USCIS Begins Issuing Redesigned Certificates of Naturalization and Certificates of Citizenship

On June 5, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had begun issuing redesigned Certificates of Citizenship and Naturalization on the same day [PDF version].

Prior to the release of the redesigned certificates, the USCIS piloted the new designs at four USCIS field offices and one USCIS service center:

Norfolk Field Office;
Tampa Field Office;
Minneapolis-St. Paul Field Office;
Sacramento Field Office; and
Nebraska Service Center.

The redesign affects the following three types of certificates of naturalization (form descriptions paraphrased from USCIS news alert):

N-550, issued to an individual who obtains U.S. citizenship through the U.S. naturalization process;
N-578, issued to a naturalized U.S. citizen for the purpose of obtaining recognition that recipient is a U.S. citizen from a foreign state;
N-570, issued when the original Certificate of Naturalization is lost, mutilated, or contains errors.

The redesign affects the following five types of certificates of citizenship (form descriptions paraphrased from USCIS news alert):

N-560A, issued to applicant who derived U.S. citizenship after birth;
N-560AB, issued to an applicant who derived U.S. citizenship at birth;
N-645, issued to the family of an individual who served honorably in the U.S. armed forces during a designated period of hostility and dies as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by that service (N-645 issued if the descendent was a male);
N-645A, same as N-645, but issued if the descendent was a female; and
Form N-561, issued to replace a Certificate of Citizenship when the original certificate is lost, mutilated, or contains errors.

The USCIS explained that the new certificates have been designed with features to help the USCIS “stay a step ahead of counterfeiters.” The new security and design features include:

A large central image against a complex patterned background;
A unique image only visible under ultraviolet light; and
Different images for Posthumous Certificates of Naturalization and the Special Certificate of Citizenship (but with same “fraud-deterrent security features”).

The USCIS stated that notwithstanding the new certificate designs, “the process of applying for and receiving [these certificates] has not changed.” Those who already have Certificates of Naturalization or Citizenship do not have to renew them. Previously issued certificates will continue to be accepted as proof of citizenship.

The USCIS website contains detailed information about forms and filing requirements. Those with case-specific or otherwise complex questions should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for case-specific guidance. Please see our website's section on Naturalization and Citizenship for a collection of articles that cover issues involving the naturalization process and requirements, derivation of citizenship, naturalization and citizenship-related forms, and other related issues [see category].