Form N-600 Guide: Eligibility, Costs, Timeline, and Steps to Get Your Certificate of Naturalization

Are you wondering if you might already be a U.S. citizen? If you were born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent(s), you may have automatically acquired citizenship without realizing it. This guide will help you understand how to claim U.S. citizenship through your parents by filing the N-600 Form: Application for Certificate of Citizenship.

What Is the N-600 Form?

Form N-600 helps you claim your birthright. This official document proves your U.S. citizenship, even without being born on American soil. Think of it as an official seal confirming your status, handy for acquiring a passport or securing immigration benefits for loved ones. So, if you weren’t born under the stars and stripes but have U.S. citizen roots, explore Form N-600 to unlock your citizenship potential!

IMPORTANT: If you got your Green Card and plan to naturalize, don’t use Form N-600! Instead, file Form N-400: Application for Naturalization.

Eligibility Criteria for the N-600 Form

The specific requirements for qualifying through Form N-600 depend on your circumstances. Carefully review the N-600 eligibility requirements and consult an immigration attorney if needed. Remember that your parent or legal guardian can file this form if you are a minor. Moreover, obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship provides official documentation of your U.S. citizenship status, simplifying travel, voting, and other rights.

This N-600 document applies to children under 18 who were born outside the U.S. to American parents. But there’s a catch: you must live in the U.S. and in the legal and physical care of your U.S. citizen parent to be eligible. 

There are two ways you might qualify, according to USCIS:

  1. Acquisition: This applies if you were born abroad to a parent who already had U.S. citizenship at the time.
  2. Derivation: This applies if your parents obtained U.S. citizenship after you were born while you were a legal permanent resident in the U.S.

Who Can (and Should) File the N-600 Form for the Citizenship Certificate?

Here are the main categories of people who can file form N-600 to request their Certification of Citizenship.

Children born abroad to U.S. citizen parents.

Adopted children of U.S. citizens

Individuals who automatically became U.S. citizens before February 27, 2001

You may qualify if you meet specific requirements related to your parents' U.S. citizenship status, your residency, and your age at the time.

If a U.S. citizen parent adopted you and you meet specific legal requirements, you may be eligible to file.

You may be able to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship to document your existing status.

Who Cannot (and Should Not) File the N-600 Form for the Certificate of Citizenship?

You’re not eligible to file Form N-600 in the following conditions:

You were born in the U.S.

You are a naturalized citizen.

You are currently residing abroad.

You don’t have at least one biological or adoptive U.S. citizen parent

Your parent(s) permanently reside abroad.

You were born out of wedlock and not legitimized before age 16, and your U.S. citizen parent is your father.

Your U.S. birth certificate automatically proves your citizenship. No need for Form N-600!

Your Certificate of Naturalization serves as your official citizenship documentation.

When living outside the country, applying for a U.S. passport with the State Department is the usual route to establish citizenship.

You are the child of U.S. citizen parents who reside outside the U.S. permanently.

If a U.S. citizen parent adopted you and you meet specific legal requirements, you may be eligible to file.

This rule doesn't affect you if you were born outside the U.S. to an eligible U.S. citizen mother. In this situation, you can also qualify for citizenship through your mother's naturalization.

Additional Situations Related to the N-600 Form You Should Know About

You’re not eligible to file Form N-600 in the following conditions:

Lost/Stolen/Damaged Certification of Citizenship

Previously filed & received decision

You are a stepchild.

Form N-600 isn't for replacing lost Citizenship/Naturalization Certificates. Use Form N-565 instead.

Refiling won't be helpful if you have already submitted and received a decision on Form N-600.

While an adopted child is eligible for U.S. citizenship through one of their U.S. citizen parents, stepchildren are not eligible for U.S. citizenship under this rule.

IMPORTANT: Filing the N-600 form is not a request to become a U.S. citizen. It is a request to get a Certificate of Citizenship that will recognize your becoming a U.S. citizen on a particular date.

The N-600 Processing Time: How Long Does It Take?

Be prepared for some waiting time when filing Form N-600, as processing can take 4 to 22 months on average. The specific processing time depends on which USCIS Service Center handles your application.

The N-600 Form Processing Timeline

To get a better estimate for your wait, check the processing times for each USCIS Service Center on their website. This way, you can get a more personalized timeframe based on your location and avoid surprises. Below are some approximate waiting times for your N-600 form application. 

You were born in the U.S.

You are a naturalized citizen.

You are currently residing abroad.

You were born out of wedlock and not legitimized before age 16, and your U.S. citizen parent is your father.

After submitting your Form N-600, you'll receive a Receipt Notice from USCIS. This isn't the final decision but a confirmation that they've received your application and it's officially in the system. You should save your N-600 receipt notice or keep the 13-digit receipt number safe. You can use the number to check your case status.

After reviewing your application, USCIS will schedule a short (under 20 minutes) biometrics appointment near you. This involves fingerprinting, photographing, and verifying your identity with a government ID. It's not an interview, just a quick data-collection step. Attend the appointment on time to avoid delays and consider legal advice if you have a criminal record, as it may impact your eligibility.

If you are living abroad, USCIS will ask you to contact a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in that country to make an appointment. Not attending your biometric appointment will lead to your application's rejection by the USCIS.

USCIS might request an interview to review your case in person. This depends on your submitted evidence and whether particular documents are readily available. This is entirely at their discretion. You'll receive details with your appointment notice if an interview is needed. You might need to bring original documents (even if you submitted copies), additional supporting evidence, and certified English translations of foreign documents.

If your N-600 application is approved, you'll likely take the Oath of Allegiance (not required for those under 14). This may happen right after your interview or at a later date.

Once you take the oath (if required), USCIS will mail you your official Certificate of Citizenship. The document proves your U.S. citizenship. Remember to provide a reliable mailing address on your application to ensure smooth delivery.

How Much Does the N-600 Form Cost?

The Certificate of Citizenship cost is $1,385. However, the fee can be waived if you are an active member or veteran of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

However, if you are the child of members or Armed Forces veterans, you must pay the N-600 Form fee. You also have to pay the N-600 cost if you file N-600 as an adopted child.

IMPORTANT: The N-600 form fee will not be refunded whether USCIS approves or rejects your Certificate for Citizenship application.

How to Pay the N-600 Fee

USCIS requires you to prepare a check or money order for Form N-600 and attach proof of payment when applying.

Your payment must be made to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As with other forms and petitions, abbreviations are prohibited, so don’t write initials like “USDHS” or “DHS” on your financial papers. 

If you are abroad, contact a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate near you to learn how to make a valid payment for N-600. 

IMPORTANT: Your check or money order must come from a bank or financial institution inside the U.S. and must be paid in U.S. currency (U.S. Dollar).

What Documents Are Required to File Form N-600?

The N-600 processing timeline starts with the USCIS checking your application for completeness. Remember that incomplete applications will result in the rejection or denial of your application. In other words, ensure you have all N-600 documents ready before you begin the application. 

Form N-600 Necessary Documents Explained


Two passport photos

Applicant's birth certificate

U.S. citizen parent's birth certificate

Additional Documents (if applicable):

Proof of parent's U.S. national status (if not a citizen)

Proof of U.S. citizen parent's residency/presence

U.S. citizen parent's marriage certificate

Evidence of terminated prior marriage(s)

Legitimation proof (out-of-wedlock children)

Legal custody proof (divorced/separated parents, adopted children)

Physical custody proof

Permanent resident card copy (legal residents)

Full adoption decree copy (adopted children)

Re-adoption evidence (if applicable)

Legal name change evidence (if applicable)


2x2 inches, recent, color

Original or certified copy

Original or certified copy

Passport, Certificate of Naturalization, etc.

Tax returns, utility bills, etc

If applicable

If applicable

Marriage certificate, court order, etc.

Court orders, agreements

School records, medical records, etc.

If applicable


If applicable

Court orders, marriage certificates


Yes, under certain circumstances



Depends on situation

Varies based on eligibility criteria

Depends on situation

Depends on situation

Depends on situation

Depends on situation

Depends on situation

Depends on situation

Depends on situation

Depends on situation

USCIS will also ask you to provide additional information or evidence to support your Certificate for Citizenship application. Depending on the case, they might also ask you to offer the originals of some of the copies you submitted.

They might ask for original documents when you file your application or at any time while processing your N-600 application. If you submit original documents, USCIS will return them to you once they no longer need them.

You must also submit a full certified English translation if you submit documents in another language than English. In this case, the certified translator must guarantee the translation is correct and complete. This document must also have the date, the translator’s signature, full name, and contact information. 

IMPORTANT: Unless you live abroad (including military personnel stationed overseas), you don’t need to send photos with your application. For those outside the U.S., send two-color passport-style photos. If you’re stateside, USCIS will send you an appointment to a local ASC for photo-taking.

How to Apply for Certification for Citizenship

As with most immigration forms and petitions, you can apply online or via mail. Some applicants must apply exclusively via mail (and send the N-600 form plus documents in paper format). Let’s break things down. 

  • If you’re applying from outside the U.S., requesting a fee waiver, or are a military member/veteran filing independently, use the paper method (explained below).

How to Submit Form N-600 Online

You need to know this to submit the N-600 form online. 

  1. Create your USCIS account and follow their instructions.
  2. Pay the fee directly from your online account. No check writing or money orders are needed!
  3. Submit photos, documents, etc. Upload your images/scans electronically.
  4. Track your progress. Check the status of your application anytime.
  5. Stay informed. Get updates and respond to requests for evidence efficiently.
  6. Update your info: Change your address or contact details as needed.

How to Submit Form N-600: Certification for Citizenship via Mail

If you:

  • File by mail
  • Apply from outside the U.S.
  • Are military filing for yourself
  • Seek a fee waiver

Complete the N-600 form, print it, sign it, attach all required documents, and send your packet to USCIS at one of their mailing addresses, depending on where you live.

How to Fill Out Form N-600: Instructions and Tips

Make sure your Form N-600 is complete and correct to avoid delays. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Choose only one eligibility box in Part 1 of the N-600 form. Checking multiple boxes gets your application rejected. 
  • Sign on the dotted line. A signature is mandatory whether you’re the applicant or their parent/guardian. If you are below 14, your parent or legal guardian can sign the N-600 form. A legal guardian can also sign the application for a mentally incompetent person. 
  • A third-party filer must also sign the form. If another person prepares your application, they also must sign the application. If that person is an attorney or accredited representative, they must file the G-28 Form: Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, together with your N-600 application. 
  • Gather all required documents. This includes proof of your parent’s U.S. citizenship, legal status, and other supporting evidence. USCIS will tell you exactly what they need, depending on your situation. 
  • Meet filing deadlines: Submit your application before any upcoming travel or important events.
  • Seek professional help: Consult an immigration attorney for personalized guidance.

IMPORTANT! Claiming U.S. citizenship through your parents can be a complex process. This guide provides a starting point, but getting professional support is highly recommended to ensure a smooth and successful application.

Can USCIS Deny Your N-600 Form?

Yes, they can. Some of the main reasons USCIS denies Certification for Citizenship applications include:

  • Incomplete filing of Form N-600 or completion with mistakes;
  • You did not respond to a Request for Evidence;
  • You did not attach the required documentation to prove acquisition or derivation;
  • You failed to appear at your scheduled appointments;
  • You paid your N-600 fee wrong;

Receiving a denial on your Form N-600 application can be disheartening, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your journey. Understanding your options for appeal is crucial.

  • If USCIS rejects/denies your application, you have the right to appeal the decision in 30 days of receiving the USCIS notice. You can do it by filing Form I-290B: Notice of Appeal or Motion. Don’t bother refiling Form N-600, as they will reject it. 
  • If you miss the initial 30-day window for appeal, you still have an option. File a motion to reopen/reconsider your case using Form I-290B. This route requires demonstrating new evidence or legal arguments not previously presented.

Get Started with Form N-600 Today!

Use Immigration Direct’s online, easy-to-use software to avoid any Form N-600 mistakes during your application and get personalized filling tips and instructions depending on your current status and case!

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