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How to Obtain U.S. Citizenship Through Naturalization While Living Abroad

28 Nov, 2023

If you are a green card holder living outside the United States and wondering if you can still apply for U.S. citizenship, there is an option that may be available to you. The process of naturalization, which is the path to U.S. citizenship, typically requires continuous residency in the United States. However, for individuals in unique circumstances, there is a way to overcome this requirement through Form N-470.

Understanding Form N-470

Form N-470 provides a solution for green card holders who are unable to maintain continuous residency in the United States due to work or other obligations abroad. This form allows individuals to preserve their residency for naturalization purposes, even while living outside the U.S.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for Form N-470, individuals must meet specific criteria, including:

  1. Physical Presence in the U.S.: The applicant must have been physically present in the United States before leaving for a full period of 365 days without any trips outside the country.
  2. Employment with a U.S. Employer: The individual must work for a U.S. employer or a subsidiary of a U.S. company while overseas.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique circumstances for many individuals, enabling more people to satisfy the physical presence requirement due to travel restrictions and lockdowns.

Case Study: Successful Approval of Form N-470

An example of a successful approval of Form N-470 involved a Canadian individual who obtained a green card and was subsequently required to work in Canada for a U.S. company due to essential business operations. Despite living and working in Canada, the individual was able to count his time overseas as continuous residency in the United States, thanks to the approved N-470 application.

The expeditious approval of the N-470 application, within a span of just 24 days from submission to approval, highlights the viability of this option for eligible individuals.

Advantages and Limitations

While Form N-470 offers a viable pathway to maintain residency for naturalization, it is essential to note that not everyone will qualify for this process. The requirement of continuous physical presence in the U.S. and employment by a U.S. employer overseas presents limitations for many individuals.

For those who meet the eligibility criteria, Form N-470 provides a valuable opportunity to balance international work commitments while working towards U.S. citizenship.

In conclusion, Form N-470 offers a promising solution for green card holders facing challenges with maintaining continuous residency in the United States due to work or other obligations overseas. While it may not be accessible to everyone, individuals who meet the eligibility criteria can leverage this option to pursue U.S. citizenship without compromising their international commitments. For more information on Form N-470 and naturalization, you can reach out to the relevant legal office for personalized guidance.

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