I am a permanent resident of US having green card for last three years. This year on 25th July, I traveled to my home country and will go back to states on 17 Jan 2020. I would have spend close to six months outside the states. Now two months of reaching states, I again have to leave for another country for some important project.

Now I am worried that would it effect my naturalization/citizenship process when I apply for it after having PR for five years? I have heard that you have to spend at least six months in a year in US to remain eligible for naturalization. Is that really true? I am unable to find such information on their site. It just says that I need to physically spend 30 months out of 5 years in US to remain eligible.

Can anyone please provide some clarification with some official references if possible?

  • 1
    Tip #1: long absences may also be at risk of having your Green Card revoked because of "abandonment". One of my sons went to school in a different country and was threatened repeatedly to have his Green Card revoked. That's why we naturalized him as quickly as possible.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 13:09
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    Tip #2: keep detailed records of all your travels: dates, location, etc. You have to provide a detailed list with your N-400 and if you travel a lot that's really hard to reconstruct in hindsight
    – Hilmar
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 13:12
  • I've only seen the UK version of it, and yes, you risk the right to get permanent residence in the UK if you're outside the country for too long with some exceptions if it wasn't voluntary (for example if you have an accident in a foreign country and can't return because of that).
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 23:28
  • @gnasher729 it works a bit differently in the US. You have "permanent" residence from day 1, but can lose it if the authorities find that you've abandoned it. That determination is made on a case by case basis, though there are some guidelines about the duration of absencenand so on.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


I have heard that you have to spend at least six months in a year in US to remain eligible for naturalization. Is that really true?

No, that is not true. There is no requirement regarding amount of time you have to spend in the US in a year. The only requirements are the continuous residence requirement and the physical presence requirement.

You are presumed to break continuous residence if you have an absence of more than 6 months (though it is possible to overcome the presumption with strong evidence for absences of between 6 months and 1 year). Since your trips are less than 6 months, they should be okay. It is possible that if you returned for just a day, and then leave again, the officer might consider the absences are really just one big absence, which would then potentially jeopardize continuous residence. I don't think that should be an issue in your case.

The physical presence requirement is just physical presence for half of the required period (30 months if you are applying under the 5-year rule). So you would not meet it if you were gone for more than half the year every year. But being gone more than half the year for just one or two years, with the other years being here the whole time, should not be a problem for the physical presence requirement.


The Apply for Citizenship | USCIS site seems to contain the needed information.

Step 2. Determine if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen.

Going through the Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet contained in the pdf

  • gives in great detail, with possible rules of exceptions, how your times outside the US will be treated

and if you still qualify.

Also, unless you fulfill any of the clearly stated exceptions, 5*6 is still 30 and if you answer that question (4) with no

  • then you are not eligible

Then comes question 5, which also must be answered with yes.

Since there are many conditions (like Form N-470) that we may know nothing about, you must work this out for yourself.

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