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N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship Frequently Asked Questions

What is Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship?

Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, is filed to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship which serves as evidence of your or your child’s U.S. citizenship.  You may file Form N-600 if you were born abroad and are claiming U.S. citizenship at birth through your parents.  You may also file Form N-600 to obtain evidence of citizenship if you automatically became a U.S. citizen by operation of law after your birth but before you turned 18 years of age.  A parent or guardian may also file Form N-600 on behalf of a minor child. 

Please note that USCIS does not issue Certificates of Citizenship in cases where the person became a U.S. citizen based on birth in the United States.  USCIS only issues Certificates of Citizenship to those individuals who were born abroad but are U.S. citizens at birth through their parents, or who became citizens after birth but before the age of 18.

For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual guidance on Children of U.S. Citizens.

General Questions

My U.S. citizen parent(s) is deceased.  Does this affect my ability to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship?

No.  Your parent’s death does not affect your ability to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship if you automatically acquired citizenship, either at birth or after birth, before your parent’s death.  However, if you did not automatically acquire citizenship before your parent’s death, your parent’s death may affect your ability to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship unless you meet the requirements of section 322 of the Immigration Nationality Act (INA).  Please note that section 322 of the INA does not provide for automatic citizenship, but it does allow for naturalization before the age of 18 and allows you to rely on your grandparent’s physical presence instead of your parent’s physical presence. 

I am claiming citizenship through my mother.  My parents were not married at the time of my birth.  Does this affect whether I automatically acquired citizenship?

It may.  You acquired U.S. citizenship at the time of your birth if you were born out of wedlock after December 23, 1952 and your U.S. citizen mother was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for at least one year prior to your birth.  The requirements before December 23, 1952 varied to some extent.  If you have specific questions before that time period, please contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

If you are claiming U.S. citizenship after birth, your birth out of wedlock may affect your ability to acquire citizenship through your mother depending on when you turned 18 years of age.

  • If you were over 18 years of age on February 27, 2001, and you were born out of wedlock, you generally could only acquire citizenship after birth through your mother if your paternity had not been established by legitimation.
  • If you were under 18 years of age on February 27, 2001, or were born after that date, you can acquire U.S. citizenship through your U.S. citizen mother regardless of whether you were born out of wedlock if, before you turn 18, your mother is a citizen and you are residing in the U.S. based on a lawful admission for permanent residence in the legal and physical custody of your U.S. citizen mother.

I am claiming U.S. citizenship through my father.  My parents were not married at the time of my birth.  Does this affect whether I automatically acquired citizenship? 

It may.  If you were born out of wedlock, are claiming that you acquired U.S. citizenship at the time of your birth, and you were born after November 14, 1986, you must demonstrate:

  • That your father was physically present in the United States for 5 years, at least 2 of which were after 14 years of age;
  • A blood relationship with your father by clear and convincing evidence;
  • That your father was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth;
  • That your father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for you until you reach 18 years of age; and
  • While you are under 18 years of age
    • You are legitimated under the law of your residence or domicile;
    • Your father acknowledges paternity of you in writing under oath; or
    • Your paternity is established by a court.

If you were born out of wedlock, are claiming that you acquired U.S. citizenship at the time of your birth, and you were born between January 13, 1941 and November 14, 1986, you must establish that your paternity was established by legitimation while you were under the age of 21.

NOTE:  If you were at least 15 years of age but under 18 years of age on November 14, 1986, you could choose to have either of the requirements above apply to you.

If you are claiming that you acquired U.S. citizenship after birth through your father and you were born out of wedlock after February 27, 2001, or you were under the age of 18 on that date, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship after birth.  You must establish that you were legitimated, or are considered legitimate, that you were residing in the legal and physical custody of your father in the U.S. while you were under the age of 18, and that you were admitted as a lawful permanent resident.

My parents are divorced.  Does this affect my ability to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship?

Your parents’ divorce does not affect your ability to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship if you automatically acquired citizenship before your parents’ divorce.  If, however, your parents’ divorce occurred before you acquired U.S. citizenship, and you are claiming U.S. citizenship after birth, you will generally need to demonstrate that before 18 years of age you resided in the legal and physical custody of your U.S. citizen parent after a lawful admission for permanent residence.  If the parent who is a U.S. citizen is not the parent who has legal and physical custody of you, you may not be able to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship. 

I do not currently reside in the United States.  Am I still eligible for a Certificate of Citizenship?

Persons who acquired U.S. citizenship and reside abroad should seek evidence of citizenship through a passport application to the Department of State.  In most cases, one must be living in the United States to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship. 

Generally, you cannot automatically acquire citizenship after birth through your parent if you have not been lawfully admitted for permanent residence to the U.S.  However, a parent or legal guardian may be able to apply for naturalization for you under section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act if you are under 18 years of age and temporarily present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission, which includes a lawful admission in non-immigrant status.  Please refer to Form N-600K, Applications for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 for more information.

Filing

I already have a U.S. passport issued by the Department of State.  Am I required to file a Form N-600 for a Certificate of Citizenship? 

No.  You are not required to file a Form N-600 for a Certificate of Citizenship.  The Certificate of Citizenship is an optional form.  A validly issued U.S. passport generally serves as evidence of your U.S. citizenship during its period of validity unless that passport has been revoked by the Department of State.  However, you may be required to submit your Certificate of Citizenship when attempting to apply for certain other benefits, including, but not limited to:

  • Social Security benefits
  • State issued ID including a Driver’s License or Learning Permit
  • Financial Aid
  • Employment
  • Passport Renewal

Interview

Will I be interviewed?

Not all applicants for a Certificate of Citizenship are required to appear for an in-person interview.  USCIS will determine, based on the evidence submitted in support of your application, whether you are required to appear in person for an interview.

What am I required to bring at the time of my interview?

All original documents of the copies you submitted when you filed your Form N-600 as well as any additional documents that will establish your eligibility.  Documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.

Is my parent required to accompany me to the interview?

If you are 18 years of age or older, you may appear for your N-600 interview without your U.S. citizen parent.  If you are under 18 years of age, you must appear for the interview with your U.S. citizen parent unless USCIS has waived your parent’s appearance per 8 CFR section 341.2.

USCIS Decision

What happens if USCIS approves my Form N-600?

If USCIS approves your Form N-600, USCIS will issue you a Certificate of Citizenship.  If you are over 14 years of age, you will be scheduled to appear at a USCIS office to take the Oath of Allegiance if the Oath of Allegiance ceremony is not conducted on the same day as the interview.  If you are under the age of 14, you may not be required to take the Oath of Allegiance.

What happens if USCIS denies my Form N-600?

You may file an appeal on Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, within 30 days of the date of the USCIS decision.  If the time for appeal has expired, you may not file another Form N-600.  If you do, it will be rejected.  If your time for appeal has expired, you must file a motion to reopen or reconsider also on Form I-290B.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/06/2014