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Q: Residency restrictions during US Naturalization process? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Residency restrictions during US Naturalization process?
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: anoniam-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 20 Jun 2002 16:57 PDT
Expires: 20 Jun 2003 16:58 PDT
Question ID: 30075
I'm eligible to apply for US Naturalization.

Once I submit my application, can I live in another country and use a
foreign address, or should I have a US address?
Subject: Re: Residency restrictions during US Naturalization process?
Answered By: mosquitohawk-ga on 20 Jun 2002 19:20 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello and good luck with your application!

I found your answer through some extensive reading on the Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS) website (

You can be overseas during your application process, but there are
certain restrictions you should know about. You did not mention you
are in the military, so I won't address that, but if you are request
clarification and I will happily answer more specifically for members
of the military.

The most helpful document I read was the INS Naturalization 'primer'
( (This files
requires Adobe Acrobat to read it.) The one difference in being
overseas during your application process, will be the requirement to
complete some of your application process with the nearest U.S.
Consular Office (pg. 36 of the document). You would want to keep this
in mind depending on how far away that office might be.

You must be a continuous resident of the United States before your
application will be accepted by INS. This means you must have lived in
the United States for the previous five years and not have left the
country for more than six months at any given time for any reason
(There are a few exceptions, but are very specific and not likely to

In addition, you must also have maintained a physical presence in the
United States, which means you must have lived in the U.S. for 30
months of the 5 years continuous residency.

Keep those last two in mind, they are very important. The INS phone
number for additional information not asked for in your question is
800-375-5283. If you need clarification before rating my answer, by
all means ask for it, I'll be glad to help!


I started my search with the INS main webpage -

Request for Answer Clarification by anoniam-ga on 20 Jun 2002 22:49 PDT
Regarding the 6 month rule, Could I literally fly in to the US, go
through immigration, and then fly back to a foregin country?

Clarification of Answer by mosquitohawk-ga on 23 Jun 2002 08:48 PDT
According to the INS documentation, I believe you could return to the
U.S., pending your eligibility with all the time rules, finish your
INS applications, interviews, etc. and once you are awarded
citizenship, travel or live as any other U.S. citizen does.

I would also suggest following the advice of those who've added
comments since my answer, read the articles about precautions for
aliens traveling abroad during the pendency of their application, talk
to an attorney and/or your local INS office for more specific advice.

Hope that clarifies :)
anoniam-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Residency restrictions during US Naturalization process?
From: mosquitohawk-ga on 20 Jun 2002 19:21 PDT
Note for

I got kicked out of this question 4 times before I was able to post my
answer...very frustrating having to retype, I learned after the 3rd
Subject: Re: Residency restrictions during US Naturalization process?
From: librarygopher-ga on 20 Jun 2002 20:15 PDT

Here's some more info that might help with your question regarding
travel outside the U.S. while your application is pending:

Have a Pending Immigration Application? Beware of Foreign Travel

INS Issues Foreign Travel Advisory for Aliens With Pending Immigration
Applications (November 22, 2000)

So, based on the above material, I would bet that you probably need to
live in the U.S. during the application process if they even advice
against travel to a foreign country.

You should definitely contact an immigration lawyer for more concrete

Take care and good luck!

Subject: Re: Residency restrictions during US Naturalization process?
From: siemce-ga on 21 Jun 2002 10:47 PDT
First of all - get a lawyer. INS very often looses papers and does a
lot of strange things. If you have a lawyer, INS has to send a copy of
all the papers to him. You can find a lawyer who will do it for you
for about $500, so it's worth it.
Now, about living abroad, remember that everything depends on the INS
officer that you will be interviewed by. Also, it's important what is
your reason of absence in the US. INS will examine 5 years of your
travel records.
Once more, find a lawyer, the consultation is usually free.

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