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Naturalizing After Long Trip Abroad

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When can I apply for citizenship if I stayed outside the United States too long? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

Today, I want to tell you about my man [Yosher 00:00:15] Yosher is one of my favorite people in the whole world, one of my favorite clients. Yosher is a fellow that I knew through my friend [Muzeen 00:00:28]. Muzeen is his brother-in-law and Yosher and Muzeen are from the Kurdish part of Iraq.

Muzeen is one of my first immigration clients of all time. I helped him bring his wife to the United States and he has referred me some people from the Kurdish part of Iraq ever since. I've always appreciated Muzeen's support of the law firm and Muzeen and Yosher are two of my favorite people. And Yosher became a citizen last week. And that was really exciting. We'll put a picture in the newsletter. If you're not on our email list, make sure to send us an email i[email protected] and we can add you to the email list.

But Yosher, when he came to see me, he had been outside the United States for a long time. He'd been out from basically more than a year as a lawful permanent resident, and that can do what's called break your continuous residency. So Yosher asked me when could he apply for citizenship and he wanted to apply as soon as possible, but he also wanted to make sure that he had the best chance of success. So I had Yosher send me all of the dates of his travel, including the start date of his green card. And we sat down and figured out that he was going to need to wait four years and one day from the date of his last entry into the United States. And so that was a really long time out, those four years. And Yosher would come see me, cause Muzeen was bringing me new cases or Yosher would come and visit every now and then and we'd talk about citizenship.

And then about three weeks ago, Yosher and I had his green card interview. And I was very happy that he had waited those full four years and one day to apply for his citizenship because he got one of the more seasoned immigration officers in St. Louis. She'd been here since 1982. And although Yosher has been here for a while, his English was a little rough and he was having a hard time understanding the officer. She was getting a little frustrated. And when we got to the issue of his travel, it was really helpful that he'd been in the United States solidly for at that point five years. So the officer just skipped right over that issue of his long time outside the United States.

And the problem is if you don't do that, if you don't take full advantage of that four-year-and-one-day rule, then you really are inviting the officer to nitpick and perhaps deny the case. So I was really glad that we had Yosher in the strongest position possible. Yosher got sworn in, sent me some pictures the other day, I'm going to write it up and we'll do a story about old Yosher. But for now, I'm really happy that he became a US citizen. He's very excited to vote. He's built a really nice life for himself and his family here and, of course, we're happy about that.

So if you've been outside the United States too long and are wondering when you can apply for citizenship, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called An Immigrant Home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that whenever we make a new video you get alerted to it right away. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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