Issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a certificate of citizenship is documented proof that an individual has acquired U.S. citizenship through automatically or by birth (when born outside the United States). For instance, if a U.S. citizen gives birth outside of the United States, the child would have obtained a certificate of citizenship by acquisition at birth.

What is a Certificate of Naturalization?

A certificate of naturalization is documentation that proves an immigrant has obtained U.S. citizenship through the long process of naturalization. Like the certificate of citizenship, the certificate of naturalization is issued by the USCIS, and may also be issued by federal and some state courts.

How Can I Apply for a Replacement of My Certificate?

If you need to replace your current certificate of citizenship or naturalization, you need to apply for a replacement certificate with the USCIS. Fill out Form N-565 and file it with your local USCIS office or by mail. Replacements are for lost, destroyed, or mutilated certificates, and also for individuals who have legally changed their names (either through marriage or a court order). Replacements are only available for those who received a:

  • Certificate of Naturalization;
  • Certificate of Citizenship; or
  • Repatriation Certificate.

You must be sure to have the appropriate documents/information to apply, including:

  • Two passport photographs;
  • Evidence of:
    • Certificate mutilated;
    • Certificate lost/stolen/destroyed (police report, sworn statement, etc.);
    • Legal name change;
    • Legal date of birth change;
    • Legal gender change; or
    • Typographical error on the certificate.
  • Filing fee of $555 (as of Jan. 2018); and
  • Sign and file the document

It’s important that you file and submit all of the necessary information, or it can slow down or stop the process of replacing your certificate of citizenship.

Do I Need Help From an Immigration Law Attorney?

An experienced immigration law attorney will be able to walk you through any immigration laws that are applicable to your case. Since several government agencies may be involved in cases dealing with immigration and naturalization, it is a good idea to consult an attorney who can advise you of your best course of action in moving forward.