What Is a Certificate of Naturalization?

Updated on April 4, 2024

At a Glance

  • Certificate of Naturalization is proof of US citizenship obtained through a successful citizenship interview and the Oath of Allegiance.
  • Required for official purposes, establishing citizenship and used for obtaining a US passport.
  • To obtain, individuals must fill out Form N-400, undergo a citizenship test and interview, and take the oath.
  • If lost or needing replacement, Form N-565 is used.

The Certificate of Naturalization is a document that shows that the person holding the certificate has US citizenship. In this article, we cover everything there is to know about the Certificate of Naturalization – the process, documents, and risks involved with getting the certificate.

What is a Certificate of Naturalization?

The Certificate of Naturalization refers to a document that acts as proof of US citizenship. It is given to those who have successfully passed the citizenship interview and taken the Oath of Allegiance

The Certificate of Naturalization is usually required by those who have lived as permanent residents for a significant amount of time and are now planning to base themselves in the United States of America permanently. This document can be presented for any official purposes, wherever the individual needs to prove their citizenship.

How to Get a Certificate of Naturalization

The process for getting the Certificate of Naturalization starts with filling the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization form. This form is available on the US Citizenship and immigration services website and offices. This form is generally given to permanent residents who have lived in America for a significant period and are eligible for US citizenship.

During the application process, individuals are asked to provide proof of permanent residence and proof of good moral character. Once the applicant has submitted the form, they must take the US Citizenship Test, where the officials test the candidate’s knowledge of US history, Civics, and administrative structure. This is followed by an interview and the oath of allegiance.

How to Replace a Certificate of Naturalization

The replacement process begins with Form N- 565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/ Citizenship Document. This form is filed with the USCIS online or physically in their office. There can be many instances when you need to replace your certificate of Naturalization. Here are the following instances where the applicant is granted their request:

  • If the certificate is lost, destroyed, tampered or stolen
  • If the certificate is printed with incorrect information due to administrative errors on the part of USCIS
  • If the applicant has gone through a legal name change
  • If the applicant needs their gender changed.

How Long Does It Take To Replace A Naturalization Certificate?

It takes about 5 to 8 months to replace a Certificate of Naturalization. Keep this time frame in mind when applying for a replacement.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Certificate Of Naturalization?

The cost of filling form N- 565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document, is $555. The processing fees have to be sent along with the application. The application is immediately rejected if the processing fee is not sent.

What Information Is a Certificate of Naturalization?

A Certificate of Naturalization is evidence of an individual being granted US citizenship. This is the most common way for foreign citizens to obtain US citizenship. The certificate contains the following information:

  • The certificate number, which comprises of 6-to-8-digit alphanumeric numbers written in red
  • Date of issue (the day you become a US citizen)
  • Your USCIS registration number
  • Your full name, as registered by the USCIS
  • Marital status
  • Permanent address
  • Country of origin or former nationality
  • Signature of the applicant
  • Biometric markers like a photograph
  • Other descriptive information like date of birth, sex, and height

The document is further signed by the Department of Homeland Security and a seal and signature from the USCIS Director. These signatures indicate that the applicant has met all the requirements laid down by the USCIS for obtaining US naturalization.

What is a Certified True Copy of a Certificate of Naturalization?

A true copy of a Certificate of Naturalization refers to the copy of the certificate that the US State Department has authorized for official purposes. This copy can be submitted to foreign governments, offices, and embassies. The Department of State and the USCIS use the term ‘Authentication” to refer to a certified true copy. If you require a certified true copy from the USCIS, be sure to make the specific request with the department.

Certificate of Naturalization and Passports

If you are planning to apply for a US passport, you can use your certificate of Naturalization as proof of US citizenship. For this, you need to supply the passport officials with a copy of your certificate, authenticated as per the requirements stated in the US passport application (form DS-11).  It is important to note that a naturalization certificate does not stand in for a passport. Both the documents need to be applied for separately.

Can I Get My Passport Without My Naturalization Certificate?

It is essential to have your naturalization certificate if you are a foreign-born citizen of the US. The naturalization certificate acts as proof of citizenship, which is imperative for getting a passport. Therefore, it is best to apply for a replacement certificate before initiating your passport application.

Certificate of Naturalization FAQ

These are some commonly asked questions about the Certificate of Naturalization. If you have a question that goes beyond these queries, we suggest that you check out the USCIS website or visit the USCIS office for further information.

Is A Certificate Of Naturalization The Same As A Birth Certificate?

The Certificate of Naturalization is not the same as a birth certificate. However, it can be used to prove your birth, especially for other official documents like the passport. The naturalization certificate is an accepted document in most government offices.

How Do I Get My Certificate Of Naturalization?

You need to fill Form N-400, Application for Naturalization form, to start the process of getting your certificate of Naturalization.  You need to meet the eligibility criterion to receive the certificate. The certificate is given to the applicant after successfully completing the interview process and taking the Oath of Allegiance.

Is A Certificate Of Naturalization Important?

If you plan on staying in the US permanently, getting your certificate of Naturalization is crucial. It gives you the rights and benefits accorded to US citizens. The certificate acts as proof of permanent residence, date of birth, location, and other essential descriptors- and can be used for multiple purposes.

Can I Enter The US With A Certificate Of Naturalization?

Certificate of Naturalization is proof that the individual is now a US citizen. This means that they can move in and out of the country as a regular US citizen.

Does Certificate Of Naturalization Expire?

No, the certificate of Naturalization does not expire. They are not like permanent resident cards or visas that expire and require renewal.

Is It Illegal To Photocopy A Certificate Of Naturalization?

 It is not illegal to make photocopies of your certificate of Naturalization. However, they need to be made for lawful and recording keeping purposes. Lawful purposes can include petitioning for a family member or providing proof of citizenship for other official purposes.

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Conclusion

Certificate of Naturalization is an essential document for any foreign-born US citizen and their family. It gives them the rights and benefits accorded to other US citizens. Therefore, it is essential to keep this document safe for any official purposes.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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