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USCIS Citizenship Outreach Partnerships

Since local communities play a critical role in welcoming and assisting immigrants, USCIS relies on state and local partnerships to help educate immigrants about naturalization and lawful immigration. Through these partnerships, we provide information and resources to help facilitate outreach and engagement, training and technical assistance, and citizenship education to communities.

Current partners:

City of Chicago, IL

The City of Chicago is collaborating with USCIS to distribute at city facilities information on the naturalization process and how to avoid scams, provide USCIS educational materials and training on the naturalization process to librarians in the Chicago Public Library system, and hold naturalization ceremonies at prominent venues in the City of Chicago.

City of Los Angeles, CA

The City of Los Angeles is collaborating with USCIS to distribute educational materials highlighting U.S. citizenship and the naturalization process at city facilities, hold information sessions for permanent residents interested in learning about U.S. citizenship, and provide USCIS educational materials and training on the naturalization process to librarians in the Los Angeles Public Library system.

Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, TN

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (Metro Government) is collaborating with USCIS to implement outreach efforts to raise awareness about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and the naturalization process. Under the initiative, USCIS and the Metro Government are distributing USCIS educational materials at Nashville Public Library branches and community centers, providing training on the naturalization process to Metro Government and library staff members, and utilizing the Metro Government and public library websites to provide citizenship information and links to USCIS resources.

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Because libraries are a vital resource for immigrant communities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is collaborating with USCIS to provide information, educational materials, and training resources on immigration and citizenship to local libraries. Through this partnership, USCIS and IMLS seek to ensure that librarians have the necessary tools to refer their customers to accurate and reliable sources of information on immigration-related topics.

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Proof of U.S. Citizenship and Identification When Applying for a Job

Your U.S. passport is your best proof of U.S. citizenship. Other official documents can be used, as described below.

 

Are you a citizen born in the United States?

Your birth certificate provides proof of citizenship. If you need a copy of your birth certificate, contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the State in which you were born. We do not issue any kind of citizenship document to a person who is a citizen by birth in the United States.

Are you a citizen born outside of the United States?

The citizenship of someone born outside of the United States, as the child of a U.S. citizen parent, could vary depending on the law in effect when the birth took place.  In most cases citizens born outside the U.S. requires a combination of evidence showing at least one parent being a U.S. citizen when the child was born and having lived in the United States or its possessions for a period of time. 

To apply for recognition of citizenship, you have options: 

  • Your Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or FS-240, provides proof of citizenship if your birth was registered at the nearest U.S. consulate when you were born. For more information you can link to the U.S. Department of State Web site from the “Related Links” section in the upper right corner of this page.
  • If you are already in the United States, apply for a Certificate of Citizenship. Use Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, also available from the “Related Links” section in the upper right corner of this page. 

Are you a naturalized citizen or derivative citizen?

You can use your original Naturalization Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship as proof of citizenship.  If you have lost either of your certificates, you can apply for a replacement using Form N-565. The instructions to N-565 explain how to file and the process in greater detail. You can access both the form and instructions from the “Related Links” section in the upper right corner of this page. If you do not have Web access at home or work, check with your public library, or you can order a form by telephone by calling the USCIS forms request line at 1-800-870-3676.

Identification when applying for a job

Every employer in the United States must verify that each newly hired employee can be legally employed in the United States.  A U.S. citizen may show a variety of evidence to meet this requirement:

  • U.S. passport;
  • U.S. birth certificate along with a government-issued photo identification document.
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U.S. Passports

Where can I get a U.S. passport?

USCIS does not issue passports. For more on obtaining a U.S. passport, visit the Department of State’s Passport webpage or call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778, TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793.

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U.S. Citizens Travelling Internationally

U.S. Citizens and International Travel   

If you are a U.S. citizen traveling internationally, you will need to carry your valid U.S. passport.
If you are traveling to or from a country where a U.S. passport is not required, you’ll usually need two documents:

  • A document to prove your identity, such as a valid U.S. driver’s license, military ID, or a valid government-issued photo ID; and
  • A document to prove your citizenship, such as a notarized copy of your birth certificate issued by a U.S. State.

If you were not born in the United States, carrying your valid U.S. passport is your best option to prove your U.S. citizenship. You can also use your original naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship.
Note: Hospital-issued birth certificates, voter registration cards, and affidavits cannot be used as identification.

What is required to re-enter the United States?

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.

New Passport Requirements:
As part of U.S. Department of State's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, all travelers are required to present a valid passport or other acceptable document(s) to enter or re-enter the United States (visitors and U.S. residents) from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
See link to the U.S. Department of State for a List of New Requirements for Travelers in the upper right corner of this page under “Related Links.”
Note: This does not affect travel between the United States and its territories. U.S. citizens traveling between the United States and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa will continue to be able to use established forms of identification.

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The Naturalization Test

To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you must pass the naturalization test. At your naturalization interview, you will be required to answer questions about your application and background. You will also take an English and civics test unless you qualify for an exemption or waiver.

For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual English and Civics Testing Guidance.   

Study Materials

USCIS offers a variety of study materials, including:

These and other citizenship resources for immigrants, educators, and organizations are available on the Citizenship Resource Center website.

Exceptions from English & Civics Requirements

For information on exceptions or modifications to the English and civics requirements for naturalization, visit our Exceptions & Accommodations page.

If You Don’t Pass

You will be given two opportunities to take the English and civics tests and to answer all questions relating to your naturalization application in English. If you fail any of the tests at your initial interview, you will be retested on the portion of the test that you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial interview. See 8 CFR 312.5(a) and 335.3(b)

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Naturalization Ceremonies

If USCIS approves your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, we will schedule you to take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. Taking the oath will complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

Types of Ceremonies:

  • In a judicial ceremony, the court administers the Oath of Allegiance.
  • In an administrative ceremony, USCIS administers the Oath of Allegiance.

Here is what to expect at your naturalization ceremony:

1.  Receive a Notice to Take the Oath of Allegiance

You may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a ceremony is unavailable, we will mail you a notice with the date, time, and location of your scheduled naturalization ceremony on a Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony.

If you cannot attend your scheduled naturalization ceremony, return the notice, Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony, to your local USCIS office, along with a letter requesting a new date and explaining why you cannot attend the scheduled naturalization ceremony. Failing to appear more than once for your naturalization ceremony may lead to a denial of your application.

2.  Check in at the Ceremony

After you arrive at the ceremony, check in with USCIS. A USCIS officer will review your responses to the questionnaire, Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Please complete your responses to the questionnaire before you arrive.

3.  Return your Permanent Resident Card

You must return your Permanent Resident Card to USCIS when you check in for your naturalization ceremony. This requirement is waived if you provided proof during the naturalization interview that the card has been lost and you have attempted to recover it, or if, because of your military service, you were never granted permanent residence. You will no longer need your Permanent Resident Card because you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after you take the Oath of Allegiance.

4.  Take the Oath of Allegiance

You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. You will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after taking the Oath of Allegiance.

5.  Receive Certificate of Naturalization

Carefully review your Certificate of Naturalization and notify USCIS of any errors before leaving the ceremony. You may use your Certificate of Naturalization as official proof that you are a U.S. citizen.

If you lose your Certificate of Naturalization, you may request a replacement by filing Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document. You may request Form N-565 by calling the USCIS Forms Line (1-800-870-3676) or by downloading the form. The fee to file this form is $345.

Once you become a U.S. citizen, you can do the following:

Apply for a U.S. Passport/Passport Card

We strongly recommend that you apply for a U.S. passport through the U.S. Department of State soon after you take the Oath of Allegiance. Please allow sufficient time between your naturalization ceremony and any planned travel to receive your passport.

  • In addition to your Certificate of Naturalization, a U.S. passport serves as official proof of citizenship.
  • You will get an application for a U.S. passport at your naturalization ceremony in the U.S. Citizenship Welcome Packet. It is also available at most U.S. Post Offices or via the web at http://travel.state.gov

Register to Vote

Voting in federal elections is both a right and a responsibility that comes with U.S. citizenship. After you take the Oath of Allegiance at an administrative ceremony, you will have the opportunity to register to vote. At administrative naturalization ceremonies, forms may be distributed by a state or local government election office, a non-governmental organization, or a USCIS official. If a non-governmental organization assists you in registering to vote at a USCIS naturalization ceremony, that organization may collect and submit your form to the appropriate Election Official, but it is not permitted to retain any of your personal information. Please notify your local USCIS office if you believe that an organization has retained and used your personal information after assisting you with a voter registration application at a USCIS naturalization ceremony.   

You may register to vote at other locations in your community, which may include post offices, motor vehicle offices, county boards of election, and offices of your state Secretary of State.  For more information, please see “A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections."

Update your Social Security Record

After your naturalization ceremony, you should update your Social Security record at a local office of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Please wait at least ten days after your ceremony before going to the SSA to ensure that data reflecting your naturalization has been updated. You will need your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport when you visit the SSA to update your record. To find your local Social Security office, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

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Citizenship Through Naturalization

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 

For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance.

How to Apply for Naturalization

To apply for naturalization, file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

For more information, see our How Do I Apply for Citizenship? guide. We also provide educational materials to help you prepare for the English, U.S. history and civics portions of the naturalization test, including:

For more test information visit our Naturalization Test page.

If you are in the military and are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, please see the M-599, Naturalization Information for Military guide.

You May Qualify for Naturalization if:

  • You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements, please visit our Path to Citizenship page for more information. 
  • You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen, please visit our Naturalization for Spouses of U.S. Citizens page for more information.
  • You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements. Visit the Military section of our website.
  • Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met. Visit our Citizenship Through Parents page for more information.

You may qualify through other paths to naturalization if you do not qualify through the paths described in the links to the left. See also the USCIS Policy Manual Citizenship and Naturalization Guidance and our A Guide to Naturalization guide. Chapter 4 of the guide discusses who is eligible for naturalization.

Note: You may already be a U.S. citizen and not need to apply for naturalization if your biological or adoptive parent(s) became a U.S. citizen before you reached the age of 18. For more information, visit our Citizenship Through Parents page.

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Citizenship Through Parents

There are two general ways to obtain citizenship through parents, one at birth and one after birth but before the age of 18. For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual guidance on Children of U.S. Citizens.

Citizenship at Birth for Children Born Outside the U.S. and its Territories

A Child Born Outside the U.S. is a Citizen at Birth IF...AND...
Both parents were U.S. citizens at the time of birth,

The parents were married at the time of birth and at least one parent lived in the U.S. or its territories prior to the birth.

If the child was born out of wedlock, see N-600: FAQ.

One parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth and the birthdate is on or after November 14, 1986

The parents are married at the time of birth and the U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the U.S. or its territories for a period of at least five years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, of which at least two years were after his or her 14th birthday. 

If the U.S. citizen parent spent time abroad in any of the following three capacities, this can also be counted towards the physical presence requirement:

  • Serving honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces;
  • Employed with the U.S. Government; or
  • Employed with certain international organizations. 

Additionally, time spent abroad by the U.S. citizen parent while the U.S. citizen parent was the unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person who meets any of the three conditions listed above can also be counted.

If the child was born out of wedlock, see N-600: FAQ.

One parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of birth and the birthdate is before November 14, 1986 but after October 10, 1952

The parents are married at the time of birth and the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. or its territories for a period of at least ten years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, at least five of which were after his or her 14th birthday.

If the U.S. citizen parent spent time abroad in any of the following three capacities, this can also be counted towards the physical presence requirement:

  • Serving honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces;
  • Employed with the U.S. Government; or
  • Employed with certain international organizations. 

Additionally, time spent abroad by the U.S. citizen parent while the U.S. citizen parent was the unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person who meets any of the three conditions listed above can also be counted.

If the child was born out of wedlock, see N-600: FAQ.

 

Automatic U.S. Citizenship After Birth - But Before the Age of 18

A Child Born Outside the U.S. is a Citizen after Birth IF…AND...
The child was under 18 or not yet born on February 27, 2001At least one parent is a U.S. citizen, the child is currently under 18 and residing in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to lawful admission for permanent residence.
The child was under 18 from December 24, 1952 to February 26, 2001

The child was residing as a Green Card holder in the U.S. and both parents naturalized before the child’s 18th birthday; OR

  • If one parent died, that the surviving parent naturalized before the child turned 18.
  • If the parents legally separated, that the parent maintaining legal and physical custody naturalized before the child turned 18.
  • If the child was born out of wedlock and paternity has not been established by legitimation, the mother naturalized before the child turned 18.

NOTE:  The order in which the child meets the conditions does not matter so long as the child meets all the conditions before his or her 18th birthday.

The child was adopted by a U.S. citizen parent

The child resides legally in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent and meets the following conditions after February 27, 2001 but before his or her 18th birthday:

  • The adoptive parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or, in some cases, 18th birthday) and had legal custody of the child and resided with the child for at least two years; OR
  • The child was admitted to the United States as an orphan (IR-3) or Convention adoptee (IH-3) whose adoption by his or her U.S. citizen parent(s) was fully completed abroad; OR
The child was admitted to the United States as an orphan (IR-4) or Convention adoptee (IH-4) who was coming to the United States to be adopted and the child's adoptive parent(s) completed the adoption before his or her 18th birthday.

 

To apply for a Certificate of Citizenship, please see our Form N-600 page and read the instructions carefully to ensure that you qualify.

For more information, see our webpage N-600: Frequently Asked Questions.

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