Immigration Law

USCIS to Tighten 'Residence' Definition for Citizenship

USCIS, Aug. 28, 2019

SUBJECT: Defining “Residence” in Statutory Provisions Related to Citizenship

Purpose

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS
Policy Manual to address requirements for “residence” in statutory provisions related to
citizenship, and to rescind previous guidance regarding children of U.S. government employees
and members of the U.S. armed forces employed or stationed outside the United States.

Background

Numerous statutory provisions related to citizenship require applicants or their U.S. citizen
parents to “reside” or to have had a “residence” in a particular location. USCIS is updating the
Policy Manual to better define residence and clarify the distinction between U.S. residence and
physical presence. In addition, USCIS is updating its policy regarding children of U.S. government
employees and U.S. armed forces members employed or stationed outside the United States to
explain that they are not considered to be “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquiring
citizenship under INA 320.


This guidance, contained in Volume 12 of the Policy Manual, is effective as of October 29, 2019
(see attached) and applies prospectively to applications filed on or after that date.

Policy Highlights

• Clarifies that temporary visits to the United States do not establish U.S. residence and
explains the distinction between residence and physical presence in the United States.
• Explains that USCIS no longer considers children of U.S. government employees and U.S.
armed forces members residing outside the United States as “residing in the United States”
for purposes of acquiring citizenship under INA 320."