Proving your United States Citizenship
I am a U.S. citizen, how do I get 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 you acquired U.S. citizenship after age 18 then you must obtain a naturalization certificate from USCIS in order to prove U.S. citizenship.
What about if I was born outside the United States, but one or both of my parents were U.S. citizens when I was born?
This is called citizenship through derivation. Usually, there are additional specific requirements that you must meet prior to obtaining a naturalization certificate. In certain cases citizenship can be acquired through a combination of a parent and grandparent.
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 [LINK TO NATZ]
I was born in the United States, where can I get a copy of my birth certificate?
If you were born in a U.S. State or Territory, such as Puerto Rico, you must check with the Department of Health or Vital Records in the State or Territory in which you were 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). [LINK TO CONTACT US]
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?
If you were born overseas and your birth was registered with the U.S. Embassy abroad but no longer have or were never issued a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you 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. Our law practice focuses on immigration law and is built on the foundation of trusting relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to providing expert legal counsel and helping you with all of your U.S. citizenship needs. Please call or email us for a free initial consultation for help.
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, which we can provide to you. Please contact our Los Angeles immigration attorney now for a FREE consultation. [LINK TO CONTACT US]
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 parent gave birth to a child abroad and was a United States citizen, 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 that you contact an immigration attorney to provide more accurate case-by-case assistance. JCS Immigration and Visa has helped hundreds of applicants successfully obtain citizenship. We are located in Los Angeles, have helped clients across the country and around the world. Please call or email us for a free initial consultation
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 you were living as a permanent resident and under 18 years of age at the time, then you 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 you were over 18 at the time of your parent’s naturalization, then you must apply for citizenship after living in the United States as a permanent resident for at least 5 years. For more information on derived citizenship, please read more here. [LINK TO DERIVATIVE CIT]
How do I apply to have my citizenship recognized by the United States?
There are only two options available:
- you can apply for a U.S. passport from the Department of State; or
- If you are living inside the United States, you can apply for a Certificate of Citizenship from the USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
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.
How do I replace a lost, stolen or destroyed naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship?
You would need to apply for a replacement document to show that you are a naturalized citizen. You have to apply through the USCIS. If you need help with obtaining naturalization certificate, or a certificate of citizenship, please feel free to call our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys. We offer a free initial consultation. [LINK TO CONTACT US]