What Newly Naturalized Citizens Have to Do

Once you receive your Certificate of Naturalization, have at least one backup copy of it. You can make backup copies of your certificate in case it is lost, damaged, or stolen. Unlawful copying means copying for falsifying or altering the photo, altering the information on the certificate, copying so others may use the certificate, and copying for counterfeiting or other criminal activity.

As you hand over your green card at the naturalization ceremony, your citizenship certificate is all you have to prove your right to live and work in the US. Make sure you carry it only when you are required to legally prove your citizenship (such as at the border or while applying for a job). It is better advised you keep your Certificate of Naturalization in a bank safe-deposit box.

Another important step is to apply for a US passport. Even if you don’t have plans of leaving the US anytime soon, there are any reasons for getting a passport. Remember that a US passport is an alternate form of legal proof of American citizenship as US passports are issued only to US citizens. Instead of using your Certificate of Naturalization while traveling or while applying for a job, you can use your US passport. Passports are another form of picture identification that you can use at banks, airports, and government offices. All US passports have digital pictures and holographic images making them nearly impossible to counterfeit. So even if you happen to miss your driver license, you have your passport as an alternative form of picture ID.

An individual who has a change in his/her immigration or citizenship status is required to report the change to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Once you report this change, the social security database will be updated reflecting you as a US citizen. Note this database is shared with all federal agencies and many other state agencies. It validates your citizenship status with the federal and state governments. Having updated your status with the SSA also means that it will be easier in the future while applying for and receiving all social security benefits entitled to you.

Some disability benefits are only available to US citizens in some states. By updating your citizenship status with the SSA, you will get all disability, retirement, and social security benefits for which you qualify as an American citizen. To report the change, you have to complete Form SS-5. You have to go to your local Social Security Administration office in person to apply. The change cannot be made by mail. A Social Security Administration office staff will conduct an interview.

As soon as you become a US citizen, another important thing to do is register to vote. As a citizen you have the privilege to vote and participate in the election process. Only citizens have this right.

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