Becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States means meeting certain requirements as set out under U.S. laws and regulations. One of the requirements for obtaining United States citizenship via naturalization is that the applicant must continuously reside and be physically present in the U.S. for a certain time period before applying for citizenship. Current law sets this time period at five years.

However, those in Mississippi seeking to become naturalized citizens of the U.S. should know that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued a clarification via a policy alert addressing this time period. Under the new policy, if a person wants to apply for citizenship, but has been out of the country for more than six months but less than twelve months, that person bears the burden of proving that they have not violated the five-year continuity of residence requirement.

If a person applying for citizenship has broken the continuity requirement, a new period of continuity must be established although the length of this continuity is dependent on the bases under which the immigrant is applying for citizenship.

It is important that those who want to become naturalized citizens of the U.S. understand all that is required of them. As this shows, the USCIS can issue clarifications on its policies. Those wishing to become U.S. citizens need to keep abreast of these changes. Immigration law attorneys can advise those seeking citizenship, to ensure they do not run afoul of any requirements that could lead to a setback in their goal of becoming a U.S. citizen.