The New Naturalization Certificate

You can use the Certificate of Naturalization as proof of your US citizenship. You will get it once you take the Oath of Allegiance to the US. With Citizenship, you can vote and travel with a US passport. This does not include all the rights of being a US citizen.

The USCIS recently launched a redesigned Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550). It has new security features that is aimed at preventing fraud. This is USCIS’ efforts to increase the integrity of the US immigration process. USCIS has stated using the redesigned certificates at all offices roughly estimates over 600,000 new citizens will get the redesigned certificate during the next year. Earlier, the certificates contained hard-copy photos of the individual. The redesigned certificate has the individual’s digitized photo and signature enclosed into the certificate. The background also has an enhanced ink pattern that makes it very difficult to reproduce it. The USCIS has a more secure printing process that makes the certificate more tamper-proof.

The USCIS is expected to fully transition to an automated production process for the new certificates by the end of the year. Automating this process will lead to more consistency and lesser time to prepare the certificates. The USCIS offices in Atlanta, Denver and Baltimore will be the first to execute the change to an automated process. Subsequently all other offices will change to the automated process roughly within two months. All newly naturalized citizens will receive the redesigned certificate, some classifications of candidates, including military personnel stationed overseas and homebound candidates, will receive certificates that will have hard-copy photos on their certificates.

Note that the issuance of this redesigned Certificate of Naturalization will not affect the processing time for N400, Application for Naturalization. Applicants will still be required to submit their fingerprints and two hard-copy photos. All Application Service Center (ASC)s will also take a digital photograph and digital signature for every N-400 applicant. Remember that all Certificates of Naturalization issued earlier continue to remain valid. USCIS has also revised the wording to reflect the current provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) better. In particular, sentence that states that the candidate resides in the US and “intends to reside in the US when so required by the Naturalization laws of the US” has been deleted. Note that these alterations only affect the form of the certificate. It does not change any legal requirements for naturalization or USCIS processing.



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