Upon naturalizing as a U.S. citizen at an oath ceremony, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) presents new citizens with a Certificate of Naturalization. This is your proof of U.S. citizenship for the purpose of obtaining a U.S. passport and other benefits. If your certificate has been lost, stolen, destroyed, or misprinted with an error, you may need to replace it. Additionally, you may need to start the Certificate of Naturalization replacement process if you’ve had a legal change in your name or gender,.
Replacing a Certificate of Naturalization is a fairly straight forward process, but minor mistakes and oversights can easily derail or delay an application.
Application to Replace Naturalization Certificate
To request a replacement of a Certificate of Naturalization, file Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document, with USCIS.
The N-565 application is strictly for re-issuing citizenship documentation when citizenship has already been granted. Do not file Form N-565 for the following reasons:
- Permanent residents applying for U.S. citizenship should not file Form N-565. Instead, use Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- U.S. citizens requiring an original Certificate of Citizenship should not file Form N-565. Instead, use Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.
Reasons for Certificate of Naturalization Replacement Process
There are several valid reasons to request a replacement Certificate of Naturalization:
Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed Document
The need to replace a certificate that was lost, stolen or destroyed is fairly straightforward. However, you will need to provide some corroborating evidence. When filing Form N-565 on the basis of a loss, you should submit evidence of the loss. USCIS wants to know what happened and get some corroborating evidence. Generally, the applicant must submit a police report and a sworn statement.
The Certificate of Naturalization replacement process generally requests that you provide details such as certificate number, date of issuance and place of issuance. If you do not know this information because the document is no longer in your possession, CitizenPath’s software will guide you through these questions.
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Change of Document Not Due to a USCIS Error
If there is an error on your Certificate of Naturalization, you can request to have it fixed. If the error on the certificate was due to your own fault or a change, you’ll need to file Form N-565 with a fee.
A name change request requires:
- Marriage or divorce certificate; or
- Certified copy of a court order.
A gender change requires:
- Certified copy of a court order;
- Certified copy of an amended birth certificate;
- Medical certification by a licensed physician; or
- Other official documentation recognizing the new gender by a U.S. state, local jurisdiction, or foreign state (i.e. passport or driver’s license).
You cannot make any changes to an incorrect date of birth on a Naturalization Certificate if you reported an incorrect date on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and then later swore to the facts of your application by signing Part 15. Signature at Interview. This is extremely rare. Contact an immigration attorney if this is your situation.
USCIS Typographical Error
If the error on a certificate was due to a typographical or clerical error on the part of the government, you’ll need to submit the original certificate and provide proof of the correct information. For example, N-565 applications related to an incorrect name should include a photocopy of the birth certificate as evidence of the correct name. There is no fee required if you select this reason. You may 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.
Certified True Copy
In some cases, you may need what is known as a Certified True Copy of your certificate. When a naturalized U.S. citizen needs to have a Certificate of Naturalization “authenticated” by the U.S. State Department for use by foreign governments or embassies, USCIS can copy the document and certify it as a true copy. “Authentication” is a term used by the U.S. Department of State and other governments to describe what USCIS refers to as Certified True Copies. When you require USCIS to authenticate a naturalization certificate, be sure to use the term “Certified True Copy.” For more information on requesting a Certified True Copy, visit the USCIS website.
The time line for the Certificate of Naturalization replacement process is generally less than one year. In certain cases, USCIS may be able to issue a replacement certificate more quickly. But according to USCIS, the N-565 processing times are generally lengthy.
The best thing you can do to minimize the replacement time is to prepare an accurate and complete N-565 application package. In addition to preparing the form correctly, provide all evidence and supporting documentation as recommended.
That’s how CitizenPath can help. In addition to your correctly prepared form, CitizenPath provides you with a set of personalized filing instructions. Our filing instructions are customized to your answers in the application so you know what to do for your specific situation. The filing instructions provide detailed directions on supporting documents, how to organize your application, and where to mail it.
RECOMMENDED: What Happens After Filing Form N-565
CitizenPath provides simple, affordable, step-by-step guidance through USCIS immigration applications. Individuals, attorneys and non-profits use the service on desktop or mobile device to prepare immigration forms accurately, avoiding costly delays. CitizenPath allows users to try the service for free and provides a 100% money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve the application or petition. We provide support for the Certificate of Naturalization Replacement Process (N-565), the Citizenship Application (Form N-400), and several other immigration services.
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