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Physical Presence Exceptions


In a previous discussion, we talked in general about the physical presence requirement of the naturalization process. We also discussed the continuous residence requirement. Although, physical presence and continuous residence are interrelated, they each must be separately satisfied in order to complete the naturalization process. For the majority of individuals, an aggregate total of 30 months immediately prior to the date of filing of the application for naturalization is required to satisfy the physical presence requirement. Although, the 30 months minimum is applicable to the majority of people, exceptions do exist.

There are several sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act which reduce the physical presence requirement. Examples include:

  • Spouses living in a marital union with a United States Citizen for 3 years
  • Employee of the United States Government

Additionally certain classes of individuals may leave the borders of the United States, yet still have the time counted toward their physical presence requirement. Examples include:

  • Going Abroad for Religious Aptitude
  • Non-citizen Nationals of the United States
  • Three years of service in the Armed Forces
  • Service on qualified United States vessels
  • Spouse of a member of the Armed Forces

Each of the above examples of exceptions permitting constructive presence or reduced physical presence time, are heavily fact specific. In the upcoming discussions, I will provide examples that meet or fail to meet the requirements that allow these exceptions to apply. If you have a question about physical presence or the naturalization process, call the Law Office of Robert L. Booker, P.C. today.

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