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The N-400 Application for Naturalization Form (mirror) asks for the "total days" outside the United States, for each stay outside the United States:

enter image description here

How am I supposed to count the days exactly on the N-400 form? E.g., if I left the US on June 20, 2020 at 3 PM PT and came back on June 21, 2020 at 4 PM PT, does that count as 1 or 2 days?

The N-400 instructions (mirror) doesn't say how to count the days:

Part 9. Time Outside the United States

Item Number 1. Provide the total number of days (24 hours or longer) you spent outside the United States during the last 5 years.

Item Number 2. Provide the total number of trips (24 hours or longer) you have taken outside the United States during the last 5 years.

Item Number 3. Provide information for every trip (24 hours or longer) you have taken outside the United States during the last 5 years. Start with your most recent trip and work backwards.

USCIS > Policy Manual > Volume 12 - Citizenship and Naturalization > Part D - General Naturalization Requirements > Chapter 4 - Physical Presence (mirror) (thanks to user102008 for pointing to it) states:

USCIS will count the day that an applicant departs from the United States and the day he or she returns as days of physical presence within the United States for naturalization purposes. [3]

[3]: 3. USCIS will only count residence in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on or after November 28, 2009, as time counted for physical presence within the United States for naturalization purposes.

If I follow this rule, then leaving the US on June 20, 2020 at 3 PM PT and coming back on June 21, 2020 at 4 PM PT would count as 0 day outside the United States. I am not sure that this would please the USCIS immigration officer who will review my N-400 form.

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  • I think the best thing would be to take a step back and ask: What are they trying to find out? For (made-up) example, if you have to have spent over 50% of your time in the last five years in the US, and in fact you spent 90% of your time in the US, then they're not likely to quibble over how you count these days. It's only going to matter if you're right on the borderline depending on how the days are counted. Are you?
    – Kyralessa
    Jul 16 '20 at 7:04
  • @Kyralessa I might: If a naturalization applicant has stayed in the US only for slightly over 30 months for the past 5 years, is it likely to derail their application?. But also I want to make sure the form is completed properly so as not to delay the process. Jul 16 '20 at 7:09
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    Does this answer your question? Chapter 4 - Physical Presence - A USCIS will count the day that an applicant departs from the United States and the day he or she returns as days of physical presence within the United States for naturalization purposes. Jul 16 '20 at 8:09
  • @MarkJohnson thanks, actually I mentioned this quote in the question :) If I follow this rule, then leaving the US on June 20, 2020 at 3 PM PT and coming back on June 21, 2020 at 4 PM PT would count as 0 day outside the United States. I am not sure that this would please the USCIS immigration officer who will review my N-400 form. Jul 16 '20 at 8:31
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    @MarkJohnson Your comment above sounds like an answer. The OP is unconvinced, but it is an answer with a citation to authority. I think you should post it as such. Jul 16 '20 at 16:07
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Chapter 4 - Physical Presence - A:

USCIS will count the day that an applicant departs from the United States and the day he or she returns as days of physical presence within the United States for naturalization purposes.

As to whether dates should be added that result in 0 days (but 25 hours) as a result:

  • a complete list is probably preferred to list where something is missing

especially since question 3 states: all the trips of 24 hours or longer.

To phrase this differently:
The USCIS only counts complete calendar days as days outside the United States.
A partial calendar day is counted as within the United States, which is the same method used for the Schengen Code 90/180 days rule.

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  • Thanks, so when filling the N-400 form (see screenshot in the question), how am I supposed to count the days if I left the US at 3 PM PT and came back the next day at 4 PM PT: must I write down 0, 1 or 2 days in the "total days outside the US" column? Jul 17 '20 at 1:17
  • @FranckDernoncourt what support do you see for 1 or 2? The only possible result is 0.
    – phoog
    Jul 17 '20 at 1:33
  • @phoog one could argue that, while both the days of departure and reentry count as day is US presence, the total trip length outside the US was 1 day or even 2 if rounding up. Does seem mutually exclusive to me. Jul 17 '20 at 1:46
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    @FranckDernoncourt look at it this way: you only count a day of absence if you are absent from the US for an entire calendar day, from midnight to midnight. If you leave at one minute past midnight and return 47 hours and 58 minutes later, you have no days of absence. If you leave at one minute before midnight and return 24 hours and 2 minutes later, you have 1 day of absence. No USCIS officer will count differently because the rule you quote in the question is perfectly clear on this. This is why you seem nervous, not meticulous: the meticulous thing to do is accept the clearly stated rule.
    – phoog
    Jul 17 '20 at 2:19
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    @FranckDernoncourt To phrase this differently: The USCIS only counts complete calendar days as days outside the United States. A partial calendar day is counted as within the United States, which is the same method used for the Schengen 90/180 days rule. Jul 17 '20 at 2:30

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