An applicant for naturalization generally must have resided continuously in the United States after his or her lawful permanent resident (LPR) admission for at least 5 years1 prior to filing the naturalization application (residence must continue until the applicant is naturalized). Under the law, an absence from the United States for more than 6 months but less than 1 year during that 5-year statutory period triggers a presumption of a break in the continuity of such residence.
This update from USCIS to Volume 12 of the Policy Manual addresses when an applicant who has broken his or her continuous residence may reapply for naturalization.
The guidance contained in the Policy Manual is controlling and supersedes any related prior USCIS guidance.
• Clarifies that naturalization applicants absent from the United States during the statutory period for more than 6 months but less than 1 year, must overcome the presumption that the continuity of residence has been broken in order to remain eligible for naturalization.
• Clarifies that an applicant who USCIS determines to have broken the continuity of residence must establish a new period of continuous residence; the requisite duration of that period depends on the basis upon which the applicant seeks to naturalize.
Citation Volume 12: Citizenship and Naturalization, Part D