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Chapter 2 - Certificate of Citizenship

A. Eligibility for Certificate of Citizenship

In order to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship, an applicant submits to USCIS:

  • An Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600), if the applicant automatically acquired or derived citizenship at birth or after birth; [1] or

  • An Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 (Form N-600K) for a child of a United States citizen residing outside of the United States.

The application must be submitted in accordance with the form instructions and with the appropriate fee. [2] In addition, applications must include any supporting evidence. An Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 may only be filed if the child is under 18 years of age. An Application for Certificate of Citizenship may be filed either before or after the child turns 18 years of age.

If the person claiming citizenship is 18 years of age or older, the person must establish that he or she has met the eligibility requirements for U.S. citizenship and issuance of the certificate. If the application is for a child under 18 years of age, the person applying on behalf of the child must establish that the child has met the pertinent eligibility requirements. [3] 

B. Contents of Certificate of Citizenship

1. Information about the Applicant

The Certificate of Citizenship contains information identifying the person and confirming his or her U.S. citizenship. Specifically, the Certificate of Citizenship contains:

  • USCIS registration number (A-number);

  • Complete name;

  • Marital status;

  • Place of residence;

  • Country of birth; [4] 

  • Photograph;

  • Signature of applicant; and

  • Other descriptors: sex, date of birth, and height.

2. Additional Information on Certificates of Citizenship

  • Certificate number;

  • Statement by the USCIS Director indicating that the applicant has complied with all the eligibility requirements for citizenship under the laws of the United States;

  • Date on which the person became a U.S. citizen;

  • Date of issuance; and

  • DHS seal and Director’s signature as the authority under which the certificate is issued.

3. Changes to Names or Dates of Birth per Court Order

Change to Date of Birth on Certificate of Citizenship

USCIS recognizes that the dates of birth of children born abroad are not always accurately recorded in the countries in which they were born. For example, an adopted child whose date of birth (DOB) was unknown may have been assigned an estimated DOB, or the DOB may have been incorrectly recorded or translated from a non-Gregorian calendar. [5] 

In these cases, the incorrect or estimated DOB is reported on the child’s foreign record of birth and becomes part of the USCIS record. Once in the United States, parents may obtain medical evidence indicating that the DOB on the foreign record of birth and the USCIS record is incorrect and they may choose to obtain evidence of a corrected DOB from the state of residence.

USCIS issues a Certificate of Citizenship with the corrected DOB in cases where the applicant (or if the applicant is under age 18, the parent or legal guardian) has obtained a state-issued document from the child’s state of residence with a corrected DOB. [6] A state-issued document includes a:

  • Court order;

  • Birth certificate;

  • Certificate recognizing the foreign birth;

  • Certificate of birth abroad; or

  • Other similar state vital record issued by the child’s state of residence.

In cases where USCIS has already issued the Certificate of Citizenship, the applicant may request a replacement Certificate of Citizenship with a corrected DOB by filing an Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565) with the appropriate fee. [7] 

Change of Legal Name on Certificate of Citizenship

In general, a Certificate of Citizenship includes an applicant’s full legal name [8] as the name appears on the applicant’s foreign record of birth. USCIS will issue a Certificate of Citizenship with a name other than that on the applicant’s foreign record of birth in cases where the applicant, or if the applicant is under age 18, the parent or legal guardian, has obtained a U.S. state court order evidencing a legal name change. [9] 

If USCIS has already issued the Certificate of Citizenship, the applicant may request a replacement Certificate of Citizenship by filing an Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565) with the appropriate fee. [10] 

USCIS does not assist with the processing of name change petitions through the courts for applicants filing an Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600). An applicant, parent, or legal guardian must file a name change petition with the court having jurisdiction over the matter. 

C. Issuance of Certificate of Citizenship

In general, USCIS issues a Certificate of Citizenship after an officer approves the person’s application and the person has taken the Oath of Allegiance, if applicable, before a designated USCIS officer. USCIS will not issue a Certificate of Citizenship to a person who has not surrendered his or her Permanent Resident Card (PRC) or Alien Registration Card (ARC) evidencing the person’s lawful permanent residence. If the person established that his or her card was lost or destroyed, USCIS may waive the requirement of surrendering the card. [11] 

If USCIS waives the oath requirement for a person, USCIS issues the certificate after approval of his or her application for the certificate. In such cases, USCIS issues the certificate in person or by certified mail to the parent or guardian in cases involving children under 18 years of age, or to the person (or guardian if applicable) in cases involving persons 18 years of age or older. [12] 

Footnotes


1. [^] This volume uses the terms “acquired” or “derived” citizenship in cases where citizenship automatically attaches to a person regardless of any affirmative action by that person to document his or her citizenship. See Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens [12 USCIS-PM H].

2. [^] See 8 CFR 103.7.

3. [^] See Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens [12 USCIS-PM H].

4. [^] An applicant who was born in Taiwan may indicate Taiwan as the country of birth on their Form N-400 if he or she shows supporting evidence. Such applicants’ Certificates of Citizenship are issued showing Taiwan as country of birth. USCIS does not issue certificates showing “Taiwan, PRC,” “Taiwan, China,” “Taiwan, Republic of China,” or “Taiwan, ROC.” People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the country name used for applicants born in the PRC.

5. [^] Most western countries follow the Gregorian calendar. Other countries follow different calendars including the Hebrew (lunisolar calendar); Islamic (lunar calendar); and Julian (solar calendar). The calendars differ on days, months, and years.

6. [^] See INA 320(d) (relating to cases where persons automatically acquire citizenship under INA 320 based on an adoption or re-adoption in the United States). The Accuracy for Adoptees Act, Pub. L. 113-74 (PDF) (January 16, 2014), added Subsection (d) to INA 320. Cases where the requested DOB would result in the applicant being ineligible for citizenship because the applicant would have aged out should be raised through appropriate channels for consultation with the Office of Chief Counsel (OCC). Additionally, any cases involving particular concerns based on the corrected DOB should also be raised through appropriate channels for consultation with OCC.

7. [^] See Chapter 4, Replacement of Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM K.4].

8. [^] A full legal name includes the person’s first name, middle name(s) (if any), and family name (or surname) without any initials or nicknames. See 6 CFR 37.3; Real ID Act of 2005, Pub. L. 109-1349 U.S.C. 30301.

9. [^] See 8 CFR 320.3(b)(1)(ix) and 8 CFR 322.3(b)(1)(xiii)

10. [^] See Chapter 4, Replacement of Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM K.4].

11. [^] See 8 CFR 341.4. The requirement to surrender the PRC or ARC does not apply to applicants naturalizing under INA 322

12. [^] See 8 CFR 341.5. See Part J, Oath of Allegiance, Chapter 3, Oath of Allegiance Modifications and Waivers [12 USCIS-PM J.3].

Resources

Legal Authorities

INA 310(b)(4) - Naturalization authority and issuance of certificates

INA 310, 8 CFR 310 - Naturalization authority

INA 332(e), 8 CFR 332 - Issuance of certificates of citizenship and naturalization

INA 332, 8 CFR 332 - Naturalization administration, executive functions

INA 341, 8 CFR 341 - Certificates of citizenship

Appendices

History of Acquiring Citizenship under INA 320 for Children of U.S. Citizens who are Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Government Employees, or their Spouses

Appendix: History of Acquiring Citizenship under INA 320 for Children of U.S. Citizens who are Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Government Employees, or their Spouses

Before October 29, 2019, USCIS considered children of members of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employees, who were stationed outside of the United States, to meet the requirement of “is residing in” the United States for the purpose of acquiring citizenship under INA 320.[1] This interpretation was consistent with the definition of “residence” for purposes of naturalization under INA 316.[2] Based on this treatment of U.S. government employees and their children in the context of naturalization under INA 316, USCIS determined that “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquisition of citizenship under INA 320 should likewise be interpreted to include children of U.S. military and government employees stationed outside of the United States who were residing with their parents.[3]

This interpretation, however, was inconsistent with other provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), including the definition of “residence” at INA 101(a)(33) and language in INA 322(a) and INA 322(d), which suggested that the citizenship of military children residing outside of the United States should be considered under that provision rather than under INA 320. Effective October 29, 2019, USCIS amended its policy guidance to address these concerns, and determined that children of members of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employees stationed outside of the United States would not be eligible for citizenship acquisition under INA 320.[4]

On March 26, 2020, the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act was enacted,[5] amending INA 320, so that a child residing with his or her U.S. citizen parent, who is stationed outside of the United States as a member of the U.S. armed forces or a U.S. government employee, or is residing in marital union with a member of the U.S. armed forces or a U.S. government employee who is stationed outside of the United States, acquires citizenship under INA 320 if all requirements of INA 320(c) and INA 320(a)(1)-(2) are met. In line with the statute, USCIS rescinds its previous guidance, clarifying that these children are eligible to acquire citizenship under INA 320 if all other requirements under INA 320 are met.

The amendment to INA 320 applies to children who were under the age of 18 on March 26, 2020.

Footnotes


1. [^] Even though the child of a member of the U.S. armed forces or U.S. government employee stationed outside of the United States may be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship under INA 322 since he or she resides outside of the United States, USCIS interpreted the child to meet residency requirements under INA 320 as well, which formerly required the child to be residing in the United States with his or her parent to acquire citizenship.

2. [^] For example, U.S. government employees, including members of the U.S. armed forces, are eligible to apply for an exception to the continuous residence requirement for naturalization under INA 316 as long as their residency outside of the United States was on behalf of the U.S. government. See INA 316(b). See INA 316(a). See Part D, General Naturalization Requirements, Chapter 3, Continuous Residence [12 USCIS-PM D.3].

3. [^] See Policy Manual Technical Update, Child Citizenship Act and Children of U.S. Government Employees Residing Abroad (July 20, 2015); and Acquisition of Citizenship by Children of U.S. Military and Government Employees Stationed Abroad under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), No. 103, issued May 6, 2004.

4. [^] See USCIS Policy Alert, Defining “Residence” in Statutory Provisions Related to Citizenship [PA-2019-05] (PDF, 308.45 KB). This Policy Alert has been superseded by Policy Manual updates to reflect changes made under Pub. L. 116-133 (PDF).

5. [^] See Pub. L. 116-133 (PDF) (March 26, 2020).

Updates

Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].

Technical Update - Child Citizenship Act and Children of U.S. Government Employees Residing Abroad

This technical update clarifies that the child of a U.S. government employee temporarily stationed abroad is considered to be residing in the United States for purposes of acquisition of citizenship under INA 320.

POLICY ALERT - Changes to Dates of Birth and Names on Certificates of Citizenship

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance relating to changes of dates of birth and names per court orders.

Read More
POLICY ALERT - Comprehensive Citizenship and Naturalization Policy Guidance

USCIS is issuing updated and comprehensive citizenship and naturalization policy guidance in the new USCIS Policy Manual.

Read More