Many immigrants living in California eventually achieve lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Once known as a “green card holder,” a lawful permanent resident has the option to apply to become a naturalized US citizen. Specific requirements exist for LPRs wishing to become naturalized citizens, including a continuous residence requirement.
The continuous residence requirement
The continuous residence requirement is straightforward: a lawful permanent resident must maintain a residence in the United States for five years before applying for naturalized citizenship. That doesn’t mean the person must own a home or rent an apartment, as the person could live with relatives or friends.
Lacking a lease or deed, the individual must provide proof of residence. Bank statements and other documents bearing the person’s address may satisfy the requirement. Applicants should understand that they must establish residency in a particular state for at least three months before applying, as well. Please be aware the law does have exceptions for people serving in the military and their family members.
Addressing inaccurate decisions by immigration
An unfortunate situation may occur when someone did not violate the continuous residency requirement, but immigration officials believe the person did. Those who face inaccurate accusations of not being in the country for the entire term have options under immigration & naturalization law. Appeals and reconsiderations factor into many immigration decisions, and an initially negative action might end up reversed. Providing proof of residency that overcomes an initial adverse action may course-correct the situation.
Appearing before an immigration court judge may be necessary to address the problem. Providing appropriate evidence to the judge could lead to a decision that corrects any wrong decisions by immigration authorities.