By Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.
When trying to prove residence somewhere, you want as much evidence as possible
If you’re living an international life, you may face a situation in which you have to prove your residency in the U.S. to another country.
You might have to prove your residence in the U.S. for a variety of reasons in order to get something that you want. Four common scenarios include:
To obtain a tax advantage (e.g.. Portugal non habitual resident (“NHR”) or UK’s non-domiciled status)
To naturalize in the U.S. without losing foreign citizenship (e.g. Slovakia)
To pass citizenship to child via descent (e.g. USA’s acquisition of citizenship)
To obtain a foreign mandatory military service exemption
Note: Different countries vary in what type of documentary evidence they’ll accept and for what purpose. Make sure to consult with a professional.
Here are seven potential ways to prove a period of residence in the United States to a foreign country.
1. Registration with a foreign consulate in your U.S. city
One possible way of proving residence in the United States is to check if the country you are a citizen of allows you to “register” residence in the United States
For example, if you are a Portuguese citizen living in the United States, you may be able to register your residence in the United States with a Portuguese consulate in the United States. This could possibly help you qualify for Portugal’s non habitual resident (“NHR”) program by showing you were resident outside of Portugal.
2. Get a letter from a legislative representative
Another way of proving residency is by getting a signed letter on official letterhead from a U.S. legislator representing your district. You may be able to prove your residency to the legislative office by showing proof of utility bills, school registration, or attendance at work in the area.
Depending on where you live in the United States, you may be able to make the request from one of four office, from most local to least local:
Local city council or town council office
State-level congress member
U.S. congress member
In each case, you can look up the office that represents your area, and contact them to request a letter attesting to your resident in the relevant district. As always, persistence is a key ingredient in making any request from a legislative office. You can find your U.S. congress member and senators using this lookup tool. There’s usually no cost associated with such a request from a legislator’s office.
Check out our five tips for requesting immigration help from a U.S. Congressmember.
3. State Level Income Tax Return or Transcript
In U.S. states that have income tax, you can request a state income tax transcript to show payment of taxes based on your residence there.
While residence for tax purposes and residence for immigration purposes are largely distinct from one another, evidence of one of them can can sometimes help prove the other. The tax return transcript is usually free.
4. N-400 or other immigration application
(requested via FOIA)
A U.S. naturalization application can sometimes help you prove your residency.
That’s because one general requirement to naturalize in the United States is “continuous residence” during the five year period right before submitting a naturalization application. Therefore, if a person was granted naturalization, this fact suggests that USCIS considered that person “continuously resident” in the United States.
Therefore, proof of a successful naturalization application (N-400) plus a naturalization certificate can possibly serve as proof of residence in the United States. You can request your naturalization application via a freedom of information act request online or by mail request..
These requests usually don’t cost more than $20 and oftentimes end up being completely free.
5. Obtain I-94 (for proof of physical presence)
People visiting the United States (besides legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens) are able to access a record of their entries to the United States via U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”)’s website. The form is called an I-94.
So if you are trying to prove residence in the United States while you were an F-1 student, or other nonimmigrant (e.g.. M, J, O or L visa holder), you can help bolster your claim of residence in the United States by locating and printing an I-94 from CBP’s website. Requesting an I-94 is free.
6. AR-11 Change of Address
All non-U.S. citizen immigrants in the United States have to notify USCIS of a change of address within 10 days of moving. This is done by filing an AR-11 form.
Sample AR-11 email confirmation
When you file an AR-11 form electronically through USCIS’s website, you receive an email confirming your changed address. The confirmation email is bare bones, but is still an official record from the United States proving your registration of change of address with USCIS.
7. Personal sworn declaration (notarized)
For countries that allow you to prove something by making a sworn declaration, you can try to help prove your residence by swearing to it in writing. In the U.S., you can have your signature on the declaration attested to by a third party by getting it notarized by a public notary for an additional $10-$15.
The notarization cost depends on the state in which you notarize the document.
Request a Consultation with Malakouti Law
For professional guidance, click here to book a consultation with the Law Office of Parviz Malakouti.
Each immigration and citizenship case is particular and you should consult with a qualified immigration and citizenship lawyer about your case before taking any steps. The Law Office of Parviz Malakouti does not guarantee the accuracy of information presented nor assume responsibility for actions taken in reliance of this information. The information in this page could become outdated. Attorney marketing.