Details about your time spent outside the U.S. are required to determine if you’ve met the Continuous residence and physical presence requirements for naturalization. Of course, USCIS can obtain this information on it’s own. So part of the exercise is a test in good moral character. So fill the Form N-400 properly.
Part 9 of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, requires applicants to list each trip of 24 hours or more that was made outside the United States over the previous 5 years. Start by listing your individual trips, include any trip (including visits to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean) that lasted 24 hours or longer. Next, enter the dates of the trip and determine the number of days you spent outside the U.S. during each absence. If you visited 2 or more countries before returning to the U.S., it still counts as a single trip.
Part 9 “Time Outside the United States” should be filled out in details in the following way:
- Item Number 1.Provide the total number of days (24 hours or longer) you spent outside the United States during the last 5 years.
- Item Number 2.Provide the total number of trips (24 hours or longer) you have taken outside the United States during the last 5 years.
- Item Number 3.Provide information for every trip (24 hours or longer) you have taken outside the United States during the last 5 years. Start with your most recent trip and work backwards.
Note that Form N-400 accommodates only 6 trips. If you’ve run out of room, attach a separate sheet of paper to list additional records.
One more important thing is spending too much time outside the USA. It can come in the form of one long trip or the combined days from several trips outside the U.S. Here are some general guidelines:
- Avoid any single trip outside the U.S. that lasts 6 months or longer.
- Avoid cumulative trips that add up to at least half of the required residence period (30 months for a 5-year permanent resident or 18 months for a 3-year permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen).