I became a naturalized citizen and, as a result, my Green Card was taken during my interview. I've applied for a passport and was told it would take up to 6 weeks for processing.

I already had plans to travel months before my interview (already arranged everything) but now I have no green card. I'm not sure if going to a country that is on the US travel ban will affect anything.

I cannot wait for the passport. Is there anything I can do?

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    If you already had plans for travel, why didn't you apply for expedited service? You probably still can; call the number given there for advice. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 2:18
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    @GerardAshton Please post an answer if you have one. Avoid answering in the comments as per our rules.
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 22:25
  • Traveling to a travel ban country might get you some extra questions, but it does not affect your right as a citizen of the US to enter the US.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 4:16

3 Answers 3


Exit the US on your other passport, as there are no exit checks.

On the return, fly to Canada with your naturalisation certificate (the universal airline database, TIMATIC, clearly states it's accepted instead of a passport, but do be prepared to have to point it out to the check-in staff), and enter the US by land.

From TIMATIC regarding Canada:

Passport Exemptions:

  • Nationals of the USA with a recommended proof of citizenship such as a:

    • US birth certificate; or

    • US certificate of citizenship; or

    • US certificate of naturalization.

  • So you're saying Canada accepts US naturalization certs as ID, but the US does not? Could you quote chapter and verse from Timatic? Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 22:44
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    If you believe the US CBP's webpage—and I don't see why you wouldn't—US citizens require an enhanced driver's license, enhanced tribal card, trusted traveler card, or military ID to enter the USA via land or sea. If the OP doesn't have any of these things, they should expect (at best) a very long delay at the border while their identity and citizenship is verified. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 0:56
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    @JonathanReez The naturalisation certificate has a photo to boot
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 1:42
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    @JonathanReez they have nothing to worry about as far as having the right to enter. But spending potentially days in border detention while border security searches for confirmation that you really are a US citizen isn't my idea of nothing to worry about.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 9:13
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    @jwenting CBP definitely has your fingerprints on file if you're a recently naturalized citizen. This plus the naturalization certificate means you'll breeze through the border. No one is getting detained for days.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 9:36

One more option: The US does not have exit immigration, so you can leave the country on your old passport to travel. When your new US passport is ready, authorize somebody else to pick it up and have them FedEx/UPS it to wherever you are overseas.

The obvious concern with this plan is that if your US passport is delayed for any reason or lost in transit, you're stuck overseas until you can procure a new one. Depending on your nationality, you might be able to fly to Canada and cross the land border with documents proving your US citizenship, but this would be a significant hassle.

All things considered, contacting the passport office to see if they can expedite your existing application would be a much better way to go.

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    +1 Yes they can expedite the passport even after you already applied. Has to call in and pay the fee. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 6:47
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    They even waived the fee for me when the non-expedited return time had already far exceeded the estimate at the time of submission. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 16:53
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    OP can fly to Canada with just their naturalisation certificate
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 20:55

Passport services can get delayed by USA government shutdowns because various agencies have to coordinate to verify your identity and not all of them are fee-funded.

Ideally, you should have either filed expedited or gone to a walk-in passport office and pleaded for emergency same-day service. But it might be too late for that although you should try phoning the passport office to see if you can upgrade to expedited.

I think your next best bet is to hope that they at least send your naturalization certificate back as soon as they scan it. Then with that you can go to a same-day passport office and get one made same-day.

A more risky, strategy is to travel out with your former country’s passport, apply for an ESTA, and then when coming back into the USA show your naturalization certificate at US immigration and expect a nice haranguing at secondary while they yell at you for pulling a shenanigan. You can also try entering through a pre-clearance airport in Abu Dhubai, Ireland, or Canada — or through the land border in Canada or Mexico. USA Immigration can yell at you and detain you while they check your status but they can’t deny you entry so you’ll get in, eventually.

Note: there’s evidence here on se of dual citizens getting ESTA. You should declare your us citizenship on the esta application in any case.

  • travel out with your former country’s passport and then when coming back show your naturalization certificate at US immigration Not possible unless it’s a visa free passport Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 6:46
  • I plan to do a ''country hop'' I will fly in to one country and then take a bus to another (which is the one on the list of travel bans). Visiting sick grandfather but no direct flights into the country. I'm sure I will be interrogated on way back. (has already happened to close friends and family)
    – Noah
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 17:50
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    @HonoraryWorldCitizen However the naturalisation certificate will work in Canada
    – Crazydre
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 20:57
  • Note that currently there are no US pre-clearance facilities in the UK. There are, however, two in Ireland. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 0:45
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    @Crazydre it seems that the naturalization certificate would only work at the land border. Someone has posted here saying that she was prohibited from flying to the US from Canada with a valid ESTA for her non-US passport.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 3:42

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