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Traveling internationally in <1 week within oath ceremony. Should I postpone the oath?

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Hello, I've been approved for US Citizenship and have my oath ceremony scheduled on April 16th. However, I'm traveling out of the country on April 22nd and returning mid-May. I've already done a lot of searching through the posts, but I would like to hear your opinions as I'm trying to decide what is the best option. It's a little complicated because I will also be changing my first name (my former first name will be my middle name).

Option 1: Postpone oath ceremony, travel using my greencard and my former home country's passport (they do not allow dual citizenship in my home country, so this will be the last time I will use this). Come back to the US in May, hopefully get a ceremony notice in late May or June and then get all my documents (passport, etc.) filed. This is assuming all will go smoothly and I won't have to deal with late/missing applications. I do not really mind if it takes a few more months to get the oath scheduled, but I'd like to get it over with sooner than later.

Option 2: Go to the oath ceremony on April 16th, make appointment for same day passport at local passport office (or just show up, which also works based on my internet searches), pay an extra $60 for expedited fee, pay extra $$ for getting there/missing work. Get all my documents filed in the 1 week timespan before leaving the country for 2 weeks. Need to change flight information or deal with potential problems at the airport because my legal name will change once I become a US Citizen.

I'm leaning toward Option 1 as the most logical solution, but Option 2 is attractive to me because I'll finally become a citizen and not have to deal with this anymore. Thoughts? Suggestions?

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I am not sure if there is a passport agency around where you live, but for example, where I live (Bay Area, California), there is one passport agency in San Francisco. I can go there and get my passport done the same day if I have flight itinerary that shows my urgent need for travel. Look around and see if that is an option for you first.

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I am not sure if there is a passport agency around where you live, but for example, where I live (Bay Area, California), there is one passport agency in San Francisco. I can go there and get my passport done the same day if I have flight itinerary that shows my urgent need for travel. Look around and see if that is an option for you first.

Yes, there is a passport agency where I live. I'd have to miss a day of work to get there though with public transportation (get there before they open, then get there before they close around 4). Parking in Boston is annoying.

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Problems with Option 1:

- You're supposed to return the oath letter with an explanation of why you can't make the ceremony... at the rate USCIS moves, it's almost certian that they won't get your request in time and you will be listed as a "no-show". USCIS will then send you a letter asking you to explain why you skipped the ceremony and will ask you to respond within a month. If you do not, your application will be denied.

- As you mentioned, you'll have to hope that they don't mess up the rescheduling process once they get it.

Problem with Option 2:

- New legal name... many airlines will insist on issuing a new ticket if your name has changed. Some airlines will just charge you a ticket fee (around $50 or $100) but others (especially international airlines) will make you buy a new ticket. Some airlines will allow you to board with your new passport, your name change form, and photo ID in your old name to prove that it's you.

Option 3:

Postpone your trip.

I would go with 2 or 3 (3 being a back-up plan for 2).


Yes, there is a passport agency where I live. I'd have to miss a day of work to get there though with public transportation (get there before they open, then get there before they close around 4). Parking in Boston is annoying.

Make sure to check if your passport office requires an appointment (most do).


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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Problems with Option 1:

- You're supposed to return the oath letter with an explanation of why you can't make the ceremony... at the rate USCIS moves, it's almost certian that they won't get your request in time and you will be listed as a "no-show". USCIS will then send you a letter asking you to explain why you skipped the ceremony and will ask you to respond within a month. If you do not, your application will be denied.

- As you mentioned, you'll have to hope that they don't mess up the rescheduling process once they get it.

Problem with Option 2:

- New legal name... many airlines will insist on issuing a new ticket if your name has changed. Some airlines will just charge you a ticket fee (around $50 or $100) but others (especially international airlines) will make you buy a new ticket. Some airlines will allow you to board with your new passport, your name change form, and photo ID in your old name to prove that it's you.

Option 3:

Postpone your trip.

I would go with 2 or 3 (3 being a back-up plan for 2).

Make sure to check if your passport office requires an appointment (most do).

Thanks for the advice. This is why I thought it would be better to ask here since you guys would have a better sense of the timeframe.

I am worried that USCIS will not proces my request in time (although I have seen several posts on these forums saying it was fine), but since I will be out of the country when they might send a letter that was my main concern.

The problems you listed with the airlines isn't an issue, I called them just now and they all said as long as I brought appropriate documentation and let them know in advance they will be able to accomodate it.

Just wanted to write this out in case someone in the future has a similar problem and wants answers.

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Taking a day off work to save you from headaches with USCIS would be worth it. Imagine you postponed it and were now abroad, then USCIS demanded something immediately so they could reschedule your oath. What would you do? You would now be worried to death and could not do things you wanted with the travel. In my opinion, it is a lose-lose situation and we can never predict what USCIS might do.

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Taking a day off work to save you from headaches with USCIS would be worth it. Imagine you postponed it and were now abroad, then USCIS demanded something immediately so they could reschedule your oath. What would you do? You would now be worried to death and could not do things you wanted with the travel. In my opinion, it is a lose-lose situation and we can never predict what USCIS might do.

That's a great point. I've had such a pleasant experience with USCIS so far (really, aside from the few hours in the waiting room, everything has gone very smoothly) so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal, but I guess if something is out of order than it might turn into a giant headache. Bureaucracy!

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I have had very smooth experience with USCIS too, but have also seen terrible things happened to other people. So you'll never know. I would rather get it over with so it would be permanent peace.

That's a great point. I've had such a pleasant experience with USCIS so far (really, aside from the few hours in the waiting room, everything has gone very smoothly) so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal, but I guess if something is out of order than it might turn into a giant headache. Bureaucracy!

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I would go with option 2. I traveled two weeks after my oath ceremony. I had to travel four hours to Detroit to the passport agency. They didn't give me a same day passport, but sent if overnight to me the next day and I had it only two days after my appointment at the agency. Easy peasy. Get it over and done with. The only drawback is that it will cost you more for the expedited passport fee.

Do check to see if the agency requires an appointment. If they do, go ahead and make it now so you know you have it. You can always cancel it if you change your mind and go with a different option. You make the appointment via an automated phone system.

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