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Travel While Naturalizing

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Can I travel home while my naturalization case is pending? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We're having these great webinars. They ask me anything at least once a month, sometimes twice a month, where people can ask us any kind of immigration question they want for free. We hop on Demio for an hour. If you want to subscribe to that, just shoot us an email at [email protected] or leave a comment down below and our team will follow up. So in last week's webinars, somebody asked, can I travel home while my naturalization case is pending?

And I laughed when this question was asked, because when I was a baby immigration lawyer, I was telling people, "No way. You can't go home. You have to show that you have continually resided in the United States." But you know what, my friends? That was overkill. I did a little too much. I was a little bit too eager and a little bit too green. Now I've learned that you can go home while your citizenship case is pending. You can also go home while your green card case is pending if you have your advance parole. But as long as you have a green card, a valid passport, and a return ticket and a ticket back and forth, you're going to be able to come and go while your citizenship case is pending.

Now, one of our favorite sayings around here at the old Hacking Immigration Law is just because you can, doesn't mean you should. So with all the craziness regarding flights and COVID and everything else, you got to make sure that you're going to be able to get back, and you probably want to make sure that you're going to get back in time for any interview. So sometimes you get a month's notice. Sometimes you get two weeks notice. Sometimes you get one weeks notice. So you're going to have to ask yourself, am I going to be able to drop everything and come back if I have an interview? And so that's one thing to keep in mind. The other thing is that you might get stuck outside the United States for a long time.

So if you've had a long history of being outside the United States, you probably don't want to highlight that. If you need to go overseas again, you might need to think that through. So everything needs to be conscious and thought through. So one thing is that you probably want to figure out what are the normal processing times in your local USCIS field office. In other words, here in St. Louis, our naturalization cases get interviewed in about six or seven months. In San Francisco or New York, that can be more than a year. You want to time it right. Typically, the best time to travel if you want to go back home is right after you get fingerprinted, because that's going to be the most time until you have your interview in most cases.

One thing to think about too is that if you got your green card based on a prior claim of asylum, you're not going to want to travel back to your home country. And I guess this question too goes to travel outside the United States, not to your home country. And for the most part, you can travel. You can go to Mexico. You can go to Canada. Now, you're going to have to explain it. And I will say that for a small subset of countries like Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, that if you travel between the time that you... Afghanistan.

Between the time that you file and the time of your interview, that trip in and of itself might cause more delays, because sometimes you show up and they don't know what to do because they figured out you just traveled to one of these bad countries that they're concerned about, or you know what I mean. One of the ones that they're racially profiling or religiously profiling. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. But for the most part, you are going to be able to travel while your citizenship case is pending. Of course, you don't want to have any trips for more than six months, and you probably want to go for a shorter time as possible.

You might want to just wait until after you get your citizenship to do it, then you're going to have to wait for your US passport. If you have questions about travel while your naturalization case is pending, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group. We just call it Immigrant Home. And if you liked this video, we ask you to please share it on social and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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