When applying for U.S. citizenship, people often get confused with the continuous residence and physical presence requirements. Sure, they both deal with the amount of time you’re in the United States, but what’s the difference between them?
What’s the difference?
It’s important to know which is which, so let me break it down:
- Continuous residence means that you have actually lived in the United States for a specific period of time. To apply for U.S. citizenship you must have five years of continuous residence in the United States.
- Travel outside of the United States could interrupt your continuous presence. You should not take any trips outside of the U.S. that last six months or longer.
- Physical presence does take into consideration how many days you were actually in the United States.
- The requirement states that you have to be physically present in the United States for 30 of the 60 months before you apply for citizenship.
Let’s take an example:
Say that you took a two-week vacation to Canada the year before you apply for citizenship. During those two weeks, you would still reside in the United States, which counts towards your continuous presence requirement. However, those two weeks do not count toward your physical presence requirement.