A Complete Guide To

Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship

Form N-600 Explained

What is Form N-600 used for?

Certain individuals can file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. The certificate serves as evidence of a person’s U.S. citizenship. Document holders may use the certificate to apply for a U.S. passport or various other benefits.

There are different ways to become a U.S. citizen. USCIS only issues Certificates of Citizenship to those individuals who were born abroad but are U.S. citizens at birth through their parents, or who became citizens after birth but before the age of 18. This is different than the naturalization process.

  • Acquired Citizenship
    You may file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, if you were born abroad and are claiming U.S. citizenship at birth through your parents. For example, you were born in a foreign country to a parent that is a U.S. citizen. Generally, you are a citizen if born to a U.S. citizen parent.
  • Derived Citizenship
    You may also file Form N-600 to obtain evidence of citizenship if you automatically became a U.S. citizen after your birth but before you turned 18 years of age. (A parent or guardian may file Form N-600 on behalf of a minor child.) For example, your parent naturalized while you were a permanent resident child (under age 18) living with that parent in the United States. You automatically became a U.S. citizen by operation of law , but you may need Form N-600 to request that the U.S. government acknowledge your status and issue you proof with a certificate.

Eligibility to Apply for a Citizenship Certificate

Who qualifies for Form N-600?

Generally, a person born outside of the United States may acquire citizenship at birth if that person has at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen and the U.S. citizen parent meets certain physical presence requirements in the U.S. prior to the person’s birth. Alternatively, certain foreign-born persons may derive citizenship after birth when a parent naturalizes as a U.S. citizen. Both may be able to claim citizenship and request a Certificate of Citizenship.

Eligibility for Derived Citizenship

Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (INA §320), a child automatically derives U.S. citizenship from a parent when all three of the following conditions are true at the same time:

  • The child is a permanent resident under 18 years of age;
  • At least one of the child’s parents is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization; and
  • The child resides in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.
Certificate of Citizenship (replaceable with Form N-565)

A Citizenship Certificate is a U.S. identity document for a person who obtained U.S. citizenship through parents (derivation or acquisition).

The order of these events makes no difference. The child is a U.S. citizen by matter of law once all are true. The effective date of the Child Citizenship Act is February 27, 2001. Therefore, only persons under the age of 18 on or after that date (who satisfy the requirements of the law) derive U.S. citizenship.

Eligibility for Acquired Citizenship

Citizenship laws for acquisition have changed many times over the years. Eligibility is dependent on the date of the child's birth and the law in place at that time. The current law became effective November 14, 1986. For children born on or after November 14, 1986, the following is an overview of the law:

Children Born in Wedlock

  • Child with Two U.S. Citizen Parents
    At least one parent must have resided in the United States at any time before the child’s birth.
  • Child with One U.S. Citizen Parent and One U.S. National Parent
    The U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least one year before the child’s birth.
  • Child with One U.S. Citizen Parent and One Foreign National Parent
    The U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the United States for at least 5 years, including at least 2 years after 14 years of age.

Children Born out of Wedlock

  • Child Born Out of Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Mother
    The U.S. citizen mother must have been physically present in the United States for one continuous year before the child’s birth.
  • Child Born Out of Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father
    The child is a citizen if all of the following conditions are met:
    • A blood relationship between the child and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence;
    • The child’s father was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth;
    • The child’s father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the child until the child reaches 18 years of age; and
    • One of the following criteria is met before the child reaches 18 years of age: (A) The child is legitimated under the law of his or her residence or domicile; (B) The father acknowledges in writing and under oath the paternity of the child; or (C) The paternity of the child is established by adjudication of a competent court.

Citizenship laws have changed extensively over the years. Therefore, the year of the applicant's birth can affect the determination of eligibility to file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. CitizenPath’s Citizenship Certificate 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.

N-600 Filing Options

Can I file Form N-600 online?

USCIS offers an online filing option for the Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.  But there are tradeoffs when you use USCIS online filing. You can submit your application quickly. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you get quick processing or protections from mistakes. If you are interested a quick approval, focus on submitting a well-prepared application package. It’s the difference between saving a couple of days with online filing versus saving several weeks with smooth processing. What’s more, USCIS is not your advocate. They are not looking out for your best interests. If you include information that damages your application or your immigration future, USCIS isn’t going to correct you.

For people who want to make sure they are preparing the application correctly, CitizenPath offers an affordable service created by immigration attorneys. CitizenPath’s Citizenship Certificate Package makes the application easy and gives you alerts if there’s a problem. You’ll also receive detailed filing instructions so you know exactly which supporting documents to submit with your application. CitizenPath even provides a money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your application.

You may always download a copy of the Form N-600 PDF from the USCIS website. Occasionally, USCIS publishes new editions of the N-600 application. Make sure you are using an edition which USCIS accepts. Although you may use black ink to fill in your Form N-600 by hand, it’s preferable to file a typed application. This helps prevent mistakes and may improve intake speed.

Form N-600 Instructions

How do I fill out N-600?

CitizenPath's easy-to-use website helps you prepare the application quickly and accurately. Our online service provides step-by-step N-600 instructions to make it easy. We even give you a money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your application.

If you prefer to fill out the Form N-600 PDF, you can download instructions from USCIS or follow this summary of directions.

General Guidance

  • Type or print answers in black ink only. 
  • Enter “N/A” if an answer is not applicable and "NONE" if your answer is zero.
  • Foreign language documents must be accompanied by a full English certified translation.
  • Submit your application with the current USCIS filing fee. Use a personal check, money order, cashier’s check or use Form G-1450 to pay by credit card.
  • Submit photocopies for all supporting documents unless an original document is specifically required.

Part 1

  • For Information About Your Eligibility, select how you are eligible for a Certificate of Citizenship. In most cases, people meet the requirement as the biological child of a U.S. citizen parent.

Parts 2 and 3

  • For Information About You, answer the general questions about name, address and birth. Carefully indicate how you were admitted to the United States. This information may establish the date you became a U.S. citizen. If adopted, final adoption dates will likely have an important effect.
  • For Biographic Information, answer how you identify in terms of race and ethnicity. Indicate other details about your height, weight, eye color and hair color.

Parts 4 and 5

  • For Information About Your U.S. Citizen Father, complete the section if you are claiming U.S. through your father. Carefully indicate how your father became a citizen. Dates could have an important impact. When establishing eligibility through a father, marriage to your biological mother may be critical to show legitimation.
  • For Information About Your U.S. Citizen Mother, complete the section if you are claiming U.S. through your mother. Carefully indicate how your mother became a citizen. Dates could have an important impact.

Parts 6 and 7

  • For Physical Presence in the U.S. From Birth, complete this section if you are claiming acquired citizenship through a biological parent. You'll need to indicate the dates of your parent's physical presence in the U.S. from the point of their birth to the current date. These dates are essential to establishing citizenship through acquisition.
  • For Information About Military Service of U.S. Citizen Parents, complete this section only if you are an applicant claiming U.S. citizenship at the time of birth abroad. That's because time abroad counts as physical presence in the United States if the time abroad was as a member of the U.S. armed forces in honorable status, under the employment of the U.S. government or other qualifying organizations, or as a dependent unmarried son or daughter of such persons.

Parts 8, 9 and 10

  • For Applicant's Statement, sign your application with black ink. A surprising number of N-600 rejections are the result of applicants forgetting to sign or signing in the wrong place. Provide an email and U.S. phone numbers where USCIS can reliably reach you. USCIS will rarely call applicants, but they will use email.
  • For Interpreter and Preparer, provide information if applicable. If you prepared your Form N-600, it’s only necessary to sign as the “applicant.” If another person translated or prepared the application for you, be sure Parts 9 and 10 are filled in and signed appropriately.

This is an abbreviated list of Form N-600 instructions. We highly recommend that you download USCIS instructions or use CitizenPath’s service to prepare the application. CitizenPath provides filing instructions customized to your situation. You’ll get detailed N-600 instructions that explain which supporting documents to submit, how to organize, and where to mail.

Filing Addresses for the Application

Where to file Form N-600?

USCIS accepts the N-600 application via e-file and mail. They do not want applicants to submit the form in-person at USCIS offices.

At the time of writing this guide, USCIS receives applications at two locations called lockboxes: Phoenix, AZ and Elgin, IL. Although USCIS receives your application package at these locations, they will process them somewhere else. If you have an interview, it will be at a USCIS office near that address you provide.

Applicants who live in the following states and territories will file at the Phoenix lockbox: Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Armed Forces - Europe, Armed Forces - Pacific, California, Colorado, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Marshal Islands, Micronesia, Nevada, New Mexico, Palau, Texas, and Utah.

If you are sending via the U.S. Postal Service, mail the package to:

Attn: NATZ
P.O. Box 20100
Phoenix, AZ 85036

If you will send via a courier service like FedEx, UPS or DHL, mail the package to:

Attn: NATZ (Box 20100)
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Ste. 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850

Applicants who live in other states and territories will file at the Elgin lockbox.

If you are sending via the U.S. Postal Service, mail the package to:

Attn: NATZ
P.O. Box 4088
Carol Stream, IL 60197-4088

If you will send via a courier service like FedEx, UPS or DHL, mail the package to:

Attn: NATZ (Box 4088)
2500 Westfield Drive
Elgin, IL 60124-7836

Please note that USCIS does occasionally change lockbox locations that receive applications. Refer to your CitizenPath filing instructions or the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.

N-600 Application Processing Time

How long does Form N-600 take?

USCIS is reporting processing times in excess of one year at many offices. The processing time for Form N-600 can vary from 8 to 14 months for the majority of CitizenPath applicants. The best way to ensure a smooth process and quick processing time is to prepare a strong application. Of course, you must meet the eligibility requirements. But presenting a neat and well-organized application package is also important.

For an in-depth look at what happens after filing the application, visit our N-600 processing time line.

Reporting for processing times only includes forms that were successfully filed. If an individual does not correctly prepare a form or otherwise does not satisfy eligibility requirements, USCIS will reject or deny these requests. For the most recent year, USCIS reported the following national statistics:

USCIS Rejections in 2023


7,642 Rejections
USCIS Denials in 2023


7,317 Denials

How CitizenPath Helps You

Is there an inexpensive way to file the N-600 application?

CitizenPath's affordable, online service makes it easy to prepare Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. Designed by immigration lawyers, the Citizenship Certificate Package helps you eliminate the common errors that create delays, rejections and even denials. That's because the service alerts you when your answer to a question may be a problem. You'll also get customized filing instructions based on your situation. It's a powerful, do-it-yourself tool that puts you in control. And we've got your back -- CitizenPath provides live customer support and provides a money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your application. Get started >>

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