If I have a green card, can I apply for U.S. citizenship while outside of the U.S. or am I allowed to leave while waiting for my citizenship to process?

Question Details: I have been a U.S. resident for 4.5 years, married to a citizen and mother of a citizen. I am planning an extended stay back in my home country and am wondering whether to apply for citizenship just before I depart or while out of the U.S.

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