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Citizen Certificate – Its Necessity and Eligibility

In order to enjoy the rights as a citizen in US, you would need a certificate to prove your citizenship, which can be acquired by many ways. This citizen certificate can change your status in the US forever.

What is Citizen Certificate?

A certificate is always required to authenticate a person. If you possess a usual US birth certificate issued by the State Government of US as a record of your being born on US soil that is your chief proof of being a citizen by birth. Hospital – issued birth certificates are not considered proof of citizenship, as these are not authorized reports.

Similarly, if you are a citizen by the process of Naturalization, you will have a naturalization certificate. Citizenship certificate is a very important document but many people are completely unaware of the importance of this certificate. Unlike a passport, this certificate does not come with a date of expiration, and this fact underlines the importance of securing a US citizen certificate.

Documents Accepted as proof of U.S. Citizenship

The usual papers, which verify US citizenship, are:

  • If an individual is born in the United States, a Birth Certificate is issued by the State of US. If an individual is born to US citizen parents outside US whose birth and US citizenship is registered with US Consulate or Embassy, his/her birth certificate is issued by US Department of State.
  • Citizenship Certificate, which is given to an individual born abroad but to parents who are US citizens
  • The US Department of State issued US passport
  • An individual, who after 18 years became a US citizen through Naturalization process, will be issued a Naturalization Certificate

Who can Apply for the Citizen Certificate?

If you satisfy any one of the conditions mentioned below, you would be allowed to apply for the Citizen Certificate:

1. US Citizenship through Parents: If a child is born outside US, he/she can eventually obtain citizenship of US, if at least one parent was a US citizen at the time of his/her birth.

2. US Citizenship through Adoption: If US citizen parents or legal custodian gets naturalized as a US citizen and then files a petition for a child who is below 18 years and owns a green card, the child can become a US citizen. Nevertheless, if an individual was 18 years when his/her parents got naturalized, he/she will have to apply for naturalization on their own merit.

3. US Citizenship through Retention: The Doctrine of Constructive Retention, allows individuals to claim US citizenship, who have not been aware of their citizenship resulting through their parents or grandparents and have in turn not been able to meet requirements of US residency.

How to Apply for Certificate of Citizenship?

When any one of the criteria mentioned above is fulfilled, you could use the citizenship Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to apply for your citizen certificate. This citizenship form is divided into 10 segments, asking for information about your parents and yourself. The facts mentioned in the citizenship form will help the immigration officer decide whether you are eligible to claim the citizen certificate or not. The general time taken to process the certificate is about 5-6 months.

Filling up the Citizenship Form

Few things you need to keep in mind while filling up your citizenship form:

1. Complete citizenship Form N-600, Application for Citizenship Certificate.
2. Supply the essential supportive papers.
3. Attach two passport size photographs.
4. You need to mail the form, the fees, the photos and necessary documents to the USCIS.
5. It is advisable to save a copy of the contents of entire packet you are sending to the USCIS.

After sending all the documents to USCIS, you have to wait for the written notice from the USCIS about their decision on your citizenship form.

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