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How do I know if I can travel outside of the US after submitting...

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Last Modified:Monday, November 03, 2014

How do I know if I can travel outside of the US after submitting Form N-400?

Can I travel outside of the US after submitting Form N-400?

Applicants for U.S. citizenship may travel outside the U.S. while their application is pending. A foreign passport and Permanent Resident Card continue to be valid as travel documents while the U.S. citizenship application is pending. Applicants who choose to travel while the Form N-400 Application is pending must be careful not to miss any scheduled appointments while they are out of the country. Shortly after the Form N-400 is filed, an applicant will be scheduled to have his or her biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) taken. In the final stages of the application process, the applicant will be scheduled to appear for the citizenship interview, where he or she will be tested on the U.S. civics and English language requirements. The applicant must appear for both appointments in order to establish eligibility for citizenship.

While it is possible to request rescheduling of a biometrics appointment, and even to reschedule the citizenship interview itself, failure to appear for a biometrics appointment or citizenship interview at the originally scheduled time may result in a delay in processing your application. Failure to respond to a USCIS appointment notice will result in a denial of your application.

Applicants who plan to travel internationally while their U.S. citizenship application is pending are often advised to wait until after the biometrics appointment has taken place to leave the country. Processing times for citizenship applications vary from office to office, but applicants can generally expect to receive a biometrics appointment notice within 60 days of filing the application, and to wait at least an additional four months to receive an interview notice. (It may take considerably longer, depending on the circumstances of your case and where you are applying).

Ultimately, the only way to guarantee that there will be no delay in your naturalization application due to rescheduling is to plan on being available for all scheduled appointments while your application is pending. This may mean deciding to postpone travel plans.

If you have to travel, for personal or official reasons, have a friend check your mail. Leave a number where you can be reached if your fingerprint or interview notice arrives. If the scheduled date occurs while you’re vacationing or traveling, write to the office whose address is on the notice, requesting a new appointment. Do this before, not after, the scheduled appointment.

You can use the Application Receipt number (can be found on any of the notices that you would have received from the USCIS) to check your case status online.

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