I am a U.S. citizen, how do I show proof of my U.S. citizenship?
In many circumstances, unless you were born in the United States, you will have been issued a certificate of citizenship from the U.S. Department of State or from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If an individual acquired U.S. citizenship after age 18 then he or she must obtain a naturalization certificate from USCIS in order to prove U.S. citizenship.
If you were born outside the United States, but one or both of your parents were U.S. citizens when you were born
This is called citizenship through derivation. Usually, there are additional specific requirements that the individual must meet prior to obtaining a naturalization certificate. In certain cases citizenship can be acquired through a combination of a parent and grandparent.
Learn more about derivative U.S. citizenship.
What documents are usually accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship?
The most common types of documents to establish United States citizenship are:
- Birth Certificate, issued by a U.S. State or Territory, such as Puerto Rico (if the person was born in the United States), or by the Department of State (if the person was born abroad to U.S. citizen parents who then registered the child’s birth and U.S. citizenship through the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate abroad;
- U.S. Passport, issued by the Department of State;
- Certificate of Citizenship, issued to a person born outside of the U.S. who derived U.S. citizenship through a parent; or
- Certificate of Naturalization, issued to an individual who became a U.S. citizen after age 18 through the naturalization process.
I was born in the United States, where can I get a copy of my birth certificate?
If an individual was born in a U.S. State or Territory, such as Puerto Rico, he or she must check with the Department of Health or Vital Records in the State or Territory in which he or she was born. Typically, each State is different in how they operate and store records of births.
I am a U.S. citizen and my child will be born abroad or was recently born abroad. How do I register the birth and U.S. citizenship?
All matters involving births of children abroad to U.S. citizens must be documented with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country abroad where the child was born. Please contact our U.S. immigration attorneys for further assistance on how to obtain what is called a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA).
I was born overseas. My birth and U.S. citizenship were registered with the U.S. Embassy. How do I get a copy of this?
An individual who was born overseas and registered the birth with the U.S. Embassy abroad but no longer has or was not issued a Consular Report of Birth Abroad should contact an immigration attorney in order to find out how to contact the Department of State or the specific U.S. Embassy responsible for issuing the Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
I believe I was a U.S. citizen at birth because one or both of my parents were U.S. citizens when I was born. My birth was not registered with the U.S. Embassy when I was born. Can I apply to have my citizenship registered?
It depends on the law in effect when the person was born whether or not someone born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent is considered a U.S. citizen. U.S. laws have changed on this topic over the years, but it is usually requires a combination of a U.S. citizen parent and that parent having lived in the United States for a specific period of time. Derivative citizenship can be a very complex issue and may require careful legal analysis. Please contact our Los Angeles immigration attorney now for a FREE consultation.
One of my parents was a U.S. citizen but never lived in the United States. One of my grandparents was also a U.S. citizen. Could I have derived U.S. citizenship?
If a United States citizen parent gave birth to a child abroad, but did not live in the U.S. for the required amount of time before the child’s birth, the child may still have derived U.S. citizenship if a grandparent was also a U.S. citizen.
Due to the complex provisions of U.S. immigration law that govern derivative citizenship, it is strongly recommended to contact an immigration attorney to provide more accurate case-by-case assistance. JCS Immigration and Visa has helped hundreds of applicants successfully obtain citizenship. Located in Los Angeles, have helped clients across the country and around the world.
After I was born, my parent became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Could I have derived U.S. citizenship?
If at least one parent naturalized and became a United States citizen after February 27, 2001 and the child was living as a permanent resident and under 18 years of age at the time, then he or she may have automatically acquired U.S. citizenship. If the same applies but was before this date, then both parents must have naturalized unless one parent had passed away.
However, if the child was over 18 at the time of the parent’s naturalization, then he or she must apply for citizenship after living in the United States as a permanent resident for at least 5 years.
How do I apply to have my U.S. citizenship recognized?
There are only two options available:
- An individual can apply for a U.S. passport from the Department of State; or
- If the individual is living inside the United States, he or she may file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship from USCIS.
Typically applying for a U.S. passport can be faster than applying for a Certificate of Citizenship from USCIS and it also serves as a travel document, whereas you cannot travel with the certificate alone.
Filing fee for Form N-600
The filing fee for Form N-600 is $600.
How do I replace a lost, stolen or destroyed naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship?
Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization Citizenship Document must be filed with USCIS. The filing fee for this is $345.
If you require assistance with your immigration case, contact our experienced lawyers now for a FREE consultation.