Featured Stories from the USCIS History Office and Library

Read the stories of people and programs that make up federal immigration history, learn about the most interesting items in our library collection, or get tips on researching in agency records.

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The Certificate of Naturalization is perhaps the most important of the three naturalization records usually found in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) historic Certificate Files (“C-Files”) because Certificates of Naturalization help protect naturalized persons’ rights as U.S. citizens and the U.S. government from false claims to American citizenship.  This study surveys the development of Certificates of Naturalization during the first half of the 20th Century.
Among the most important of USCIS’s missions is promoting citizenship instruction and fostering civic integration. Today the agency accomplishes this mission through a variety of print, multimedia, and digital resources, such as the online Citizenship Resource Center. USCIS’s current efforts follow a long history of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) citizenship awareness campaigns.
Reasons That Some C-Files Do Not Include a Declaration of Intention USCIS Genealogy records requesters sometimes discover the  Certificate File ("C-File") they received does not contain a Declaration of Intention record.  The Declarations are not missing.  Rather, these C-Files usually document “one-paper” naturalizations (so called because only a Petition for Naturalization was filed).
The declaration of intention is an American invention and unique aspect of our nation's naturalization history.
Research into U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency history is complicated by the many name changes it experienced over time. 
What is the difference between a search requested from the National Archives (ordering reproductions, Immigration & Naturalization Records) and requesting information from USCIS? Does the content from these two sources overlap? Thank you for your help in understanding the difference between what is available from each agency for Naturalization records.
The vast collection of historical Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) subject, policy and correspondence files now stored as Entry 9 of Record Group 85 at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C. includes thousands of files related to all aspects of immigration policy during the years 1906-1956.
The Name Index to Bureau of Naturalization Correspondence includes images of over 140,000 index cards on 19 rolls of microfilm. The cards index correspondence related to questions of nationality or citizenship sent to or received by the Naturalization Service during the years 1906-1944.
After the United States entered World War II Congress acted to provide for the expedited naturalization of noncitizens serving honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“New Year in America,” painting by Lois Johnson shows children in Hmong costumes.