Exemptions for longer absences

How to keep your continuous residence status

Those planning to be outside of the USA for a year and don’t want to lose their continuous residence status should be aware of the following regulations:

You must keep your continuous residence status if you want to apply to become a U.S. citizen: There are exemptions to this rule for staying outside of the USA for a year.

If you work for the U.S. government, a recognized U.S. research institution, or certain U.S. corporations, or if you are a member of the clergy serving abroad, you may be able to keep your continuous residence if you:

  • Have been physically present and living in the U.S. without leaving for at least one year after becoming a permanent resident.
  • Submit Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes, before leaving the United States for a year. There is a fee to file Form N-470.

Contact USCIS for more information about the Form N-470 at 1-800-870-3676 and ask for the Form N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes. You can also get the form on the USCIS website.

Exemptions for people in the military

If you are on active-duty or were recently discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, the continuous residence and physical presence requirements may not apply to you. We recommend consulting the brochure M-599 Naturalization Information for Military Personnel for more information. Every military base should have a point of-contact to handle your naturalization application and processes the Form N-426. This is a special application recognizing the applicant’s service in the military.  

The Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service must be submitted with your U.S. citizenship application. To get the required forms, call the USCIS toll-free Military Help Line at: +1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645). You can find more information at the U.S. military website or by calling customer service at +1-800-375-5283.