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Old May 22nd 2009, 10:43 pm   #1
 
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Default {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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A How many total days did you spend outside of the United States during the past five years?
Should I answer this question literally? I have lived here for just over 4 years, and visited twice on the VWP both just under 5 years ago. Should I add up the days spent here as a visitor (before I had the right to residency) and the days since I returned with a visa as a resident to calculate how many days I have spent here in the last 5 years?


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B How many trips of 24 hours or more have you taken outside of the United States during the past five years?
This is a little clearer for me, I presume I don't include my two visits on the VWP here as they were not trips taken outside the US, they were trips taken outside the UK with the US as my destination.
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Old May 22nd 2009, 11:06 pm   #2
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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Originally Posted by thinbrit View Post
Should I answer this question literally?
Are you applying as the spouse of a USC or based on 5 years as a PR? If the former, scratch off "5 years" wherever it appears and substitute "3 years" - at which point, the question becomes a lot easier to answer. If the latter, it's a straightforward question.

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Old May 22nd 2009, 11:10 pm   #3
 
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Are you applying as the spouse of a USC or based on 5 years as a PR? If the former, scratch off "5 years" wherever it appears and substitute "3 years" - at which point, the question becomes a lot easier to answer. If the latter, it's a straightforward question.

Ian
Thank you Ian.

I am applying based on the marriage to a USC. It is certainly easier to calculate substituting 3 years for 5 years. Problem solved.
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Old May 22nd 2009, 11:21 pm   #4
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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Thank you Ian.

I am applying based on the marriage to a USC. It is certainly easier to calculate substituting 3 years for 5 years. Problem solved.
Yes, this is what we did, too. Wherever you see "5 years", cross it out and write "3 years", and calculate your answers accordingly.

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Old May 23rd 2009, 12:17 am   #5
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

I am confused by your confusion. The question clearly asks for the time you spent outside the U.S. after becoming an LPR. The time you spent in the U.S. as a visitor prior to your LPR grant is not relevant. Applying under the 3 year or 5 year rule is similarly irrelevant to the question. Good luck with this.

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Originally Posted by thinbrit View Post
Should I answer this question literally? I have lived here for just over 4 years, and visited twice on the VWP both just under 5 years ago. Should I add up the days spent here as a visitor (before I had the right to residency) and the days since I returned with a visa as a resident to calculate how many days I have spent here in the last 5 years?




This is a little clearer for me, I presume I don't include my two visits on the VWP here as they were not trips taken outside the US, they were trips taken outside the UK with the US as my destination.
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Old May 23rd 2009, 12:40 am   #6
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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Originally Posted by thinbrit View Post
Thank you Ian.

I am applying based on the marriage to a USC. It is certainly easier to calculate substituting 3 years for 5 years. Problem solved.
Hi:

You have spotted an error in the form. Since you are filing based upon the 3 years of required residence in "marital union" with your US citizen spouse, the question about "five years" is relevant only as to three.

I agree that you should, by hand, cross out "five" and interlineate "three." That is what I do.

That said, if the visits in the two years prior to admission to take up residence do take you over the magic 18 months of absence, then it is no harm, no foul to answer for all five years.

BTW, for those lurkers out there, if you spend a lot of time out of the US, Robert Mautino, in San Diego, whom I admire and trust thinks that any day of which a part was spent in the US counts as one day in the US. For example, one departs the US at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday and returns at 11:45 pm on Wednesday, Bob takes the position that both days count as time in the US. In contrast, DHS takes the position that one day was spent outside of the US. That said, it is better to avoid the fight if one can.
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Old May 23rd 2009, 12:51 am   #7
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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I am confused by your confusion. The question clearly asks for the time you spent outside the U.S. after becoming an LPR. The time you spent in the U.S. as a visitor prior to your LPR grant is not relevant. Applying under the 3 year or 5 year rule is similarly irrelevant to the question. Good luck with this.
Hey John:

The LIST of trips makes specific reference to "since becoming a permanent resident." However, the prior two questions as to number of days do refer to five years.

Bad draftsmanship IMHO. You and I, from long experience know what to be paranoid about and what is not a big deal. However, many of the people here are filing out their FIRST immigration case and it happens to be their own. So, there will be some who are overly anal about precision and others who don't realize that they are shooting themselves in the foot by disclosing too much.

To the others, John is another upstanding member of the Los Angeles immigration bar. I think the world of him.
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Old May 23rd 2009, 12:53 am   #8
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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The question clearly asks for the time you spent outside the U.S. after becoming an LPR.
No, it doesn't!

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Old May 23rd 2009, 12:55 am   #9
 
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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Originally Posted by John Manley View Post
I am confused by your confusion. The question clearly asks for the time you spent outside the U.S. after becoming an LPR. The time you spent in the U.S. as a visitor prior to your LPR grant is not relevant. Applying under the 3 year or 5 year rule is similarly irrelevant to the question. Good luck with this.
John,
My confusion stemmed from the fact that it does not clearly state "after becoming an LPR" as you claim. Unless we are looking at two different versions of the same document.
On the form I downloaded from USCIS earlier today, question 7A asks "How many total days did you spend outside of the United States during the past five years?", nowhere does it mention "after becoming an LPR". I also read the instruction sheet, again it does not state "after becoming an LPR".
My application is based on marriage, and it would also have been nice to know I could substitute the 5 year term with a 3 year one.

I am confused by your confusion of my confusion
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Old May 23rd 2009, 1:05 am   #10
 
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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Originally Posted by Folinskyinla View Post
Hey John:

The LIST of trips makes specific reference to "since becoming a permanent resident." However, the prior two questions as to number of days do refer to five years.

Bad draftsmanship IMHO. You and I, from long experience know what to be paranoid about and what is not a big deal. However, many of the people here are filing out their FIRST immigration case and it happens to be their own. So, there will be some who are overly anal about precision and others who don't realize that they are shooting themselves in the foot by disclosing too much.

To the others, John is another upstanding member of the Los Angeles immigration bar. I think the world of him.
You hit the nail on the head. From experience in previous filings I have learned to be very cautious about these forms, one small mistake can have implications later on. In my post I did initially ask if I should answer the question literally, as it transpires the answer was no.
Its the first, and hopefully last time I'll complete one of these. Evidently it is clearly black and white to those who complete these daily, and I'm sure my question could have appeared anal. . .
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Old May 23rd 2009, 1:05 am   #11
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

Good point, Stuart. Thanks for the input.

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Originally Posted by Folinskyinla View Post
Hey John:

The LIST of trips makes specific reference to "since becoming a permanent resident." However, the prior two questions as to number of days do refer to five years.

Bad draftsmanship IMHO. You and I, from long experience know what to be paranoid about and what is not a big deal. However, many of the people here are filing out their FIRST immigration case and it happens to be their own. So, there will be some who are overly anal about precision and others who don't realize that they are shooting themselves in the foot by disclosing too much.

To the others, John is another upstanding member of the Los Angeles immigration bar. I think the world of him.
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Old May 23rd 2009, 1:49 am   #12
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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... I'm sure my question could have appeared anal. . .
Oh my... we've got a whole Anal Retentive (AR) club here. I think SecretGarden (SG) is the current President... and there are many of us who are members! We're always looking for new recruits!

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Old May 23rd 2009, 6:32 pm   #13
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

After reading your reply and Stuart's I understand where you are both coming from. If you apply under the 3 year provision, it looks like you would replace the 5 with a 3. It is poor drafting by USCIS. I was really focusing on question 7C, where it clearly asks for time outside the U.S. after becoming an LPR. Sorry for the mix up.

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John,
My confusion stemmed from the fact that it does not clearly state "after becoming an LPR" as you claim. Unless we are looking at two different versions of the same document.
On the form I downloaded from USCIS earlier today, question 7A asks "How many total days did you spend outside of the United States during the past five years?", nowhere does it mention "after becoming an LPR". I also read the instruction sheet, again it does not state "after becoming an LPR".
My application is based on marriage, and it would also have been nice to know I could substitute the 5 year term with a 3 year one.

I am confused by your confusion of my confusion
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Old May 26th 2009, 2:43 pm   #14
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

You'd have thought USCIS would have sorted it out by now, wouldn't you. As long as I have been a member of this board (and no doubt way before), this 3/5 year question has cropped up on a regular basis; and we just represent a very small portion of the people going through the process. While the actual requirement is laid down in the 40 plus page "Guide to naturalization", I wonder how many more people the actual application form catches out, taking it literally and just going ahead and filling in for the 5 year period? A couple of minor amendments on the forms would save applicants the confusion, and save the USCIS officers the time of having to weed out the extra 2 years of waffle that is not relevant to a marriage based applicant.

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Old May 26th 2009, 2:45 pm   #15
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Default Re: {Q] N-400, part 7 "Time Outside the United States"

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You'd have thought USCIS would have sorted it out by now, wouldn't you.
Hi:

No.
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