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.
Eligibility for a Certificate of Citizenship
Citizenship laws have changed extensively over the years. Therefore, the year of your birth can affect the determination of your eligibility for a Certificate of Citizenship.
CitizenPath’s Certificate of Citizenship Package can help most people determine eligibility. Our software will ask you a series of questions about you and your parents to decide if you may file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.
As mentioned, citizenship laws are very complicated and vary based on the year of your birth. In some cases, our software won’t be able to make a determination. We’ll let you know before you pay if your situation is too complicated. An immigration attorney can assist you at this point.
Our software is free to get started. That means you may get started and check your eligibility before you pay. In fact, you don’t have to pay until the very end of the application when you are ready to print the Form N-600 and our customized filing instructions. In addition to your 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 exactly 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.
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.