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Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Old Sep 15th 2020, 3:16 pm
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Default Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Hi Everyone,

I recently became a US citizen and applied for my US passport at the end of July. Obviously due to COVID there seem to be delays in the issuing of passports. Just wondered a couple of things -

a) What are people's experience of receiving a new US passport which you applied for in the last ~6 months. Is it way in excess of the original (pre COVID) 8 weeks estimates? The COVID related passport issuance data on the State Department website gives some detail and perhaps implies a current time of 8 - 10 weeks (dividing "passports awaiting issuance" by "Passports issued").

b) Has anyone found a (completely legal) way to travel on their existing valid foreign passport while waiting for their US passport (in my case, a UK passport)? To caveat that statement, I understand that US Citizens are supposed to leave and enter the US on a US passport. However, some detail on the USCIS website implies some flexibility. For example -

"A passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality is required in order to enter or re-enter the United States." (Search for "US Citizens travelling internationally" on the USCIS website)

I've also seen mentioned "most US citizens.." must enter or leave on a US passport - with the emphasis on *most* (although I'm struggling to find a clear original source at the moment).

Steve
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Old Sep 15th 2020, 3:20 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

The issue that you'll run in to when trying to travel back to the US without a US passport will be airlines refusing to let you board - they check for valid documentation and you can't get an ESTA, don't have a visa and don't have a permanent resident card.

If you arrive at a land border they would eventually let you in after confirming your identity.
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Old Sep 15th 2020, 5:30 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

The law says that US citizens must enter and leave the US bearing a US passport, except when using other documents as allowed under the WHTI (mostly dealing with trusted traveler cards and children crossing land borders, etc., which probably don't apply to your case). However, there is no penalty for violating this law. The US doesn't have exit checks, so the "leave" part of the rule is essentially meaningless. And for entering, if you make it to a US port of entry, and you can satisfactorily demonstrate your US citizenship, they cannot deny you entry (though they can temporarily detain you to check it out and give you lots of hassle). So the main issue is the airline refusing to let you board when you return to the US.

It is possible to get passports within days at a passport agency, but it seems that currently that is limited to life-or-death emergencies. If you cannot get a US passport and are in a hurry to go abroad for some urgent matter, and you are not in a hurry to get back to the US, you can just leave without a US passport and apply for a US passport in the foreign country where you will be, or have someone in the US mail you the passport when they send it to your address.
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Old Sep 16th 2020, 10:46 am
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

I applied for a 1st US passport on 8/1 (that was the date I went to the Post Office, anyway) and received it in the mail on 9/5.

I am surprised you haven't got yours yet.

Last edited by civilservant; Sep 16th 2020 at 10:49 am.
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Old Sep 17th 2020, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

I also recently applied for my first US passport after naturalization and received it in the mail this week.
Total time from appointment at my local post office was 12 weeks.
My application apparently went through the Charleston office and it seems that different offices around the country complete at different rates.
I now await my naturalization certificate back which I’m expecting to be around a week.
I was also expecting my wait time to be around 8 weeks but just as I was starting to get antsy, it arrived.
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Old Sep 17th 2020, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by sjc200 View Post
Hi Everyone,

I recently became a US citizen and applied for my US passport at the end of July. Obviously due to COVID there seem to be delays in the issuing of passports. Just wondered a couple of things -

a) What are people's experience of receiving a new US passport which you applied for in the last ~6 months. Is it way in excess of the original (pre COVID) 8 weeks estimates? The COVID related passport issuance data on the State Department website gives some detail and perhaps implies a current time of 8 - 10 weeks (dividing "passports awaiting issuance" by "Passports issued").

b) Has anyone found a (completely legal) way to travel on their existing valid foreign passport while waiting for their US passport (in my case, a UK passport)? To caveat that statement, I understand that US Citizens are supposed to leave and enter the US on a US passport. However, some detail on the USCIS website implies some flexibility. For example -

"A passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality is required in order to enter or re-enter the United States." (Search for "US Citizens travelling internationally" on the USCIS website)

I've also seen mentioned "most US citizens.." must enter or leave on a US passport - with the emphasis on *most* (although I'm struggling to find a clear original source at the moment).

Steve
State.gov has similar guidance:

https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...tionality.html

I assume you don’t have your N550 anymore as it was sent with your passport application.

I have observed a USC entering with an N550 and foreign passport at EWR airport, he was in the next booth over, from what I could hear he kept doing it and the office had a note in the system that he had been told to get a US passport. I assumed based on his attire the fact that the flight to land before mine was TLV he was a dual national of Israel, I was through quickly so did not see what happened but it did not seem pleasant and as others say your biggest issue will be getting on a plane, ans with the travel ban that will likely be an even bigger issue now...
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Old Sep 18th 2020, 9:47 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by sjc200 View Post
Hi Everyone,

I recently became a US citizen and applied for my US passport at the end of July. Obviously due to COVID there seem to be delays in the issuing of passports. Just wondered a couple of things -

a) What are people's experience of receiving a new US passport which you applied for in the last ~6 months. Is it way in excess of the original (pre COVID) 8 weeks estimates? The COVID related passport issuance data on the State Department website gives some detail and perhaps implies a current time of 8 - 10 weeks (dividing "passports awaiting issuance" by "Passports issued").

b) Has anyone found a (completely legal) way to travel on their existing valid foreign passport while waiting for their US passport (in my case, a UK passport)? To caveat that statement, I understand that US Citizens are supposed to leave and enter the US on a US passport. However, some detail on the USCIS website implies some flexibility. For example -

"A passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality is required in order to enter or re-enter the United States." (Search for "US Citizens travelling internationally" on the USCIS website)

I've also seen mentioned "most US citizens.." must enter or leave on a US passport - with the emphasis on *most* (although I'm struggling to find a clear original source at the moment).

Steve
So for some reason taking my wife’s car to the dealership for its service reminded me I still need to go to the DMV to update my realID DL so they know I am a USC. Probably won’t help if your waiting for your passport as you need your cert or passport to prove USC, and also with CV19 travel restrictions. But under more normal times if you went to the DMV before sending away your passport application you could leave the US on your other Citizenship passport. Then in your way home fly to Canada or Mexico, enter with your realID passport at a land border and the make your way home. I only ever did this with my GC when we drive over the rainbow bridge, but we barely flashed my wife’s passport and my GC out the window and we’re on our way.
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 3:47 am
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by tht View Post
I still need to go to the DMV to update my realID DL so they know I am a USC.
Wait, is that a thing? The internets tell me nothing.
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 3:54 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by retzie View Post
Wait, is that a thing? The internet[s] tell me nothing.
The driver's license RealID will show your immigration status in the US. Here are the requirements:

Visit your state's driver's licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status

Since your status is part of the RealID information on the license, yes, you want to update it.
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
The driver's license RealID will show your immigration status in the US. Here are the requirements:

Visit your state's driver's licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status

Since your status is part of the RealID information on the license, yes, you want to update it.
I don’t think it actually shows the way immigration status. I already have it in CT from when I was an LPR... it only has the gold star. I thought it had rfid or was tied to a data base, but maybe it doesn't even do that, but maybe it’s state by state.
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 8:08 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
The driver's license RealID will show your immigration status in the US. Here are the requirements:

Visit your state's driver's licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status

Since your status is part of the RealID information on the license, yes, you want to update it.
I am like tht -- already have my realID from when I was an LPR. I had to show my green card to get it, but I thought that was just an ID requirement, not that it was somehow stored information that needed to be kept updated.

I can't find any information about updating upon naturalization (for any state).
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by retzie View Post
I am like tht -- already have my realID from when I was an LPR. I had to show my green card to get it, but I thought that was just an ID requirement, not that it was somehow stored information that needed to be kept updated.

I can't find any information about updating upon naturalization (for any state).
I was told somewhere here I had to do DMV and SSA, figured I would wait on the DMV to delay jury duty... but now I have register to vote (waited for the same reason) it probably makes no difference. Will juts update at my renewal next year... never going to the DMV unless I actually have to.... have a passport card and global entry card for non air travel anyway. Although I actually carry the passport card (and ordered it as proof of citizenship given my proximity to so many airports and the ocean which is also part of the 100 miles boarder zone (which I believe gives CBP authority to ask for proof of citizenship in a much wider area).

Last edited by tht; Sep 19th 2020 at 8:16 pm.
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Old Sep 20th 2020, 2:44 am
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Is a passport card considered as an official Real ID ? I have just received my brand new passport card along with my naturalization certificate back after successfully going through application for a first US passport.
The thought of making an appointment at my local Virginia DMV is comparable to a trip to the dentist for root canal treatment.
Virginia is asking for Real ID by the last day of October..... I hope upon hope that I can get by using the new passport card ... anyone know if I can ?
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Old Sep 21st 2020, 12:03 am
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by BennyBall View Post
Is a passport card considered as an official Real ID ? I have just received my brand new passport card along with my naturalization certificate back after successfully going through application for a first US passport.
The thought of making an appointment at my local Virginia DMV is comparable to a trip to the dentist for root canal treatment.
Virginia is asking for Real ID by the last day of October..... I hope upon hope that I can get by using the new passport card ... anyone know if I can ?
It is federal ID and proof of USC, and you can enter the country with it, so one would hope so, in a federal sense it is more “Real” than a state DL. I assume government issued, i.e passport, military etc should be “better” than state.
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Old Sep 21st 2020, 12:13 am
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Default Re: Travel during COVID times while waiting for US passport

Originally Posted by BennyBall View Post
Is a passport card considered as an official Real ID ? I have just received my brand new passport card along with my naturalization certificate back after successfully going through application for a first US passport.
The thought of making an appointment at my local Virginia DMV is comparable to a trip to the dentist for root canal treatment.
Virginia is asking for Real ID by the last day of October..... I hope upon hope that I can get by using the new passport card ... anyone know if I can ?
The only difference between REAL ID and non-REAL ID state driver's licenses or ID cards is that non-REAL ID driver's licenses and ID cards can no longer be used to pass TSA airport security checkpoints and enter certain federal buildings after October 1, 2021 (not 2020). Some other types of documents can be used to pass TSA airport security checkpoints, both before and after October 1, 2021, including US and foreign passports (including passport cards), green cards, EADs, enhanced driver's licenses, etc., but they are not referred to as REAL ID.

I am not sure what you mean by "Virginia is asking for Real ID" -- whether a driver's license or ID card is REAL ID only matters for federal purposes (TSA, federal buildings, etc.). Non-REAL ID driver's licenses and ID cards continue to be valid for driving and other state purposes, even after October 1, 2021.
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