There are different reasons why you may need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. For example, certain job positions may be open to U.S. citizens only. Also, individuals who automatically qualify for U.S. citizenship through their parents may need to provide a proof before being granted citizenship.
Regardless of the reason, it is always good to know how to obtain proof of U.S. citizenship. But first things first, what makes you eligible for US citizenship? Here’s the answer:
You Are Considered A United States Citizen If….
There are certain conditions that must be met for you to be considered a U.S. citizen. Here are some of the most common examples:
1) You Were Born In The U.S.
If you were born in the United States to a U.S. citizen parent, you may as well be considered a U.S. citizen. However, this does not apply if you were born in the United States to parents who are foreign diplomats serving in the United States. In such a scenario, the child can apply to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
However, if you were born in the U.S. but you do not have a copy of your birth certificate as proof of your citizenship, you may contact the Department of Health (Vital Records) in the U.S. state in which you were born, for further guidance. You can also get additional information by visiting the National Center for Health Statistics web page.
What If You Don’t Have A Birth Record?
Individuals born in the U.S. but do not have any primary evidence of U.S. citizenship may submit early public records as evidence to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. However, early public records may be submitted along with a Letter of No Record.
What Is A Letter Of No Record?
A Letter of No Record is a letter issued by the U.S. State which you were born, stating that no record has been found regarding your birth in the state, and the fact that there is no U.S. birth certificate for you. The letter includes your name, date of birth and the specific years that were searched for a birth record.
Examples of early public records that may be submitted with your Letter of No Record include:
- Baptismal certificate with the seal of the Church
- Certified decree of adoption
- State or Federal Census record
- U.S. birth certificate from the hospital with the baby’s footprints on, and name of the parents
- Records of post-natal care or affidavit signed by the parents
- Any early school record
- Family Bible record
2) You Have Form N-560
Also, if you were born abroad to US parents, you may as well be considered a U.S. citizen. Officially known as Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560 acts as proof of citizenship if you were born to US parents, but not in the United States. This usually applies when you have no birth certificate to prove that you are a US citizen.
For example, if you were born outside of the United States to U.S. parents, and they notified the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country of your birth, this is the certificate that will be presented to you as proof of U.S. citizenship. With this certificate, you can then apply for a U.S. passport, social security number, and other relevant government documents.
Speaking of social security, a social security number or card does not qualify as proof of citizenship. The same case applies to a state-issued ID or driving license.
But what if your U.S. citizen parent failed to notify the U.S. consulate in your country of birth? Do not give up; you can still file Form N-560 without documents. The U.S. government will review your application and determine your eligibility.
However, because you are filing Form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship), you will be required to submit a few documents. They include your recent passport-sized photos, birth record or certificate, and evidence that your parent is a U.S. citizen.
3) You Have A Form N-550
Form N-550, also known as Certificate of Naturalization, is given only to individuals who obtained US citizenship through the naturalization process. To obtain a naturalization certificate, they must have attended the naturalization ceremony and taken their Oath of Allegiance to become citizens of the U.S.
4) You Have A Form FS-240
This form is also known as Report of Birth Abroad of United States Citizens. It is usually issued by the Department of State consular office after filing a Consular Report of Birth of child born outside the United States to a US citizen parent. This form is usually common with children born outside the United States to U.S. military personnel.
5) You Have A U.S. Passport
If you have a U.S. passport, it may qualify as proof of citizenship. However, this works only if the U.S. passport is valid and not expired. The good thing about a U.S. passport is it not only serves as proof of citizenship, but also as the primary travel document.
What If You Don’t Have Any Of These Documents?
If you were born outside of the U.S. but you do not have any of the aforementioned documents to prove your citizenship, you need to apply to the U.S. Department of State for a U.S. passport. Be ready to provide any relevant documents as evidence of your eligibility for US citizenship based on your specific situation.
How To Apply For Certificate Of Citizenship?
There are two ways to apply for a certificate of citizenship: online or paper. Below are the steps to take for each of the two options.
Filing For Certificate Of U.S. Citizenship Online
To file for Certificate of U.S. Citizenship online, go to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, and create an online account.
Provide all the required documentation, and pay the fees.
Sign up to receive updates on the status of your case, and track its history.
Communicate with USCIS securely and directly, and respond to requests for additional evidence of U.S. citizenship.
Filing For Certificate Of Citizenship By Paper
To file by paper, the following steps must be followed:
Access Form N-600 on USCIS website, and read the instructions carefully.
Fill out all relevant fields in the form, and sign. USCIS will reject any unsigned form.
If applicable, pay the filing fees. To understand how much you need to pay as filing fees, use the Fees Calculator tool available on the USCIS website.
Once you have provided the required information and signed the forms, go to the USCIS website, and then check the correct filing address for this specific form. You will find the correct address under Where To File.
What To Expect After Filing For Certificate Of Citizenship
Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a notice from USCIS confirming receipt. You may also be notified about your biometrics appointment, if applicable. The biometrics appointment helps verify your identity and criminal history if any. You will also be notified if you need to appear for an interview, and finally, the decision from USCIS.
Do You Need Help Applying For Proof Of US Citizenship?
The process of applying for a U.S. Certificate of Citizenship can be overwhelming, especially if you do not have the required documents. Your application may be approved or rejected depending on your specific circumstances.
However, if you believe that you are eligible for U.S. citizenship based on the factors explained above but do not have the required documents or knowledge of how this process works, you may seek the help of a professional immigration law firm.
The firm should be able to assign you an experienced immigration attorney to help present your case to the U.S. government, and hopefully, secure your proof of U.S. citizenship.