Qualifying Times for Citizenship
Welcome to the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram. We’re delighted to have you join us for part two in our series of video presentations on US Citizenship. In this presentation, we’re going to talk about the Continuous Residence Rule, and how this can affect when you become eligible for US Citizenship.
Congress has stated that the purpose of the Continuous Residence Rule is to establish a period of probation to give arriving aliens time to settle and to learn English; to familiarize themselves with US traditions, customs and institutions; to shed foreign attachments; to acquire attachment to the principles of the US Constitution and government; to demonstrate their ability to conduct themselves as law abiding citizens; and generally to prove their fitness to be accepted as U.S. citizens.
United States v. Carmean, 174 F.2d 151 (2nd Cir. 1949); United States v. Mulvey, 232 F. 513 (2nd Cir. 1926); In Vasicek, 271 F. 326 (E.D. Mo. 1921); In re Di Giovine, 242 F. 741 (W.D.N.Y. 1917)
Moreover, Congress argued – it would be against the State’s purpose of the Continuous Residence Rule if a person could acquire legal permanent residency, i.e., a green card, but then proceed not to live in the US, and then at the end of the qualifying period simply apply for US citizenship.
Therefore, Congress introduced supplemental legislation in 1952 to ensure that in addition to establishing and maintaining residency in the US, the alien actually was physically present in the US for at least half of that time. As simple as this may sound, following this enactment became quite a complicated analysis as to how qualifying for the physical presence rule should be calculated as aliens tend to travel in and out of the US frequently.
1952 Act Savings Clause; States v Menasche, 348 U.S. 528(1955); Medalion v. United States, 279 F2d 162 (2nd Cir. 1960) (same)
The 1952 Act defined residence as being “the place of general abode of a person meaning his principal, actual dwelling place in fact, without regard to intent”. In other words, we’re to look at where the alien actually lived first and foremost, regardless as to their intent as the two are now always the same. For example a person may claim to be living in the US, but is actually spending the bulk of his time away. Therefore it could be argued that even though the alien claims his intention is to live in the US, the fact that he is away for prolonged periods suggests otherwise.
So just to be crystal clear, when looking at eligibility for US Citizenship we have to consider two key aspects: –
– How long have you held legal permanent residency – green card status?
– How long have you been physically present in the US whilst a green card holder?
Establishing how long you’ve held a green card is quite easy, the tricky part is looking at any absences from the US.
Six-Month Rule of Absence from US
US Immigration will want you to count every single day you’ve spent outside of the US since you obtained your green card. Therefore, if you would normally become eligible for a green card after three years, then you would need to spend at least eighteen months being physically present in the US. The six-month rule relates to the question ‘have you been away from the US continuously for less than six-months?’ If the answer is no, then you will be fine on this issue.
In the next presentation, we’ll continue to discuss the implications of prolonged absences abroad, so please click on part three.
US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
[Cross Streets 4th and Wilshire]
Tel: 310 496 4292
Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.
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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.
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