certificate of naturalization

What Is a Certificate of Naturalization?

Obtaining United States citizenship is a huge step for many immigrants and their families. For many, this occurs through the process of naturalization. To begin this process, applicants must first fill out and submit a certificate of naturalization. That’s where our attorneys come in. We have helped countless individuals submit applications and succeed in becoming naturalized citizens.

If you need a Phoenix citizenship attorney, Ybarra Maldonado Law Group has you covered. To schedule a free consultation about your case, please call our office at 602-910-4040 today or fill out our online intake form.

What Is Naturalization?

Naturalization is the legal process through which a foreign citizen or national becomes a citizen of a different country. The specific procedures and requirements for naturalization can vary from country to country, but there are specific steps one must take during the United States naturalization process. These steps include the following.

  • Eligibility determination: Prospective applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria before they can start the naturalization process.
  • Application submission: Applicants typically need to complete an application form provided by USCIS.
  • Background checks and interviews: Authorities conduct background checks to verify the applicant’s identity, criminal history, and compliance with immigration laws.
  • Civics and language test: Applicants are called for an interview with a USCIS officer. During the interview, they are tested on their knowledge of English and civics.
  • Residency and physical presence requirements: Applicants must meet residency and physical presence requirements.
  • Oath of allegiance: Applicants attend a ceremony to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Upon taking the oath, they receive a Certificate of Naturalization, officially becoming U.S. citizens.

What Is a Naturalized Citizen?

A naturalized citizen is an individual who was born abroad and has gone through the legal process of becoming a citizen of a different nation through naturalization. Once the naturalization process is successfully completed and approved by the relevant immigration authorities, the individual becomes a naturalized citizen of that country. They receive a Certificate of Naturalization or a similar document confirming their new citizenship status.

Naturalized citizens generally enjoy most of the same rights and privileges as citizens who were born in that country, including the right to vote, hold public office, access government benefits, and travel using that country’s passport.

What Is a Certificate of Naturalization?

A Certificate of Naturalization is an official document issued by USCIS, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, to an individual who has successfully completed the process of naturalization and has been granted citizenship through that process. This document serves as proof of the individual’s new citizenship status.

Certificates of naturalization generally include important information about the individual, including the following.

  • USCIS registration number
  • Full legal name
  • Country of birth
  • Date of birth
  • Date they were granted US citizenship
  • Naturalization number
  • Official government seals

Certificate of Naturalization vs Certificate of Citizenship

A Certificate of Naturalization is a document issued to individuals who were not born as citizens of the country but have successfully completed the naturalization process. Once the requirements are met, and the application is approved, the individual is granted citizenship through naturalization and receives a Certificate of Naturalization as proof of their new citizenship status.

On the other hand, a Certificate of Citizenship is issued to individuals who have acquired citizenship by birth or derived citizenship through their parents but require official documentation to prove their citizenship status.

This document is often given to individuals who were born abroad to at least one U.S. citizen parent, those who become citizens automatically at birth due to specific circumstances (like birth in U.S. territories), or those whose US citizen parents have adopted and subsequently obtained citizenship.

The Certificate of Citizenship serves as evidence of their citizenship status and is used to assert their rights as citizens, especially when dealing with various administrative or legal matters.

Why Do I Need a Certificate of Naturalization?

naturalization certificate

Having a naturalization certificate number is essential for many immigration, administrative, and legal processes in the United States. Common examples of situations where someone may need a naturalization certificate include the following.

  • Needing to show proof of US citizenship
  • Showing identification for documents
  • Legal and administrative matters
  • Voting and civic engagement
  • Travel and re-entry into the United States
  • Applying for government benefits, like Social Security or Medicare

Having a Certificate of Naturalization is crucial as it serves as official documentation of your U.S. citizenship, allowing you to access various rights, benefits, and opportunities available to citizens and facilitating your engagement in legal, administrative, and civic matters within the United States.

How Do I Apply for a Certificate of Naturalization?

To apply for a certificate of naturalization, you must take the following steps.

  • Determine eligibility: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for obtaining a Certificate of Naturalization.
  • Prepare Form N-600: Complete Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. This form is used to request a Certificate of Citizenship for individuals who acquired or derived citizenship through various means.
  • Gather documents: Collect the necessary supporting documents, which might include but are not limited to the following.
    • Evidence of lawful permanent residency
    • Citizenship evidence, such as a birth certificate or adoption decree
    • Identification documents
  • Pay the filing fee: Submit the required filing fee along with your application.
  • Submit the application: Mail your completed Form N-600, supporting documents, and the filing fee to the appropriate address provided in the instructions on the USCIS website.
  • Biometrics appointment: After submitting your application, USCIS may schedule you for a biometrics appointment where they will collect your fingerprints, photograph, and signature for background checks. This will happen at a local USCIS office.
  • Interviews: Depending on the circumstances and documentation provided, USCIS may require an interview to clarify information or verify eligibility.

How Much Does a Certificate of Naturalization Cost?

The filing fee for the application is $1,170. This fee applies to those applying as an adopted child or as a child of a US veteran or armed forces member. Applicants can pay this fee through a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card. Those wishing to pay with a credit card must file Form G-1450 with their Form N-600.

Do Certificates of Naturalization Expire?

No. Certificates of naturalization do not expire as green cards do. Once granted through the naturalization process, one’s citizenship is permanent. Unless someone loses or damages their certificate of naturalization, they are not required to renew it.

How to Apply for a Replacement Certificate of Naturalization

Sometimes, certificates get lost or damaged. When this happens, naturalized citizens can apply for a replacement naturalization certificate through USCIS. The application process for a replacement certificate is simpler than for a new certificate. However, it is still very important to follow USCIS instructions carefully.

Below, we outline the general steps of the replacement process.

  • File Form N-565: Follow the instructions to fill out the form as completely and accurately as possible. You will need to list your personal information, the reason for your replacement, and supporting evidence. For example, if your certificate was stolen, you could include a police report. The form can be filed online or by mail.
  • Gather supporting documents: You must include evidence of your identity, like a driver’s license, and citizenship evidence. You can provide a copy of your lost naturalization certificate as evidence.
  • Pay your filing fee: You must pay the filing fee of $555 when you file Form N-565 with USCIS.
  • Submit Form N-565 and your documents: If you are filing online, follow the online filing instructions. If you are filing by mail, be sure to mail all of your documents together to the USCIS Lockbox facility listed on the form.

Can I Use a Certificate of Naturalization as a Passport for Travel?

certificate of naturalization or citizenship

No. A certificate of naturalization cannot be used as a passport for travel outside the United States. Although it is a very important document, it does not give one the ability to travel abroad. One must still acquire a passport if they wish to leave the country for travel.

Can I Get a Copy of My Naturalization Certificate Online from Citizenship and Immigration Services?

To ensure that you always have your naturalization certificate on hand, you can make copies of the original document. The only way to get another official copy is to request a replacement by filing Form N-565. If you need multiple copies of the original certificate for your records, you can simply scan them and make copies at home.

Contact a Phoenix Naturalization Attorney at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group

If you wish to apply for a certificate of naturalization, we strongly recommend speaking with a Phoenix immigration attorney. The team at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group has extensive experience helping immigrants and their families navigate the complex waters of immigration law in the United States. We will help you fill out and submit your applications to give your case the best possible chance at a successful outcome. To schedule a consultation with us about your situation, please call our office at 602-910-4040 today.

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