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Chapter 4 - Replacement of Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization

The table below serves as a quick reference guide for requests to replace certificates of citizenship or naturalization. The sections and paragraphs that follow the table provide further guidance.

Basis for Requests of Replacement Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization | Form N-565

Certificate

Correct USCIS Clerical Error

Date of Birth Correction No clerical error

Legal Name Change

Lost or Mutilated Certificate

Legal Gender Change

Certificate of Citizenship

Permitted; no fee required

Permitted if correction through U.S. state court order or similar state vital record (fee required)

Permitted if name change through court order or operation of law (fee required)

Permitted (fee required)

Certificate of Naturalization

Permitted; no fee required

Not permitted (8 CFR 338.5)

Permitted (fee required)

A. General Requests to Replace Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization

In general, an applicant submits to USCIS an Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565) to request a replacement Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization. The application must be submitted with the appropriate fee and in accordance with the form instructions. [1] 

A person may request a replacement certificate to replace a lost or mutilated certificate. A person may also request a replacement certificate, without fee, in cases where:

  • USCIS issued a certificate that does not conform to the supportable facts shown on the applicant’s citizenship or naturalization application; or

  • USCIS committed a clerical error in preparing the certificate. [2] 

An applicant may submit a request to update his or her name on a Certificate of Naturalization based on a name change ordered by a state court with jurisdiction or due to marriage or divorce. [3] In addition, an applicant who has legally changed his or her gender may apply for a replacement certificate reflecting the new gender. [4] 

Unless there is a USCIS clerical error, regulations prohibit USCIS from making any changes to a date of birth on a Certificate of Naturalization if the applicant has completed the naturalization process and sworn to the facts of the application, including the DOB. [5] 

B. Replacement of Certificate of Citizenship

An applicant may submit an Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565) to request issuance of a replacement Certificate of Citizenship to correct the DOB or name if the applicant has obtained a state-issued document with a corrected DOB or name. Along with his or her application and the appropriate fee, the applicant must submit the court order or other state vital record. [6] 

An applicant may submit an Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document (Form N-565) to request issuance of a replacement Certificate of Naturalization to correct the date of birth (DOB) if the correction is justified due to USCIS error. [7] No filing fee is required when an application is filed based on a USCIS error.

Footnotes


1. [^] See 8 CFR 103.7.

2. [^] See 8 CFR 338.5(a).

3. [^] See INA 343(c).

4. [^] A request to change the gender on a certificate may also affect the marital status already listed on the certificate. See Volume 1, General Policies and Procedures, Part E, Adjudications, Chapter 5, Verification of Identifying Information [1 USCIS-PM E.5]. If the gender change results in the individual now being in a valid same-sex marriage, then the certificate must reflect his or her marital status as “married.”

5. [^] See 8 CFR 338.5(e). The regulation at 8 CFR 338.5(e) specifically provides that USCIS will not deem a request to change a DOB justified if the naturalization certificate contains the DOB provided by the applicant at the time of naturalization. 

6. [^] See Chapter 2, Certificate of Citizenship, Section B, Contents of Certificate of Citizenship, Subsection 3, Changes to Names or Dates of Birth per Court Order [12 USCIS-PM K.2(B)(3)].

7. [^] See 8 CFR 338.5(a)8 CFR 338.5(c), and 8 CFR 338.5(e). For pre-1991 judicial naturalization cases, the regulations provide that USCIS can “authorize” the court to make a change on the certificate if it is the result of clerical error. However, USCIS plays a minimal role in these cases. See 8 CFR 338.5(b) and 8 CFR 338.5(e).

Resources

Legal Authorities

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

INA 310, 8 CFR 310 - Naturalization authority

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

INA 338, 8 CFR 338 - Contents and issuance of certificate of naturalization

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”].

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