What is the Naturalization Certificate?

Gabriela Peratello
12.10.21
4 minute read

On the journey to become a US citizen through naturalization? You need to know about the Certificate of Naturalization.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the Certificate of Naturalization is different from the Certificate of Citizenship issued to those eligible to become US citizens who are born outside of the US. Instead, you’ll receive a Naturalization Certificate if you complete the process to become a naturalized US citizen.

This guide covers all you need to know including eligibility for the Certificate of Naturalization, and how to get a replacement Naturalization Certificate. We’ll also introduce Wise as a smart way to pay your USCIS fees if you’re using a foreign currency.

📑 Table of Contents

What is the Certificate of Naturalization?

The Certificate of Naturalization shows you hold US citizenship, and can be used as evidence of your nationality — for example, when applying for a passport¹.

Your Naturalization Certificate is an important document issued once the process of becoming a US citizen through naturalization is complete.

Do you need to apply for a Naturalization Certificate?

The Certificate of Naturalization is issued to anyone who has become a US citizen through naturalization.

Under normal circumstances you don’t need to apply specifically for this certificate. Instead, you’ll receive your certificate once your application has been approved, and after you've taken the Oath of Allegiance.

Replacement of the Naturalization Certificate

You can apply for a replacement of your Certificate of Naturalization under specific circumstances set out by USCIS. These include:

  • If your original certificate has been damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen
  • If your original certificate contains errors made by USCIS when issuing it
  • If your legal name, date of birth or gender has changed

No matter what the reason for your application to replace a Naturalization Certificate, the process you’ll need to follow will be the same. You’ll need to submit Form N-565² either online or by mail to USCIS, and provide additional information and documentation to show why you require a new certificate.

The exact paperwork you have to submit will depend on the situation — you may be asked to provide documents like:

  • A copy of the original document if it was damaged, lost or stolen
  • A police report if the certificate was reported missing
  • Your original certificate and proof of legal change of personal details if you need a replacement to reflect a name, birthdate or gender change
  • Evidence that there is an error on the original certificate as a result of USCIS processing

You’ll also usually need to send in passport style photographs — the full details of the documents required according to your application reason is available online when you file your Form N-565.

Replacement of Certificate of Naturalization — application process

Need a new Naturalization Certificate? The easiest way to get one is to apply online — here’s how.

  • Create or log into your USCIS online account³
  • Select the option to file Form N-565 online
  • Complete the information required to get your new Naturalization Certificate
  • Mail in any documents or photos required as part of your application
  • Pay your fees and track your application online through your USCIS account

It’s also possible to send your application in hard copy instead of completing the process online. In this case you can still create an account to track the progress of your application.

Fees to replace the Naturalization Certificate

The standard fee for replacement of the Naturalization Certificate is 555 USD. You can pay this online through your USCIS account at the time of filing your application. If you’re sending your application in hard copy you can mail a check or money order instead — or complete Form G-1450 to authorize a credit card payment.

No fee is payable if you can demonstrate that you need to replace the certificate due to an error made by USCIS when the original was issued.

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Contents of the certificate

When your Naturalization Certificate is issued it contains everything required to show you’re now a naturalized citizen of the US. This includes:

  • Your 6 — 8 digit Naturalization Certificate number
  • The date you became a naturalized US citizen
  • Your USCIS registration number (known as your A-number)
  • Your name, signature and photograph
  • Your marital status, town and state of residence
  • Your country of former nationality
  • Personal description such as your gender and height

How to get a copy of the Naturalization Certificate

If you’re dealing with US government agencies and need to show your status as a naturalized US citizen you’re usually able to provide a simple photocopy of your Naturalization Certificate. However, this is not always enough if you’re dealing with foreign government agencies — if you’re applying for a visa before traveling abroad for example.

If you need to show evidence of your naturalized US citizenship to an official body outside of the US, you’ll often be asked to provide an authenticated copy — also called a certified true copy — of your Naturalization Certificate. You can get this from your local USCIS office by attending an appointment and taking along both your original certificate, a photocopy and another form of ID. Make sure you specify when making your USCIS appointment, that you require a certified true copy of your Naturalization Certificate⁴.

What’s the difference between a Citizenship Certificate and the Naturalization Certificate?

We mentioned earlier that the Certificate of Naturalization is not the same as the Citizenship Certificate, even though both documents can be used to show you’re a US citizen.

The Citizenship Certificate is issued to people born outside of the US who are eligible for US citizenship through one or both of their parents. On the other hand, the Naturalization Certificate is issued to people who have become US citizens through the naturalization process instead.

Not sure whether you need the Certificate of Naturalization or the Citizenship Certificate? Learn more about the Certificate of Citizenship, here.

For many people, getting your Naturalization Certificate is one of the last steps on the journey to become a US citizen. Use this guide to understand the process to get, update or replace your Certificate of Naturalization, and don't forget to check out the Wise Multi-currency Account and card if you need an easy, cheap way to send and receive international payments.

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Sources:

  1. Travel.State - Citizenship evidence
  2. USCIS - N-565
  3. USCIS - My account
  4. USCIS - How do I obtain an authenticated copy of a certificate of naturalization

Sources checked on 10.11.2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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