Getting a permanent US residence is no easy feat. Foreign nationals make a considerable investment to secure a green card and their future through the EB 5 visa program.
After that, those applying for the EB 5 visa have to maintain lawful permanent residency (LPR) for a minimum of five years to be eligible for US citizenship. The process is neither fast nor easy. Applicants have to fulfill many requirements before they can qualify for US citizenship.
An LPR ensures that all the applicable requirements for continuous residence and physical presence are met. So, before you consider any overseas engagements that involve prolonged absences from the US, make sure to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Let us go over the process of naturalization and understand the effect of any interruptions on your eligibility for ongoing US residence thereof.
The naturalization process allows the applicant to enjoy most of the rights and privileges that are otherwise reserved for native-born US citizens. To be eligible for naturalization, they must ensure continuous residence in the US for five years before the application.
The EB5 applicant must continuously reside in the US from the time of applying until he/she is naturalized. There may be certain exceptions in which waivers apply.
“To be eligible for naturalization, they must ensure continuous residence in the US for five years before the application.”
According to the USCIS, to satisfy the requirements for continuous residence, an applicant must maintain a permanent dwelling place in the US over the period stipulated by the statute to prove continuous residence. The Policy Manual clarifies that such “residence in question” must be the principal’s actual dwelling place.
Further, the duration for continuous residence in the US starts the moment you first establish residence in that location, subject to certain exceptions.
An LPR has to maintain continuous residence for five years to satisfy the requirements for naturalization. Any interruptions may render the LPR ineligible.
It is thus essential to understand and differentiate between ‘absence and interruption’ of continuous residence and ‘abandonment’ of permanent residency. The latter will not only result in ineligibility for ongoing US residence but also loss of the LPR status along with expulsion from the US. For any doubts, it is best to contact your immigration attorney.
Absences and Interruption of Continuous Residence
In certain situations, prolonged absences from the US may lead to a failure to meet the requisite five years of continuous residence for naturalization. The USCIS explicitly addresses two situations of continuous absences;
Absences of more than six months but less than one year
If an EB 5 visa applicant is absent from the US for a continuous period of more than six months but less than one year, then continuous residence is presumed interrupted. Also, such applicant shall have the option to prove non-abandonment of residence in the US during such period.
You may use the following evidence for this purpose:
- Evidence that you did not terminate your employment in the US
- Prove that you did not acquire employment while traveling abroad
- Proof that your immediate family continued to reside in the US
- Show that you retained full access to your place of a residential dwelling in the US
Absences of one year or more
In case of an absence from the US for a continuous period of one year or more, continuous residence shall be considered broken. Except for a few cases, such application shall be denied on the grounds of failure to meet continuous residence requirements.
“In case of an absence from the US for a continuous period of one year or more, continuous residence shall be considered broken.”
Multiple absences of less than six months
USCIS does not deal with this explicitly in the statute. But, it explains that if an applicant has multiple absences of less than six months, he or she may be unable to meet the requisite duration for continuous residence.
Furthermore, the Policy Manual also questions whether such applicant’s ‘principal actual dwelling place’ was in the US during the period of continuous residence. And, the applicant may be required to furnish evidence for such facts.
EB5 visa immigration process can often be very complicated. But, if you exercise diligence and work with a good legal advisor right from planning your investment in eligible EB5 projects such as The Allen, it should be a walk in the park.
You want to make sure to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s. So, the best strategy is to consult an experienced immigration attorney. For more information on EB 5 visa petitions, speak to our immigration advisors today.
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If you have any questions about the continuous residency requirements for US citizenship, call our experts for more information and clarification. Reach us at 1-281-545-7943 today!
Everything You Need To Know About Continuous Residency Requirements For US Citizenship| Houston EB5 – Houston, TX