A person born abroad who acquires U.S. citizenship at birth (from a U.S. parent) will generally need to file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, to obtain proof of status. Upon approval, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue a Certificate of Citizenship to the beneficiary. However, filing Form N-600 is not required in all cases. A person may also apply for a U.S. passport with the Department of State to serve as evidence of his or her U.S. citizenship.
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U.S. Passport or Certificate of Citizenship
If you already have a U.S. passport, you generally don’t need to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. However, some people prefer to have a certificate as a form of back-up documentation.
The Certificate of Citizenship does not expire. Therefore, it may give some citizens more reassurance than a U.S. passport.
A validly issued U.S. passport generally serves as evidence of your U.S. citizenship for most purposes during its period of validity. However, you may be required to submit your Certificate of Citizenship when attempting to apply for certain other benefits, including, but not limited to:
- Social Security benefits
- State issued ID including a Driver’s License or Learning Permit
- Financial Aid
- Passport Renewal
If the U.S. government previously issued you a Certificate of Citizenship but the document is now lost, you may file an application to replace it. Likewise, use the same application to replace a stolen or destroyed certificate.
To replace a Certificate of Citizenship, file Form N-565, Application to Replace Citizenship Document.