If you want to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship, you may file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship with the USCIS.
However, if you lost your Citizenship/Naturalization Certificate then Form N-600 cannot be filed. To replace lost or damaged Citizenship Certificate you may file form N-565.
Who is eligible to File Form N-600?
You maybe eligible to file Form N-600 if:
1. You need a Certificate of Citizenship because you were born in a foreign country to a U.S. citizen parent or
2. You need a Certificate of Citizenship as you became a U.S. citizen automatically after birth, but this was before you reached 18 years of age. Note that your parent or your legal guardian can also file this form on your behalf if you are a minor.
This process is a bit complicated as different laws apply to find out if you automatically became a U.S. citizen at birth, or after birth but before you reached 18 years of age.
If you are applying for citizenship based on being born abroad to U.S. citizen parents, your date of birth is a major factor in establishing your eligibility. You have to be the biological child of your U.S. citizen parent, and different rules apply, such as if you were born in wedlock or out-of-wedlock.
If you are claiming U.S. citizenship after birth, but before you reached 18 years of age, you have to meet certain conditions:
1. Your parent has to be a U.S. citizen
2. You have to be the biological child of the U.S. citizen parent
3. You should be admitted to the U.S. lawfully for lawful permanent residence and
4. You should be living in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the said U.S. citizen parent.
Remember that filing this form is not to request to become a U.S. citizen. It is only a request to get a Certificate of Citizenship that will give you a recognition that you became a U.S. citizen on a particular date.
A child who was adopted can also get U.S. citizenship through his/her adoptive U.S. citizen parent and this depends on the law being applied.
At present, an adopted child is eligible for U.S. citizenship through his/her U.S. citizen parent. But note that stepchildren are not eligible for U.S. citizenship under this rule.
On the positive side, if you are now 18 years old and all of the conditions mentioned above apply to you before you turned 18 and you were below 18 years on February 27, 2001, you may file this application to get a Certificate of Citizenship.
But note that, if you were under 18 years as on February 27, 2001, and you did not meet all the conditions mentioned above before your 18th birthday, you have to qualify for citizenship on your own.
Who should not file Form N-600?
You should not submit this application if:
1. You do not have at least one biological or adoptive U.S. citizen parent
2. You are the child of U.S. citizen parents who permanently reside abroad
3. You were born out-of-wedlock and not legitimated before your 16th birthday and your U.S. citizen parent is your father. However, remember that this rule will not affect you if you were born abroad to an eligible U.S. citizen mother. In this case, you can also qualify for citizenship through the naturalization of your mother.
4. You want to replace a lost or stolen certificate.
5. You earlier submitted Form N-600 to the USCIS and already received a decision for that from them.
Make sure your application is properly signed while filing. Please remember that stamped or typewritten name is not allowed. If you are below 14 years of age, your parent or legal guardian can sign the application. A legal guardian is also authorized to sign for a mentally incompetent person.
If another person prepares your application, he/she has to sign the application. Please remember that stamped or typewritten names will not be accepted instead of a signature. If that person is an attorney or accredited representative, he/she has to file Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative along with your N-600 application.
While filing your form, ensure that you submit all the evidence listed by the USCIS. You will find these in the instructions page that comes along with the application.
After you complete and send your application to the USCIS, they will check if the application is complete. They then will notify you if you have to attend a biometric services appointment. If biometrics is needed, USCIS will inform you about the date, time and location of the local or designated USCIS Application Support Center (ASC).
If you are living abroad during that time, USCIS will ask you to contact a U.S. Embassy, U.S. Consulate, or USCIS office in the country you are currently living in, to get an appointment. Not attending your biometric services appointment will lead to your application getting rejected by the USCIS.
Supporting Documents for N-600
As part of the process, you have to submit copies of the documents requested. USCIS will specifically mention if you have to submit an original document.
They might ask for the original document at the time you file your application or at any time during the processing of your application. If you submit original documents as requested by the USCIS, they will return it to you as soon as they determine they no longer need the original.
If you are submitting a document that is not in the English language, make sure you also submit a full English translation of the document. In this case, the person translating the document has to sign a certification that the translation is complete and correct.
That person should also prove that he/she is competent to translate the document that is in a foreign language, into English. This certification must have the date, the translator’s signature, printed name and can also have the translator’s contact information.
Filing Fee for Form N-600
The filing fee for Form N-600 is $1,170. However, you may need not pay the filing fee if you are a member or veteran of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces filing for yourself.
However, if you are the child of members or veterans of the Armed Forces, you have to pay the submission fee. The submission fee will not be refunded, whether your application is approved or rejected.
While paying, make sure you do not pay by cash. You are required to prepare a check or money order for the Form N-600 submission fee. Please note that the check or money order you are preparing has to be drawn on a bank or any other financial institution that is in the U.S and has to be paid in U.S. currency.
It has to be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and remember, not to use initials “USDHS” or “DHS”. In case you are abroad, please get in touch with the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate to know the mode of payment.
The processing starts with the USCIS checking your application for completeness. It is very important to note that incomplete applications will result in rejection or denial of your application.
USCIS will ask you to furnish additional information or evidence to support your application. As mentioned earlier, they might also ask you to furnish the originals of any copies you submit.
Interview and Final Decision
You might be requested to attend an interview at a USCIS office. During the time of your interview or any other time at the USCIS office, you might be asked to provide your fingerprints, photos or signature to prove your identity.
Based on the information on your application and your interview, USCIS will determine if you qualify for the immigration benefit you applied for. They will notify you of their decision on your application.
What happens if my Form N-600 is approved?
If your Form N-600 is approved by the USCIS, you will be issued a Certificate of Citizenship. You will have to take the Oath of Allegiance if you are above 14 years of age.
The Oath ceremony may be conducted on the same day as your interview. If not, you will be informed about when you need to appear at a USCIS to take the Oath.
What happens if my Form N-600 is denied?
If your Form N-600 is denied by the USCIS, you may appeal the decision by filing Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. The appeal has to be filed within 30 days of the date of the USCIS decision. If you fail to do so, you won’t be able to file another Form N-600.
Filing another Form N-600 is of no use as it will be rejected. The option you have is to appeal within 30 days of getting the USCIS decision or if those 30 days have passed, you need to file a motion to reopen or reconsider your case. This needs to be done using Form I-290B.