After successful completion of a pilot in multiple field offices as well as a service center, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began issuing redesigned Certificates of Citizenship and also Certificates of Naturalization. The redesign, intended as a way to combat fraud and to safeguard integrity within the immigration system, updates the look and feel of the documents.
Redesigned certificates of naturalization include:
- N-550, issued to individuals who obtain U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process
- N-578, issued to naturalized U.S. citizens in order to obtain recognition as a United States citizen by a foreign state
- N-570, issued to replace an original Certificate of Naturalization that is lost, mutilated, or contains errors.
Individuals who obtain U.S. citizenship other than through birth or through naturalization receive a Certificate of Citizenship. These certificates include:
- N-560A, issued to applicants who derive citizenship after birth
- N-560AB, issued to applicants who acquire citizenship at birth
- N-645 (for males) and N-645A (for females), issued to the families of an individual who served honorably in the U.S. armed forces during a designated period of hostility and then died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by that service
- N-561, issued to replace an original Certificate of Citizenship that is lost, mutilated, or contains errors
Each of these 8 certificates features large central images against complex patterned backgrounds. The certificates also include a unique image visible only under ultraviolet light, a feature that clearly reveals attempted alterations. Additionally, Posthumous Certificates of Naturalization and the Special Certificate of Citizenship feature these same fraud-deterrent security features and also each bear different images.
The agency plans periodic changes to document design and printing methods as a means of staying a step ahead of counterfeiters. With the current format, USCIS officials piloted the certificate at the Norfolk, Tampa, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Sacramento Field Offices as well as the Nebraska Service Center.
“Although the look and feel of the documents is new, the process of applying for and receiving them has not changed,” according to a USCIS release. “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.”