Taking an oath of allegiance to the United States flag and becoming a US citizen may be considered the pinnacle of the American Dream for foreigners who dream of calling America their home.
Still, attaining US citizenship requires one to become a lawful permanent resident, and only then apply for naturalization by filing Form N-400 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In this article, you will find out how the “four-year one-day rule” affects one application for US citizenship.
What is the 4 Year 1 Day Rule for US Citizenship? – An Introduction
The main eligibility required for lawful permanent residents who want to file Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization) is they must have been physically present in the United States as a green card holder for five years.
If the applicant is applying based on a green card obtained through marriage to a US citizen, the required period is reduced to three years. Hence, applicants must meet the continuous residence required by USCIS to apply for US citizenship.
In this context, green card holders must pay attention to the time spent abroad on trips, as it may affect the eligibility for naturalization or even put one under scrutiny for abandonment of permanent resident status.
Generally, the guidelines for permanent residents regarding traveling abroad are:
- Spending less than six months abroad will disrupt continuous residence
- Spending six to twelve months abroad may likely disrupt continuous residence
- Spending twelve months or longer abroad will surely disrupt continuous residence
What is the 4 Year 1 Day Rule for US Citizenship? – In Detail
If a lawful permanent resident breaks the period of required continuous residence, the 4-year 1-day rule will apply if the applicant’s required period of continuous residence was five years.
If the applicant’s original required period of continuous residence was three years, the rule would be reduced to two years and one day.
Accordingly, once a permanent resident breaks the period of continuous residence required to apply for naturalization, a new period will begin to run on the first day of the applicant returns to the United States.
From that day on, the applicant must stay within the country for a minimum of 4 years and 1 day before he/she can file Form N-400 and apply for naturalization again.
Understanding the 4 Year 1 Day Rule for US Citizenship – Does it Affect the Physical Presence Requirement?
Another requirement for permanent residents applying for naturalization is to prove physical presence in the United States. This requirement provides that the applicant must have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the total five years as a green card holder.
If the applicant’s original required period of continuous residence was three years, the physical presence requirement to be fulfilled by the applicant is 18 months out of the total three years as a green card holder.
Ultimately, the 4-year 1-day rule will not affect the physical presence requirement, as it will assess the total days spent by the applicant outside and inside the country – not considering whether it was a continuous presence or not.
Do You Need Help to Deal with the 4 Year 1 Day Rule for US Citizenship? – Consult with Attorney Romy B. Jurado Today
Obtaining US citizenship requires a strategic approach, which only an expert legal advisor can help you materialize. Waste no time – call Immigration Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.