Certain naturalization applicants may seek to preserve their residence for an absence of one year or more to engage in qualifying employment abroad. Such applicants must file an Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purpose (Form N-470).

  • The applicant must have been physically present in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card holder) for an uninterrupted period of at least one year prior to working abroad.
  • The application may be filed either before or after the applicant’s employment begins, but before the applicant has been abroad for a continuous period of one year.
  • In addition, the applicant must have been:
    • Employed with or under contract with the U.S. government or an American institution of research;
    • Employed by an American firm or corporation engaged in the development of U.S. foreign trade and commerce, or a subsidiary thereof if more than 50 percent of its stock is owned by an American firm or corporation; or
    • Employed by a public international organization of which the United States is a member by a treaty or statute and by which the applicant was not employed until after becoming an LPR.

The applicant’s spouse and dependent unmarried sons and daughters are also entitled to such benefits during the period when they were residing abroad as dependent members of the principal applicant’s household. The application’s approval notice includes the applicant and any dependent family members who were also granted the benefit.

Note that the approval of an application to preserve residence does not relieve an applicant (or any family members) from any applicable required period of physical presence, unless the applicant was employed by, or under contract with, the U.S. government.

In addition, the approval of an application to preserve residence does not guarantee that the applicant (or any family members) will not be found, upon returning to the United States, to have lost LPR(or Green Card) status through abandonment. Important to remember that USCIS may find that an applicant who claimed special tax exemptions as a nonresident alien to have lost LPR (or Green Card) status through abandonment. The applicant may overcome that presumption with acceptable evidence establishing that he or she did not abandon his or her LPR (or Green Card) status.

Approval of an application to preserve residence also does not relieve the LPR (or Green Card holder) of the need to have an appropriate travel document when the LPR (or Green Card holder) seeks to return to the United States. A Green Card generally is acceptable as a travel document only if the person has been absent for less than one year. If an LPR (or Green Card holder) expects to be absent for more than one year, the LPR (or Green Card holder) should also apply for a reentry permit. The LPR (or Green Card holder) must actually be in the United States when he or she applies for a reentry permit.