What is a Naturalization Certificate?

A naturalization certificate is a document that proves that a person has become a U.S. citizen through the process of naturalization.

Naturalization is the legal procedure by which a foreign-born individual voluntarily acquires U.S. citizenship after meeting certain requirements, such as living in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for a specified period of time, demonstrating good moral character, and passing an English and civics test.

A naturalization certificate is an important document that can be used as evidence of U.S. citizenship for various purposes, such as applying for a passport, voting in elections, or obtaining certain benefits and rights.

Naturalization Certificate
Naturalization Certificate | photo courtesy | USA Guide

 

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the naturalization certificate, including how to get one, how to replace one, what information it contains, and how it differs from a citizenship certificate.

How to Apply for a Naturalization Certificate?

To apply for a naturalization certificate, you must first complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization.

This involves filing Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), either online or by mail.

You will also need to provide supporting documents, such as copies of your green card, passport, tax returns, and marriage certificate (if applicable).

You will then have to attend an interview with a USCIS officer, where you will answer questions about your application and take the English and civics test.

Finally, you will have to attend a naturalization ceremony, where you will take the oath of allegiance to the United States and receive your naturalization certificate.

The entire process of naturalization can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on your individual circumstances and the workload of USCIS.

The fee for filing Form N-400 is $725, which includes $640 for the application fee and $85 for the biometric fee.

However, you may qualify for a fee waiver or a reduced fee if you meet certain criteria, such as having a low income or receiving public benefits.

Replacement of the Naturalization Certificate

If you lose or damage your original naturalization certificate, you can apply for a replacement with USCIS.

  1. You will need to submit Form N-565 (Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document), either online or by mail.
  2. You will also need to provide evidence of your identity and citizenship, such as a copy of your driver’s license or passport, and a copy of your lost or damaged certificate or other acceptable documentation.
  3. You may also need to provide additional documents depending on the reason for your replacement request, such as a court order for a name change or a police report for a stolen certificate.

The fee for filing Form N-565 is $555.

However, you may qualify for a fee waiver if you meet certain criteria, such as having a low income or receiving public benefits.

The processing time for Form N-565 can vary from 5 months to 12 months, depending on your location and the workload of USCIS.

Contents of the Naturalization Certificate

The naturalization certificate contains information that identifies you and confirms your U.S. citizenship through naturalization.

Specifically, the certificate contains:

  1. Certificate number (generally a red 6- to 8-digit alphanumeric number)
  2. Date of issuance (date you became a U.S. citizen)
  3. Your full legal name.
  4. Your country of birth
  5. Your date of birth
  6. Your photograph
  7. Your signature
  8. The signature of the USCIS director
  9. The seal of the Department of Homeland Security
  10. The naturalization certificate also has security features to prevent fraud and tampering, such as:
  • holograms
  • micro printing
  • watermarks.

How to Get a Copy of the Naturalization Certificate

If you need a copy of your naturalization certificate, you can request a certified true copy from USCIS.

You’ll need to submit Form G-1041, provide proof of identity and relationship (if not yourself), and pay a $65 fee.

Processing times can vary from 4 to 12 months.

What’s the Difference Between a Citizenship Certificate and a Naturalization Certificate?

There are two certificates that serve as proof of U.S. citizenship: the citizenship certificate and the naturalization certificate.

The citizenship certificate is issued to those who acquired U.S. citizenship either at birth or through other means such as adoption.

The naturalization certificate is issued to those who became U.S. citizens through the process of naturalization.

The citizenship certificate has Form N-600 or Form N-600K, while the Certificate of Citizenship has Form N-550 or Form N-570.

Additionally, the citizenship certificate has a C-file number while the Certificate of Citizenship has an A-file number.

Conclusion

A Certificate of Citizenship is a document proving that an individual became a U.S. citizen through naturalization.

This certificate is essential for various activities such as applying for a passport, voting in elections, or getting certain benefits.

To obtain it, one must file Form N-400, attend an interview and test, and take the oath of allegiance.

If lost or damaged, a replacement certificate can be obtained by filing Form N-565.

Requesting a copy of the certificate can be done by filing Form G-1041.

Remember, a Certificate of Citizenship is different from a citizenship certificate.

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