Did you lose your proof of citizenship? Need documentation for a United States Passport application? See the legal guide below or the original as posted to Avvo.com. See disclaimers at the bottom of this page and also feel free to view the original article on Avvo.com.
Certain applications, such as a U.S. Passport application, require proof of naturalization or citizenship. What do you do when you’ve lost your proof or need to obtain it for the first time? See below for details.
Where you born in the United States of America?
No need to continue further down this list, your birth certificate is proof enough. Your birth state’s records department would be the place to contact for certified copies.
Were one or both of your parents US citizens when you were born outside the US?
You may qualify for “citizenship through derivation” – you can see if you qualify by looking at the requirements for the N-600 form at USCIS.gov. It can be very complex, seek an attorney’s advice if going this route! Or, if your birth was registered at an Embassy, contact the US Department of State.
Did one or both of your parents naturalize while you were under the age of 18?
If you were under 18, the document you’re seeking is a “certificate of citizenship” because you would not have gone through the naturalization yourself. If you’ve never had this form before, you’ll want to apply through an N-600 (the fee is, interestingly enough, currently $600 to file). If you need a replacement document, see USCIS.gov for the form for N-565. The $345 fee may have changed, be sure to read the instructions for the form to find out where to file it, Nebraska or Texas depending on your current state of residence.
Did you obtain citizenship when you were over 18 through naturalization?
The document you’ll need is a naturalization certificate. See USCIS.gov for the form for N-565 to obtain a replacement document. The fee associated with it is $345 as of the writing of this guide, check with USCIS for updates/changes.
Note about name changes…
The N-565 form for replacement documents can be used to obtain a new copy of your documents with a new name (say, if you got married and your naturalization certificate reflects a maiden name).