After taking the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance, new U.S. citizens are issued a Certificate of Naturalization as proof of their citizenship. With the certificate in your possession, you can obtain a U.S. passport and enjoy all other benefits given to a citizen.
But just like any document, this precious certificate can be stolen, lost, or destroyed. There is also a possibility of it being misprinted with an error. It may also become invalid if you have changed your name or gender after its issuance.
If you are in any of these situations, you will need to apply for a replacement of the certificate. This article provides a step by step guide on how to replace your naturalization certificate.
Eligibility for Filing Naturalization Replacement
You may request for naturalization certificate replacement if your case meets any of the following descriptions:
- If you have been issued a Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, Declaration of Intention or Repatriation Certificate which has been lost, mutilated, or destroyed
- If your name has been changed by marriage or by court order after the document was issued and you seek a document in the new name
- If you are a naturalized citizen desiring to obtain recognition as a citizen of the United States by a foreign country, you may apply for a special certificate for that purpose. Our office can help you obtain a replacement of your naturalization certificate.
- If your naturalization certificate or citizenship certificate contains a clerical or typographical error
- If you have legally changed your gender after the original naturalization certificate was issued to you
- You need a special certificate of naturalization for the purpose of a foreign country recognizing you as a U.S. citizen.
Replacement of Naturalization/Citizenship Document
Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document, is used to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a replacement of your Naturalization Certificate. You will need to submit your Form N-565 with supporting documents to justify the reason you are requesting a replacement.
NOTE: Form N-565 is strictly used for re-issuing citizenship certificates to those who have already been granted citizenship. Do not make the mistake of using it for a new citizenship application either as a lawful permanent resident seeking naturalization or a citizen requesting an original certificate. Forms N-400 and N-600 are for those two purposes respectively.
How to Apply for Naturalization Certificate Replacement
You have two options for submitting your Form N-565 with the United States of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They are
- Online Application
- Submission by Mail (paper)
How to File Form N-565 Online
To file your Form N-565 for naturalization replacement application online, you will need to start by creating an online account here. After setting up your online account, you will be permitted to proceed with the other stages of the application, which include:
- Making your filing fee payment online
- Checking of the status of your case
- Receiving notifications and updates on your case
- Responding to requests for evidence (RFE)
- Managing your contact information, including updating your address, if need be
After completing the online application, you may also be required to mail your original certificates and photos (if applicable) to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center. If this is necessary in your case, you will be told in the course of the application process.
How to File Form N-565 by Mail
You may submit your Form N-565 by mail to the following address:
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
P.O. Box 20050
Phoenix, AZ 85036
For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
NOTE: Even if you submitted your Form N565 by mail, you can still create an online account with USCIS to track and manage your case online. After submitting the naturalization replacement application form by mail, USCIS will send you an Account Acceptance Notice. This will contain guidelines on how to create your online account.
It is within your prerogative to either use the online account or choose not to. USCIS will still continue to process your naturalization replacement application even if you choose not to access the online account and you will continue to get your copies of notifications about your application by mail through the U.S. Postal Service.
Supporting Documents for Naturalization Replacement Application
Generally, naturalization certificate replacement applicants will need to submit the following supporting documents along with their Form N-565 application:
- Two identical passport-style photographs
- A sworn statement or police report if the original certificate was stolen, lost, or destroyed
- A copy of the original naturalization document if you are requesting a replacement due to a name, gender, or date of birth change
- Evidence of legal name change (if applicable)
- Evidence of a USCIS clerical or typographical error (if applicable)
- Evidence of legal gender change (if applicable)
- Evidence of legal date of birth (if applicable)
- Evidence of change in marital status (if applicable)
- A copy of your original citizenship certificate if you are applying for a special certificate of naturalization
Case-Specific Supporting Documents
Reasons for filing a naturalization replacement application can be grouped under two major categories. They are:
- Reasons not due to USCIS error
- Reasons due to USCIS error
The category your case falls into will largely determine the exact items you will need to submit and whether you will pay the application fee or not.
Reasons Not Due to USCIS Error
This implies that the request for replacement is due to either an error on your own part or a deliberate change made by you. This will require you to pay a filing fee for your N-565 application form. Apart from lost, stolen, or destroyed cases, other situations that may warrant filing a replacement under this category include:
A Name Change: For this, you may be required to submit any of the following:
- Marriage or divorce certificate
- Certified copy of court order
A Gender Change: You may be required to submit any of the following:
- Certified copy of an amended birth certificate
- Certified copy of a court order
- Medical certification by a licensed physician
- Any other official documentation recognizing your new gender by a U.S. local jurisdiction, state, or foreign state (e.g. passport, driver’s license).
Reasons Due to USCIS Error
If your naturalization certificate contains a clerical or typographical error by USCIS, you will need to provide the original certificate (containing the error) and proof of the incorrect information. For instance, if USCIS had issued the certificate with an incorrect name, you can provide a copy of your birth certificate as part of your evidence showing your correct name. In such an instance, you won’t need to pay a filing fee for your Form N-565.
Filing Fee for Naturalization Replacement
If your case requires a filing fee, you will need to pay $555 for your N-565 application.
How to Pay: If you file an online application, you may pay the fee online. If you file by mail, you may pay the fee using a personal check, money order, cashier’s check, or credit card. If you use a check, the check must be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The fee is a nonrefundable payment, regardless of any action USCIS takes on the application. In other words, you won’t get a refund even if the application is denied or withdrawn.
Processing Time for Naturalization Certificate Replacement
Going by the USCIS historical national average, the processing time for naturalization certificate replacement can range from three to six months and could be longer in some cases. The manner of information gathering and presentation can contribute significantly to the length of each applicant’s case. Applicants whose cases require RFEs will most likely experience longer processing times. You can avoid delays by getting your application right the first time. So, ensure you read the instructions carefully and provide the necessary documentation accordingly.
How VisaNation Law Group Immigration Attorneys Can Help
Whether you are applying afresh or requesting naturalization replacement, working with an immigration attorney will significantly improve your chances of getting an approval.
VisaNation Law Group’s team of immigration lawyers have extensive knowledge of the U.S. naturalization application process. They will help you prepare your case with all of the necessary documents and guide you throughout the process. You can count on us for both a new citizenship application and a naturalization replacement. Contact us and schedule an appointment with a VisaNation Law Group immigration lawyer today by filling out this consultation form.