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Well, I am done with the process. I took my oath in Houston this morning and I am proud to be a US citizen. I want to update everybody on some questions I had a while back regarding traveling during the process.

I have to travel a lot for work. Since it's for business purposes, they are normally short trips, but very frequent. I filled two passports in the 5 years I was a resident.

My recommendations:

1. I created a spreasheet when I became a resident and logged all my trips. I used airline records whenever I forgot to update it for a while. I strongly suggest doing this. If you only have a couple of stamps on a passport it's not a big deal, but if you travel often, filling out the information form your passport will be a mess, especially since some countries (like Mexico and the US) don't stamp on the way out and if you have Global Entry (like me) you don't get stamped on the way into the US.

2. I sent copies of every page of the two passports I used during my LPR time with my application. I didn't read that anywhere, but the IO said it was a good idea.

3. Keep updating the spreadsheet for any travel between the application and the interview. I did not do this because I wrongfully thought the physical presence requirement was up to the time of the application.

My decision was still delayed a few days after my interview (my wife had the interview the same day and got the decision on the spot). It only took 3 days for the status to change to "Oath will be Scheduled". I think it was mainly because of my travel between the application and the interview. They had to make sure I was still here. The IO has access to all your travel records and they double check the information you send if physical presence is an issue.

I took a 3-day trip between interview and oath. I was worried about it since there is a specific question about this on the N-445 Oath letter. It was not an issue. They asked me where and for how long I was away. I told them and the USCIS representative made a note with red pen on my form. That is just to highlight your answer. I wasn't asked for any documentation (but this doesn''t mean that someone else may not do so). My green card was taken and I was shown my certificate for verification and went on to the hall for the oath.

Most people don't travel that much, but for those who do, I think these tips will help.

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Well, I am done with the process. I took my oath in Houston this morning and I am proud to be a US citizen. I want to update everybody on some questions I had a while back regarding traveling during the process.

I have to travel a lot for work. Since it's for business purposes, they are normally short trips, but very frequent. I filled two passports in the 5 years I was a resident.

My recommendations:

1. I created a spreasheet when I became a resident and logged all my trips. I used airline records whenever I forgot to update it for a while. I strongly suggest doing this. If you only have a couple of stamps on a passport it's not a big deal, but if you travel often, filling out the information form your passport will be a mess, especially since some countries (like Mexico and the US) don't stamp on the way out and if you have Global Entry (like me) you don't get stamped on the way into the US.

2. I sent copies of every page of the two passports I used during my LPR time with my application. I didn't read that anywhere, but the IO said it was a good idea.

3. Keep updating the spreadsheet for any travel between the application and the interview. I did not do this because I wrongfully thought the physical presence requirement was up to the time of the application.

My decision was still delayed a few days after my interview (my wife had the interview the same day and got the decision on the spot). It only took 3 days for the status to change to "Oath will be Scheduled". I think it was mainly because of my travel between the application and the interview. They had to make sure I was still here. The IO has access to all your travel records and they double check the information you send if physical presence is an issue.

I took a 3-day trip between interview and oath. I was worried about it since there is a specific question about this on the N-445 Oath letter. It was not an issue. They asked me where and for how long I was away. I told them and the USCIS representative made a note with red pen on my form. That is just to highlight your answer. I wasn't asked for any documentation (but this doesn''t mean that someone else may not do so). My green card was taken and I was shown my certificate for verification and went on to the hall for the oath.

Most people don't travel that much, but for those who do, I think these tips will help.

Great post, thank you for sharing.

I do the same thing... I've got a spreadsheet with all my travel and an extra column listing what page of the passport the stamp is on (when there is a stamp)... it can't help to make the interviewer's life easier!

You were actually right that the physical presence requirement only applies up to the point you submit the application (see below).

The continuous residence requirement goes all the way up to the moment you become a citizen.

So you should have been fine even if you had gone on longer trips after you applied, but I've read about cases where the interviewers were not aware of the rules and people were denied for trips after applying when they were close to the physical presence limit.

Congratulations and thanks again for the post.

Anything you can share about the ceremony itself? Houston details, check-in procedures, impressions of the ceremony? It would be great to read about that. If you'd like to, you can post here or in the "What to Expect at the Oath Ceremony" thread:

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/531322-what-to-expect-at-the-naturalization-oath-ceremony/

For future applicants:

So continuous residence applies all the way up to the oath but physical presence only applies up to submitting the application.

However, I would definitely stay on the safe side and just assume that physical presence will be counted all the way up to the oath.

Congratulations!

INA: ACT 316 - REQUIREMENTS AS TO RESIDENCE, GOOD MORAL CHARACTER, ATTACHMENT TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CONSTITUTION, AND FAVORABLE DISPOSITION TO THE UNITED STATES
Sec. 316. [8 U.S.C. 1427]

(a) No person, except as otherwise provided in this title, shall be naturalized, unless such applicant, (1) immediately preceding the date of filing his application for naturalization has resided continuously, after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, within the United States for at least five years and during the five years immediately preceding the date of filing his application has been physically present therein for periods totaling at least half of that time, and who has resided within the State or within the district of the Service in the United States in which the applicant filed the application for at least three months, (2) has resided continuously within the United States from the date of the application up to the time of admission to citizenship, (3) during all the periods referred to in this subsection has been and still is a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.


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

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