Physical Presence Requirement for Naturalization

Green card holders who meet certain requirements can apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process. One of the requirements they need to meet is the physical presence requirement. Green card holders must have been physically present in the U.S. for a certain period of time, to qualify for naturalization.

Immigrants need to prove that they are eligible for citizenship status in the U.S. while filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. To prove that, they need to meet the physical presence and the continuous residence requirements along with few other requirements. Under the common path to citizenship, permanent residents need wait for five years to file their applications for naturalization. People who obtained lawful status by getting married to U.S. citizens, need to prove that they have resided in the country as legal residents for three years.

Physical presence is the actual physical time the applicants have spent in the U.S. Applicants must have been physically present in the country for at least half the number of days they are required to have resided continuously in the U.S. Two and a half years of physical presence within the five year period is required for the applicants who are applying under the common path to U.S. citizenship and one and a half years within the three year period, for those applying under the three year rule.

At the time of filing Form N-400, they need to establish that they were physically present in the U.S. for 30 months, within the five year period. They need to prove that they have spent 913 days in America, before filing their naturalization applications. Those who obtained legal status by getting married to U.S. citizens and who apply under the three year rule, need to show they have spent 18 months in the U.S., within the three year period. Members of the military and certain applicants who are working abroad for the U.S. government are exempt from this requirement.

Apart from that, applicants need to show that they have resided in the American state in which they file their applications for U.S. citizenship for three months, immediately preceding the date on which they file their N-400 applications.