Hello and good luck with your application!
I found your answer through some extensive reading on the Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS) website (http://www.ins.gov/).
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'
(http://www.ins.gov/graphics/services/natz/insfnl.pdf). (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 - http://www.ins.gov/
Clarification of Answer by
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 :)