U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began issuing redesigned Certificates of Citizenship and Naturalization in an effort to better deter alteration and fraud and to make these documents more secure.
USCIS piloted the new certificate design at the Norfolk, Tampa, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Sacramento Field Offices, as well as at the Nebraska Service Center.
The certificates of naturalization are:
- N-550, issued to an individual who obtains U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process;
- N-578, issued to a naturalized U.S. citizen to obtain recognition as a United States citizen by a foreign state; and
- N-570, issued when the original Certificate of Naturalization is lost, mutilated, or contains errors.
A Certificate of Citizenship is issued to an individual who obtains U.S. citizenship other than through birth in the United States or through naturalization. The various types of Certificates of Citizenship are:
- N-560A, issued to an applicant who derived citizenship after birth;
- N-560AB, issued to an applicant who acquired citizenship at birth;
- N-645 and N-645A, issued to the family of an individual who served honorably in the U.S. armed forces during a designated period of hostility and died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by that service. Form N-645 is issued if the decedent was a male, and the N-645A if the decedent was a female.
- Form N-561, issued to replace a Certificate of Citizenship when the original certificate is lost, mutilated, or contains errors.
The redesigned certificates of citizenship and naturalization feature a large, central image against a complex patterned background, which helps deter the alteration of personal data. Each certificate possesses a unique image only visible under ultraviolet light and attempts to alter it will be evident. Posthumous Certificates of Naturalization and the Special Certificate of Citizenship each bear a different image, yet feature the same fraud-deterrent security features.
Periodically changing the design and printing methods for these certificates helps USCIS stay a step ahead of counterfeiters.
Although the look and feel of the documents is new, the process of applying for and receiving them has not changed. Individuals do not need to renew their Certificates of Naturalization or Citizenship, regardless of when they were issued. The certificates we issued before the redesign will continue to be accepted as proof of citizenship.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, or to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer, please contact our firm today.