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Certificate of Citizenship

What Is a Certificate of Citizenship?

A certificate of citizenship is a document that serves as evidence of an individual’s membership of the United States of America as a legal, permanent resident. Certificates of citizenship are issued by the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A certificate of citizenship comes with a variety of information about the individual that it has been issued to. In general, the information provided by the certificate falls into either information about the applicant or clerical information regarding USCIS validation.

The applicant information section of a certificate of citizenship contains information that confirms the identity of the individual. Some of the information that is featured on a certificate of citizenship includes the applicants':

  • Address or other place of residence
  • Date of birth
  • Full name
  • Height
  • Marital status
  • Nation of birth
  • Photograph
  • Sex
  • Signature
  • USCIS registration number

This information serves to tie the identity of the individual to the certificate of citizenship and ensures that it cannot easily be used for an individual other than the one to whom the certificate was issued.

USCIS clerical information ensures that the certificate of citizenship is authentic. Some of this legitimizing information includes:

  • The certificate number
  • A statement made by the USCIS Director indicating that the applicant has complied with all eligibility requirements for citizenship according to US law
  • The date on which citizenship was granted
  • The date the certificate was issued
  • The Department of Human Services seal and signature of the director as signs of authority

By authenticating these attributes, a certificate of citizenship can be confirmed to be authentic. Through the combination of the clerical and applicant information, a certificate of citizenship ensures that individuals can effectively be verified as citizens of the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • A certificate of citizenship is a document that serves as a verification of a person’s identity as a U.S. citizen
  • Certificates of citizenship denote a variety of personal and clerical information about the subject.
  • Certificates of citizenship can be acquired from derivation or acquisition of citizenship from a parent with custody of a child even if that child was born outside of the United States.
  • If you have been detained by immigration officials despite having a valid certificate of citizenship, an experienced Immigration Law attorney may be able to improve the outcome of your case by utilizing experience and expert knowledge.

Certificates of Citizenship and Immigration Law

The legal process to acquire a certificate of citizenship is straightforward but can be highly complex. The process to acquire a certificate of citizenship begins with the completion of a Form N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship. 

The certificate of citizenship will be issued after the application has been reviewed and approved by the USCIS, the applicant takes the Oath of Allegiance, and the applicant’s permanent residence card has been surrendered. The most common use of certificates of citizenship is to demonstrate that the child of a US citizen parent is a valid citizen as well. There are two ways to obtain a certificate of citizenship: derivation and acquisition.

Derivation of citizenship arises when a permanent resident is naturalized. If a child is in the custody of their naturalized parent and residing in the United States, then the child is allowed to derive citizenship from their naturalized parent’s citizenship. Under these circumstances, a certificate of citizenship can be issued for the child.

Acquisition of citizenship can be acquired automatically to children of U.S. citizens. Even if the child is born outside of the United States, citizenship is extended to the child from birth. As long as at least one parent is a qualified U.S. citizen meeting certain residency requirements and physical presence requirements before the child is born, then the child will be extended citizen status. In this event, a certificate of citizenship can be extended to the child. 

Once a certificate of citizenship has been issued, it can be altered under certain circumstances. Sometimes, due to differences in record keeping, calendar, or lack of information can render an original certificate of citizenship inaccurate. In these cases, once the parents have entered the U.S. and can demonstrate how the original citizenship record is incorrect, they will be given an opportunity to provide the correct information.

Bottom Line

If you have been apprehended illegally and are facing deportation despite having a valid certificate of citizenship, you will need the help of an experienced Immigration Law attorney. An Immigration Law attorney will be able to advocate on your behalf in order to get you the best possible outcome for your case.

Using their legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses, your Immigration Law attorney can present your case in the most compelling light possible and deftly navigate the complex processes of immigration bureaucracy as well as the obscure functions of immigration court.

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