Study Abroad - Naturalization Process

My name is Tom Park and I am currently a first year college student in the USA. I hold a permanent residence card and am planning to apply for my US citizenship once I reach my 5 years of continuous residence in the US. However, I am also planning to study abroad in Shanghai for the 2020-2021 year (End of August to End of April) through my university’s International Program. I was wondering if attending this study abroad program would negatively impact my naturalization process and potentially prevent me from becoming a US citizen. Would there be any possibility I could stay outside of the US in this Study Abroad program (probably in Shanghai for the most part and potentially traveling to Korea for the breaks) and not impact my naturalization process?

Thank you for your time. Any help would be appreciated.


Well-Known Member
Technically, it could delay it, as you are presumed to have broken continuous residence for being out of the country for 6 months or more. However, it is a “rebuttable” presumption (if the absence is less than a year), if you can show enough evidence that you maintained your actual residence /ties in the US for that time, which I’d think would be relatively easy to do for a study abroad program after which you will (I assume) be returning to regular degree studies in the US, while all your other ties would remain as is within the US. So there is a risk, but I think you should be ok. It will be up to you to provide the rebuttal evidence when you apply to naturalize.

Note that apart from the continuous residence requirement there is also a physical presence requirement. The total you will be out should not have a detrimental impact on that if you have spent most of the rest of the time within the US, but you’d need to do the calculation on that.

Here is the brief explanation of the requirements, the manual has more detail


Active Member
Naturalization prospects places limits on some things you can do or can't do. Why risk your naturalization by going on study abroad? If I were you, I would postpone going to study abroad until I get done with the naturalization process. good luck.