Naturalization is the general process by which a person who is not born in the US becomes a US citizen. This is also referred to as the acquisition of US citizenship. Once a person obtains US Citizenship, they will receive a Certificate of Naturalization, which is proof that they obtained US citizenship through the naturalization process.
How to apply for a Certificate of Naturalization?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues the Certificate of Naturalization. This document is given only people who are naturalized US citizens. United States citizenship affords an individual a greater number of privileges, usually not enjoyed by legal permanent residents and non-immigrant visa holders. These extra benefits include the right to vote, the ability to sponsor family members to become permanent residents (Green Card holders), the ability to work for the federal government and the right to run and hold elected office. And remember that the naturalization certificate is one of the proofs that a person has that say that you are a US citizen and you are afforded all the benefits that come with that privilege. There are cases in which the individual can become de-naturalized if the original act of naturalization becomes invalid due to an administrative error or any kind of fraud that is unveiled at a later date.
If your Certificate of Naturalization ever is lost, damaged or mutilated, or may need an update due to a change in your name though marriage or court decree, then one should file Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document, with the USCIS. A Replacement certificate of citizenship can be filed for by using the form N 565. Again, to reiterate the reasons for filing Form N 565 in regards to the Certificate of Naturalization:
If one’s naturalization certificate is lost, stolen or mutilated/damaged; or
If one’s name has changed due to marriage or divorce after the certificate was issued.
In cases where the US citizen needs a certified copy of the original Certificate of Naturalization, they must make an appointment with their local USCIS office through the InfoPass Appointment Scheduler located on the USCIS website. When one goes to your appointment, the individual should bring the original naturalization certificate, as well as a copy of it. One should also bring a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or a passport. A USCIS officer will then review the relevant documents and may certify the copy, if the officer is able confirm the individual’s identity and status as a naturalized citizen.
Remember that a valid and current Certificate of Naturalization and US passport are the only proofs that an individual has that one is a naturalized US citizen. Therefore, be vigilant in keeping the documents up to date.