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Travel with certificate of naturalization, without passport?

Discussion in 'US Citizenship' started by ds135, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. ds135

    ds135 Registered Users (C)

    Would there be any issue to re-enter the U.S. with just a certificate of naturalization, without a U.S. passport?
    Thanks a lot.
  2. Atlanta_Brother

    Atlanta_Brother Registered Users (C)


    Sorry, you can't do that. You have to have a valid passport to travel.
  3. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)

    I believe I asked a similar question around the time I did my oath. I believe air travel is out of the question, all U.S. citizens need a passport. Driving to Canada or Mexico, the certificate might work, the same way a birth certificate and driver's license will work, but it might need a trip to secondary inspection to verify that the certificate is legitimate. However, I don't have proof of this. The rules about land crossings are changing as we speak. Make sure you check the travel.state.gov website or any other reliable source of information about land crossing. My best advice is to get a passport.
  4. tsnbagman

    tsnbagman Registered Users (C)

    I would advise against doing it.
  5. Triple Citizen

    Triple Citizen Registered Users (C)

    Where do you intend to travel to?

  6. Atlanta_Brother

    Atlanta_Brother Registered Users (C)

    Passport is a must

    Nowadays you need a passport to enter Canada. I don't know about Mexico, but a valid passport is a requirement to legally enter Canada. Please make a note of it.
  7. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)

    ds135, it would have been nice of you to come back and answer the questions people asked you ;) Anyway, no obligation, but it is a nice gesture to volunteers here who bust their neurons to try to provide you a complete and accurate answer.

    However, regardless of your reply and for completeness of this thread, as I guessed it seems that certificate of naturalization and driver's license is going to be enough for a while to do a land cross back to the U.S. from Canada or Mexico. Atlanta Brother pointed out that Canada asks for a passport, so perhaps your choices are limited to travel to Mexico.

    Scroll down to the two document option


    My 2 cents.
  8. SafferJoe

    SafferJoe Registered Users (C)

    Here's variation of that question that might apply to me:

    My old country allows dual citizenship, so I'll be keeping my nonUS passport. Suppose I go to my oath ceremony, get my natz certificate and hand in my GC. If my elderly mother requires an emergency visit before I get my US passport, will they let me in with my nonUS passport (which requires a visa) and the natz certificate?

    Thanks in advance!
  9. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)

    This question has been debated on different forms. It seems the consensus is that even if you still hold a passport from another country you are expected to leave the U.S. and come back with the U.S. passport. You might use your former country's passport to get into that country, or for subsequent travel outside the U.S.

    Now, for your specific question. It's tough to say what CBP would do. My guess is that it is not allowed, but they might let you in. I don't know what the airline would do if you try to leave the country with your old passport and the naturalization certificate. They might not even let you board. This leads to the following contrived scenario if you leave the U.S. by land, but come back by air. In that case you might try to get in with your old passport and the naturalization certificate. There is no saying what CBP could do. They might turn you back and you would need to try to get a passport through an embassy, or they might let you in after secondary inspetion. According to the cbp site if you are a U.S. citizen coming back by air travel you need a passport (it is implicit that it is a U.S. passport :)

    Here is the quote:
    U.S. Citizens
    Air Travel

    All U.S. citizens including children must present a passport or secure travel document when entering the United States by air.
  10. thankful

    thankful Registered Users (C)

    By air it is NOT acceptable.

    By land you can get away with that for the time being (they will prohibit it in the near future).
  11. thankful

    thankful Registered Users (C)

    Citizens still do not need passports to enter Canada but if you travel by air this is an academic question because you need a passport to return to the U.S.
  12. dandan123

    dandan123 Registered Users (C)

    US passport only weighs a little bit more than the naturalization certificate so if it was me I would carry my US passport.
  13. warlord

    warlord Registered Users (C)

    This is correct, you have never needed a passport to travel by land into Canada and back. This may be something comming this year, but present time you do not.

    I heard that some people have been able to come back in with their Naturalization cert, but it can cause problems though. Not sure if they encountered secondary inspections because of it or not. Why not just expediate your passport or have you already submitted it and suddenly there's an emergency to attend in the other country?
  14. Atlanta_Brother

    Atlanta_Brother Registered Users (C)

    Good advice

    Very good advice. I agree with warlord.
  15. ds135

    ds135 Registered Users (C)

    Thanks everyone for advise!

    Triple_Citizen, to answer your question, I intend to go to Russia for a 1-month business trip.

    As far as I know, even with in-person expedited passport application, it's up to a 2 week wait, which I may not be able to afford.

    An option I am considering is to travel to Russia with my Russian passport, and then get a U.S. passport via the U.S. embassy in Moscow, according to them it only takes 5-8 business days.

    I believe it should not be a problem to leave the U.S. without a U.S. passport, just with the nat cert?

  16. fidelfs

    fidelfs Registered Users (C)

    We had an emergency in our home country and we went to the passport office in person. We had our application in the system as "normal processing" and we wanted to expedited for same day. We explained the situation and we wait most of the day but we got the passport. The caveat is the passport is valid only for one year. Yes, you can get a passport same day but it will cost you waiting time. We were not the only ones getting passport the same day (Houston, office).

    This is from the Homeland security website, concerning entering with your certificate.

    "Presenting Insufficient Documentation

    Travelers who do not have the appropriate documents may be delayed while Customs and Border Protection officers attempt to verify their citizenship and identity. They will also be given an informational sheet explaining the new procedures. The intent of this transition is to raise awareness of the change, educate travelers, and allow ample time for travelers to obtain the necessary documents."

    The airline at moment of leaving USA will check your passport (any nationality) and the ticket. They concern is to verify you have legal means to get into the other country. They don't need to know you are US citizen or not. In other words you can leave with your Russian passport.

    Caveat: I am not a lawyer or Immigration officer so my comments are only mine. Please verify this.

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