similar LSD trip and relocation months later and had an issue with their application?

Technically, we should be able to apply now, as we easily meet the Physical Presence requirement and on paper we meet the Continuous Residence requirement, but it just seems kinda risky considering that delayed start, if you will. Would it just be better to just wait until May or June? I've also heard that processing times lately are crazy long and I'd hate to get rejected now and then have to go to the back of the line again and end up waiting even longer. Or even worse, accused of lying or misleading USCIS on our application!

 

EDIT: There is apparently a 'Four years and one day' rule that applies to broken continuous residence. Would that apply in this case if it were deemed that we did in fact break our continuous residence?

Edited by JumpingJasonFlash

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I asked a similar question on another forum and was told it would be alright, but I won’t be doing it till next year when I hit the 5 year mark, so I can’t give you any actual experience. I was using my father’s address as my official US address during the time I was out. In my case there is urgency to do it as soon as I can due to a minor child turning 18 about 4 months after our anniversary. 

From what I’ve read about other denials, it doesn’t seem like you need to be worried about misleading them, just that you would need to reapply when you could easily prove continuous residence. If it helps, all the denials I had read based on presence about were either where absences were longer than 6 months, or the applicants didn’t have the total requisite 30 months required within the US. 

Also heard about really long wait times for naturalization, which I believe is partly field office dependent. I plan to apply as soon as I can, which as far as I currently understand is 90 days before the 5-year anniversary. 

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Thanks!

It’s a tricky one, because the more I read the official guidance on the matter, the more my head spins and the more grey area there seems to be in between the paragraphs!

https://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume12-PartD-Chapter3.html

I totally understand your situation though, and would definitely apply as soon as possible in your case too! My biggest issue is that my wife is being bullied by her family into traveling to SA this year and it’s now directly conflicting with our Naturalization, which I warned her and her family about over year ago! As you might guess, I am absolutely unimpressed.

I checked the processing times for our nearest field offices and it’s a coin flip. Tucson is still only processing applications from April 2017! Where as Phoenix is processing applications from Dec 2016. Eeeeek!

Were you referring to Immihelp forums before? I’ve been meaning to head over there and do some more reading/research.

Edited by JumpingJasonFlash

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My husband has the same situation as you, also only came back for a week, during that 6 month period. He has applied for naturalization, has had his biometrics and is now waiting for his interview notification the wait from applying to interview seems to be 5 - 6 months here in Raleigh. I am anticipating he will get an interview end of Feb beginning of March.  I remember Superkruz on this forum was out the country for two - five month periods in his first year and he didn't have an issue, so I am sure it will be fine. I will update you after my husbands interview.

In other news - I applied for my kids SA passports 6 months ago and I am still waiting .....

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Thanks, Rubyshoes!

We might just bite the bullet and apply anyway. The turn around time seems quite long right now anyway and we’d probably only get an interview around June (or later) anyway, which would put us well into the safe zone.

Else we can just apply in March and that will put us within the 90 day period of our “second” 5 year anniversary :-)

Sorry to hear those passports are taking so long! I did mine about 18 months ago and it took exactly 4 months to the day. Have all the paper work for my wife’s new SA passport, just need to do the fingerprints and send in the application. What fun!

We’re also about half way through financially emigrating, so it’s a bit of a busy year on the admin side already!

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16 minutes ago, JumpingJasonFlash said:

Thanks, Rubyshoes!

We might just bite the bullet and apply anyway. The turn around time seems quite long right now anyway and we’d probably only get an interview around June (or later) anyway, which would put us well into the safe zone.

Else we can just apply in March and that will put us within the 90 day period of our “second” 5 year anniversary :-)

Sorry to hear those passports are taking so long! I did mine about 18 months ago and it took exactly 4 months to the day. Have all the paper work for my wife’s new SA passport, just need to do the fingerprints and send in the application. What fun!

We’re also about half way through financially emigrating, so it’s a bit of a busy year on the admin side already!

Out of interest, how is the financial emigration going? We did it when we left and SARS was impossible (like literally unable to add up numbers) and their part took almost 5 months (and cost us a fair bit on rand moves in that time :angry2: ) but Reserve Bank bit went very fast, I think like a week or so. I’ve heard that they’ve become quite sticky again more recently?

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44 minutes ago, SJ272 said:

Out of interest, how is the financial emigration going? We did it when we left and SARS was impossible (like literally unable to add up numbers) and their part took almost 5 months (and cost us a fair bit on rand moves in that time :angry2: ) but Reserve Bank bit went very fast, I think like a week or so. I’ve heard that they’ve become quite sticky again more recently?

It's going well so far. We're using FinGlobal and they have been amazing so far. Everything is filed and we already have our emigrant account all set up and ready to go. It's just up to SARB and SARS now and that could take 3 months or 3 years. You know how they are.

Luckily we've been keeping our affairs in order and filing our returns every year accurately and on time and keeping our contact details up to date, so there shouldn't be any nasty surprises... I hope! We're in no rush and the ZAR/USD is surprisingly decent and relatively stable right now, so things are looking okay for now. So here's hoping nothing changes in the near future...

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As [at]RubyShoes said in an earlier post... I was out of the US for two 5 month periods. I simply applied, told the truth, and left it up to them to either approve or reject my application- it was approved. My research at the time showed that (according to the courts) the time before you lived here doesn't count towards the continuous residency period, but I guess they aren't very strict with the application thereof.

My recommendation would be to file an application now.

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1 hour ago, Superkruz said:

As [at]RubyShoes said in an earlier post... I was out of the US for two 5 month periods. I simply applied, told the truth, and left it up to them to either approve or reject my application- it was approved. My research at the time showed that (according to the courts) the time before you lived here doesn't count towards the continuous residency period, but I guess they aren't very strict with the application thereof.

My recommendation would be to file an application now.

Did they ask any questions about why you had those two 5-month absences?

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On 1/6/2018 at 10:07 AM, SJ272 said:

Did they ask any questions about why you had those two 5-month absences?

I completed the section on the form about my trips outside the US - they did not ask a single question about the long absences. My guess is that it is not uncommon for people to have one such trip.... maybe the guy that handled my case was in a good mood and let it slide.

I did have answers ready for them in case they asked.... flimsy ones, but answers none the less.

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1 hour ago, Superkruz said:

I completed the section on the form about my trips outside the US - they did not ask a single question about the long absences. My guess is that it is not uncommon for people to have one such trip.... maybe the guy that handled my case was in a good mood and let it slide.

I did have answers ready for them in case they asked.... flimsy ones, but answers none the less.

Thanks Superkruz! Sorry if I can trouble you with one last question on this - for the period of those absences - did you put down your address in Australia or SA or wherever you actually were at the time, or did you put  your US address ?

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I had a similar experience - landed, then went back to the UK for 5 months, returned for 5 days, then back to the UK for another 2.5 months before finally returning.  I listed my UK residence for that duration.  The interviewer didn't comment on that, and I was approved.  (naturalized in 2014).

 

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Thank you too, Malamute! 

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4 hours ago, SJ272 said:

Thanks Superkruz! Sorry if I can trouble you with one last question on this - for the period of those absences - did you put down your address in Australia or SA or wherever you actually were at the time, or did you put  your US address ?

I listed my non-USA address as the address where I lived.

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Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! It’s really helped a lot and helped put my mind worries to rest!

We’re going to hedge our bets and fill out our applications this week and then file on March 10th. That would be 90 days from our final arrival date and will put us just outside any margin of error should we get a particular sticky case officer. It should also give us enough time for our SA Retention of Citizenship certificates to arrive from Home Affairs. We sent off our applications last week.

It’s only another 2 months wait and barely 7 later than our earliest possible application date. No too bad in an otherwise long process that started when we were selected waaaay back in 2011. It will also give us enough time to get the rest of our ducks in a row, like my wife’s new SA passport etc.

Will let you all know how everything plays out as things pick up pace again.

 

In other news, it really doesn’t seem like Trump isn’t letting go of immigration reform and trashing the DV Lottery. He’s been incredibly vocal about it and immigration seems to be next in the crosshairs after the Republican successes in Tax reform. I’ve be highly optimistic about it staying put in light of the many stumbling blocks when it comes to large pieces of legislation like immigration, but after 2017, and the Tax reform bill that got brutally shoved through Congress against all odds, I’m beginning to question what is and isn’t possible before the midterms in Nov!

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