Lawful permanent residents in New Jersey who want to become naturalized U.S. citizens must meet the continuous residence requirement to qualify for naturalization. They must have maintained continuous residence for five or more years before they file a petition for naturalization after they have been granted permanent resident status. If the resident breaks his or her continuous residence in the U.S. for six months or longer, their absence from the U.S. can negatively impact their petition for naturalization.
Absence for six months to less than one year
If an immigrant was absent for six or more months but less than one year from the U.S., there will be a presumption that his or her continuous residence in the country has been broken, making him or her ineligible for naturalization. However, the lawful permanent resident can rebut this presumption by showing the following:
- The applicant’s U.S. employment did not end or the applicant did not find employment during that period outside of the U.S.
- The immediate family members of the applicant remained in the U.S. during the applicant’s absence.
- The applicant continued to lease or own a home in the U.S. during his or her absence.
Absence for one or more years
If the lawful permanent resident was absent from the U.S. for one year or longer, the continuity of residence will be broken. He or she will need to establish a new continuous residence period in the U.S. before applying for naturalization. The lawful permanent resident will have to wait to apply for naturalization until at least four years and six months have passed after his or her return to the U.S. so that his or her absence during the new qualifying period will be less than six months.
Lawful permanent residents who want to apply for naturalization must meet several different eligibility requirements. People who are preparing to petition for naturalization may want to work with an experienced immigration law attorney to ensure that they complete their applications correctly and meet all of the requirements for naturalization.