What Happens If I Lost My US Citizenship Certificate?

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Citizenship

Your US citizenship certificate is an important document that can help prove that you are a citizen of the United States of America and losing it can make you anxious. So, you may be wondering ‘what happens if I lost my US citizenship certificate?’

By submitting Form N-565, your Naturalization/Citizenship certificate can be replaced by a fresh copy if it is misplaced, stolen, or destroyed.

Immigrants who successfully complete the naturalization process and become citizens of the United States are given a naturalization certificate. In contrast, individuals born abroad who obtained or derived their citizenship from a parent who is a citizen of the US are given a citizenship certificate.

If your Naturalization Certificate, Citizenship Certificate, Repatriation Certificate or Declaration of Intention was lost, damaged, or destroyed, you must file Form N-565 as per the USCIS guidelines.

You must ensure that the application package is filled correctly and all the required documents are

attached. Even minor issues with the application could lead to it being rejected or delayed. Contact an experienced immigration attorney in San Jose now to get help with filing Form N-565 and avoid unnecessary and expensive delays or rejections.

In this article, let’s understand everything about a citizenship certificate and what you can do if you lose it.

What does a citizenship certificate mean?

A citizenship certificate serves as official documentation of a person’s citizenship in the United States. Two types of people typically receive citizenship certificates. Derivative citizenship is one such category. Upon fulfilling certain requirements, children who hold permanent residency and whose mother and father become citizens of the United States may automatically qualify for citizenship.

Derivative citizenship refers to the citizenship granted to children when their parents are naturalized. The second category is referred to as Acquired Citizenship. When a child takes birth abroad through parents who hold at least one American citizenship, that child is considered to have acquired citizenship.

Although a US Citizenship Certificate isn’t always necessary for naturalization, it can be a crucial piece of documentation if you ever need to establish your citizenship. A citizenship certificate is not mandatory, but if your citizenship status is in question, it can be a crucial piece of evidence.

This document fulfils all the specifications for supporting documentation when submitting a

passport application. This document will confirm your citizenship status if you need to show it to US immigration officials. It is expensive to obtain and nearly as expensive to replace, but possessing the document could prove to be very valuable to you in the future.

What is a naturalization certificate?

A naturalization certificate is a record that certifies that a person has successfully completed the naturalization process and is now a citizen of America. Foreign-born people who want to become citizens of the United States must complete the naturalization procedure. Getting a green card, commonly called a permanent resident card, is the first step in this procedure.

How can you request for the replacement of your citizenship certificate?

The federal Department of Homeland Security is home to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Among its many other duties, USCIS issues permanent resident cards, citizenship certificates, and naturalization certificates.

Anyone looking to replace a naturalization or citizenship certificate must complete Form N-565 and submit it online or via postal mail. “Application for Replacement of Naturalization/Citizenship Document” is the name of the form.

You must assemble and mail the finished N-565 application to the USCIS if you want to request a replacement for your lost, stolen, or damaged citizenship certificate. Don’t forget to include the correct check (submission charges) and supporting documents with the application (if any).

The instructions page that is included with the application can be used to find out details about the charges, the postal address, and the supporting documentation required.

In order to avoid having your application returned to you for an incorrect fee or postal address, please be extra careful when reading the instructions.

Who is eligible to apply for a replacement certificate?

Applying for a new citizenship document is possible if you:

  • Have received a naturalization certificate, citizenship certificate, declaration of intention certificate, or certificate of repatriation that was misplaced, stolen, or damaged;
  • A typographical error was made by USCIS on your certificate of naturalization, citizenship, declaration, or repatriation;
  • After the document was issued, your name changed due to a court order or marriage, and you now desire a document with your new name;
  • After your Certificate of Citizenship was issued, you received a court ruling or a government document modifying your birth date. Now you need a certificate that has your new birth date;
  • You have received a certificate of naturalization or citizenship. But your gender change has been approved by court order, a government document, or a healthcare certification after receiving the certificate;
  • You are a citizen through naturalization looking for a unique naturalization certificate in order to have a foreign nation recognize your citizenship.

Additionally, your application is only considered valid if you submit a complete application package that is properly filled with the correct fees.

us citizenship and passports

What does the application include?

There are multiple parts of the application. Here is what each part entails.

Parts 1 and 2

Individuals must complete Part 1 of the form by providing personal information such as their legal name, birthdate, place of birth, and the certificate number that needs replacement. Additionally, the complete postal address of the individual must be entered. Individuals must choose the application as well as specify the application’s purpose in Part 2. (For example, their original citizenship certificate is lost or destroyed, their gender has changed legally, their name has changed legally, etc).

Parts 3 and 4

Individuals must complete Part 3 by providing data about the registration of the original citizenship certificate, as well as their gender, height, and marital status. People who are requesting a new certificate due to their current one being incorrect must do so in accordance with Part 4. They must

provide an explanation of the error as well as copies of supporting documentation.

Parts 5 to 9

Parts 5, 6, and 7 request details pertaining to requests for name changes, birth date changes, and gender changes. In order to register for a special naturalization certificate, Part 8 requires applicants to submit personal data. The USCIS or Embassy Official’s signature and date are required in Part 9.

Applicant’s Statement

The individual must fill out an “Applicant’s Statement” after Part 9. The applicant indicates in this declaration whether or not they are able to read and comprehend English. They must also indicate whether they have already read and understood all of the application’s questions, guidelines, and answers. A different option is to request that a language interpreter read all of the application’s instructions and questions to you in your language. The language interpreter’s personal details have to be added in Part 10.

The application process

Once you have filled out Form N-565, you must attach all the supporting documents that are required and mail the package to USCIS. You can find their latest mailing address here.

In addition to the supporting documents, you must also mail two color photos of yourself. The photo must have been taken no more than 30 days prior to submitting this application because it needs to

show your current facial features.

The mutilated document must be enclosed with your application if the purpose of filing it is to obtain a replacement for one that has been damaged. Papers in a different language must be supported by a complete English translation that is certified as accurate and complete by the translator.

After receiving your mail-in application for a replacement citizenship certificate, USCIS will begin processing it. It will be reviewed for completeness and to determine whether the required initial evidence and submission fees have been provided.

Submissions that are incomplete or don’t include the required preliminary evidence won’t be considered eligible, and the USCIS will likely reject them.

If your N-565 application is not appropriately signed or is not supported by the correct fee, the USCIS will send you a notice stating that it is deficient. Therefore, it is crucial to take extra care to send a complete application with the required supporting materials and fees.

You should anticipate receiving an Application Receipt Notice with a 13-character Application Receipt number within 30 days of mailing your application to the USCIS.

You can rest easy knowing that your application has been received by USCIS and is currently being

processed thanks to this Receipt Notice. While your application is pending, you can follow its development using the number on the receipt.

When you visit their office for an interview, the USCIS may eventually ask for more details. Additionally, they might ask for the original versions of any documents you provide.

If everything goes according to plan and the USCIS determines you meet the requirements for the certificate, your application would be accepted and you will receive the new document.

The USCIS will notify you in writing why your application is rejected in case of a denial. On average, the

Form N-565 procedure can take a minimum of four or five months. While you can now complete this entire process online, including the payment of submission fees. However, the timeline for processing remains similar regardless of online or offline submissions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now that we have discussed the entire process of applying for a replacement citizenship certificate, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions that you may have.

What are the current submission fees for a replacement certificate?

An original citizenship certificate costs more than $1,000. There is a $555 replacement fee for a replacement citizenship certificate when submitting form N565. Although it is expensive, this document guarantees that you will always have the necessary proof on hand. Payment options for the fee include money order, check, and credit card, depending on your mode of application (online or offline).

While filing offline, what do I need to keep in mind?

Form N565 must be filled out in legible, clear handwriting. Although it is entirely optional for you to

fill out the form, incomplete responses will cause processing to take longer. Each question must be

answered, and if it doesn’t apply to you, you should write “N/A.” If you need more room for your responses, you must enclose a second sheet of paper. It must have a header that includes your name and, if available, your alien number. The form must be completed in black ink.

What factors affect the processing time for a replacement certificate application?

A few variables most significantly impact the processing time for Form N-565. Your location and the quality of your application will determine this. Although you have no control over where you file, you do have control over how your Form N-565 is put together.

Your case won’t be delayed if the application is fully and accurately filled out. You must also make sure

that the proper supporting documentation is included. Although the USCIS website contains comprehensive instructions, there is an easier method. Your immigration attorney can help you get through this process much faster and without mistakes.

Final thoughts

If you’ve been wondering ‘what happens if I lost my US citizenship certificate’, don’t panic! You can apply for a replacement certificate with the USCIS and receive your replacement in less than a year.

You can use the information given above to understand the process and follow some of the guidelines mentioned to start filling up your application. However, you must be extremely careful with how you fill it and the supporting documentation and submission fees you attach with the form.

It can be easy to make a minor error when it comes to such a detailed application and it can lead to delays or rejection of your application. It’s always best to get help from qualified and experienced professionals to ensure everything is done right.

Contact us now to speak with the best immigration attorneys in San Jose who can help you complete your application for the replacement of your citizenship certificate quickly and easily.