Immigration Issues/application


Dear Madam:

I got my green card 1985 and lived in the US.  In 2005 and 2006, each year, I stayed out of the US longer than 6 months, but less than 12 months.
When can I apply for the US citizenship?

Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear J,

The rule for when you can apply for a greencard are such:

1.  Been a permanent resident for at least 5 years
2.  Have lived in the US for at least half of the period beginning 5 years prior to date of application
3.  Have not otherwise abandoned your residency (this is hard to explain).

Abandoning your residency is something that USCIS can look at when you naturalize.  The government looks at where you work, if you work in the US, where your home is, why you are abroad, etc.  Abandonment of residency is a major factor in naturalization where a person has made a pattern of leaving and returning to the US fairly regularly.  In cases like this, I advise highly that you have an attorney represent you in the naturalization application.

My firm has handled many potential abandonment cases successfully.  More and more, people live abroad for part of the year for many reasons.  However, each case is fact-specific and it really depends on each person's individual reasons for being abroad and what ties they can still demonstrate to the US.

Good luck.
Eileen Chun-Fruto

Immigration Issues

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

©2016 All rights reserved.