Often travel outside of the United States is viewed as a simple matter when applying to naturalize to a United States Citizen. However, travel has the potential to undermine an entire N-400 Naturalization application. In contrast, a U.S. Permanent Resident should treat the travel factor as the exact ‘science’ it is before filing to become a U.S. Citizen.
A Permanent Resident’s N-400 was denied because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) claims she was not physically present in the US for more than 50% of the statutory period. This is not withstanding that the Federal Regulations state generally that the date of departure and the date of return are counted as days in the United States. In client’s case, USCIS counted one of these travel days as days abroad which turned out to be 30 additional days abroad and puts her under the 50% of the time in the US . The Permanent Resident then hires a U.S. Immigration lawyer after denied to appeal the decision.
The above case example explains why a U.S. Immigration lawyer should be retained prior to an initial N-400 application to naturalize. Many other issues, not the subject of this short article post, can also result in a denial causing undue hardship to the Permanent Resident Applicant and his or her family.
We recommend using a spreadsheet with a U.S. Immigration lawyer (preferably an AILA (American Immigration Lawyers’ Association) lawyer) to show the exact total of days outside of the U.S. broken down by month and by year to show total days.
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