Certificate of Naturalization vs. Certificate of Citizenship

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Upon becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen, the decision to obtain these two certificates is a large one. At first glance, these two certificates seem incredibly similar because they both show proof of citizenship.

However, there are a few differences between a certificate of naturalization and a certification of citizenship. Read on if you wish to learn more about these two certificates.

What Is a Naturalization Certificate?

A naturalization certificate is a certificate that’s given to U.S. citizens that can prove citizenship. This certificate makes sure that you assume the full rights and responsibilities of any other U.S. citizen.

This certificate is only obtained through the naturalization process and is more complicated to be awarded. But, if awarded, your naturalization certificate will never expire, give you all the rights of a legal U.S. citizen, and grant permanent residency.

Who Can Get a Naturalization Certificate?

If you are an adult who is over the age of 18, have been a permanent U.S. resident for at least five years, and are an upstanding citizen, you can apply for naturalization. If you successfully finish the naturalization process, you will be issued a certificate.

This certificate generally acts as a birth certificate, but for adults born outside of the country.

The Naturalization Process

When it comes to becoming a naturalized citizen, there is a process that one must go through. Explained in more detail below is the process by which you can get naturalized as a U.S. citizen.

Determine Eligibility

This is an essential step to follow because if you do not determine your eligibility correctly, you won’t be able to continue the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. Here are the criteria that one must use to determine eligibility to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization.

  • Being 18 years of age
  • Living lawfully in the country for at least five years before applying
  • Present in the country at the time of filing
  • Demonstrating the ability to speak and understand English

Completing All Needed Documents

Once you have successfully determined your eligibility, you can begin filling out the application for naturalization. For this part of the process, you must:

After compiling all this information, you are now able to send in your paperwork.

Paying the Filing Fee

You must understand that the filing fees for your application are non-refundable and must be made payable to the Department of Homeland Security.

Typically the application fee is $725, which includes the required biometrics test fee. This test fee is $85 and will be explained more below.

Going to Your Biometrics Test Appointment

A biometrics test is solely to get your fingerprints. You will schedule your appointment upon receiving a letter from USCIS, and from there, you will visit the location and get your fingerprints done.

Scheduling an Interview and Taking Your Naturalization Test

This is the most critical step when it comes to applying for naturalization. In this step, you will need to schedule an interview with USCIS. After making an appointment, you must visit the office they specified with the necessary information they requested.

Here, you will take your naturalization test. The naturalization test is split into two parts, the English category, and the Civics test. You will be tested on speaking, reading, and writing for your English exam. The civics exam asks questions about U.S. history and the U.S. government.

Taking the Oath of Allegiance

If you pass your naturalization exam, you have successfully obtained citizenship through naturalization. The final step of naturalization is to take the oath of allegiance and attend your oath ceremony.

After taking your oath of allegiance to the U.S., you must return your permanent residence card, answer any additional questions, and obtain your naturalization certificate.

What Is a Citizenship Certificate?

So, what is a certificate of citizenship? A certificate of citizenship is a type of identification document that can prove a child was born outside of the U.S. but derives from at least one parent that is a U.S. citizen.

The state issues this document upon filing Form N-600. This form is an application for a certificate of citizenship and is submitted to USCIS. It states that the individual filing the form can prove evidence of citizenship via one legal parent.

The typical N-600 processing time can vary depending on the case. Typically, from the date you file your application to the date your certificate is approved, it can take nine months to 14 months.

Who Needs to Obtain a Citizenship Certificate?

This type of certificate is intended for any children of legal U.S. citizens. If you are someone who was born abroad but has at least one parent legally a U.S. citizen, you are eligible to apply for a citizenship certificate.

You will then be able to use this certificate, along with your birth certificate, to ensure you full rights similar to any other U.S. citizen.

The Citizenship Certification Process

The citizenship certification process is relatively easy. Here are the steps one must follow to obtain a citizenship certificate:

  1. Fill out the N-600 form: This form is known as the application for a certificate of citizenship for children and will show evidence of your child’s U.S. citizenship, even if they were born abroad.
  2. Gather the necessary documents: You will need to include the legal birth certificate from the country of birth, two passport-style photos, proof of at least one parent’s citizenship, and that parent’s birth certificate.
  3. Pay the required fees: The fee for this certificate is $1,170. You can pay this fee with a money order, cashier’s check, or credit card at a USCIS office.

If you follow the process and correctly fill in all information needed, you will receive a U.S. citizenship certificate.

Common Attributes Between a Naturalization Certificate vs Citizenship Certificate

Naturalization CertificateCitizenship Certificate
Are you a legal U.S. citizen?Yes, through naturalization.Yes, through a legal parental U.S. citizen
What rights do you have?The same inalienable rights as other citizens.The same inalienable rights as other citizens.
What do you need to do to apply for this certificate?You will need the proper citizenship documents to apply for this certificate.
The proper citizenship documents will be needed to apply for this certificate.
What form must be filed for a replacement?Form N-565 must be filed to replace this certificate.Must file Form N-565 to replace this certificate.

Key Differences Between Naturalization Certificate vs Citizenship Certificate

Naturalization CertificateCitizenship Certificate
How is this certificate obtained?Through the naturalization process.This certificate is granted to children who are born abroad but have one parent who is a legal U.S. citizen
Does previous citizenship need to be renounced?To get this certificate, you must take an oath of allegiance, and will sometimes need to renounce previous citizenshipNo oath needs to be taken
What can this document be used for?Acts as an identification documentThis certificate can act as a birth certificate
What are the eligibility requirements?You must establish a strong connection to the U.S. through family members, file all the necessary paperwork, take a biometrics test, pass a naturalization exam and attend an oath ceremonyYou must have one parent who is a legal U.S. citizen and be under the age of 18.
What is the cost to get the certificate?$725$1,170

Obtaining the Proper Certificate

After reading this article, we hope that you now know which certificate you need to obtain to show proof of U.S. citizenship. If you are still confused, contact us today!

At ImmigrationDirect, we will be able to guide you through each process and help you to determine which certificate you qualify for. Our easy-to-use online platforms make it easy to complete and submit.

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