I read on 8 C.F.R. 316.5(c)(1)(i), echoed by https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-12-part-d-chapter-3:

(c) Disruption of continuity of residence -

(1) Absence from the United States -

(i) For continuous periods of between six (6) months and one (1) year. Absences from the United States for continuous periods of between six (6) months and one (1) year during the periods for which continuous residence is required under § 316.2 (a)(3) and (a)(6) shall disrupt the continuity of such residence for purposes of this part unless the applicant can establish otherwise to the satisfaction of the Service. This finding remains valid even if the applicant did not apply for or otherwise request a nonresident classification for tax purposes, did not document an abandonment of lawful permanent resident status, and is still considered a lawful permanent resident under immigration laws. The types of documentation which may establish that the applicant did not disrupt the continuity of his or her residence in the United States during an extended absence include, but are not limited to, evidence that during the absence:

(A) The applicant did not terminate his or her employment in the United States;

(B) The applicant's immediate family remained in the United States;

(C) The applicant retained full access to his or her United States abode; or

(D) The applicant did not obtain employment while abroad.

If I satisfy A, C, and D, am I pretty much guaranteed not to disrupt the continuity of my residence for the purpose of naturalization? I don't know whether disrupting the continuity of residence for naturalization is the norm or the exception in that case.

  • The text itself doesn't give any guarantees. The documentation in A-D "may" establish that you did not interrupt continuous residence, but might not. There might be case law that say that certain evidence is sufficient in a particular case.
    – user102008
    Jun 20, 2020 at 17:08
  • @user102008 thanks yes I wonder in practice what this "may" entail. Jun 20, 2020 at 20:10
  • I agree, the regulations are imprecise, and give a lot of discretion to the immigration officer. In "may" cases like these, then, the CBP interview when one approaches immigration becomes much more important. Do everything you can to make a good impression. Aug 3, 2020 at 2:45

1 Answer 1


From https://citizenpath.com/travel-abroad-affects-citizenship-eligibility/ (mirror) (general answer, not conditioned on satisfying A, C, and D):

Disrupting the Continuous Residence Requirement:

In general, the following guidelines apply for permanent residents who are traveling abroad:

  • A trip abroad that is less than 6 months will not disrupt continuous residence.
  • A trip abroad of 6-12 months will likely disrupt continuous residence.
  • A trip abroad 12 months or longer will disrupt continuous residence.

USCIS officers are also well aware of the games some people play. They will examine all of the trips taken during the 5 years that precedes the filing of the application. USCIS will notice if the applicant has taken multiple trips which appear calculated to take less than six months. (For example, the applicant travels abroad for 5 months and 15 days, returns to the U.S. for 10 ten days, then leaves again for another 5 months.) The USCIS officer may consider the two separate trips as one long trip of more than 10 months.

https://citizenpath.com/faq/list-time-outside-united-states-form-n-400/ (mirror):

Avoid any single trip outside the U.S. that lasts six months or longer. [...] If you have spent a significant number of days outside the U.S. (over 180 days), CitizenPath recommends that you consult with an attorney before filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Note that, according to https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/immigration/b/insidenews/posts/faq-for-green-card-holders-during-the-covid-19-period (mirror):

If you meet the physical presence test, you have to also demonstrate that you did not break continuity of residence, and so remaining outside the US in excess of six months will lead to a rebuttable presumption that you broke continuous residence. Under current law, one can rebut the presumption by demonstrating that you did not move your residence or seek employment overseas, or your immediate family members remained in the US. There is no accommodation in the existing rules regarding remaining outside the US due to circumstances beyond your control. Still, an applicant is nevertheless encouraged to use a COVID-19 related ground to also rebut the presumption of breaking continuity of residence.

so don't rely too much on COVID-19 rebut the presumption of breaking continuity of residence.

  • I do wonder how they'll know you've left if you leave on foot via Mexico though. Jan 5, 2021 at 22:28
  • @JonathanReez yes I was thinking the same. Though probably a bad idea to lie on n400. Jan 5, 2021 at 22:30

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