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Form N-600: How to Get a Certificate of Citizenship

October 18, 2021
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Summary

There are many benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen. You can work in federal jobs, vote in state and national elections, and live outside the United States for a prolonged time. You can become a U.S. citizen by birth in the United States, by birth to U.S. citizen parents, or by naturalization. In this article, you'll learn if you can apply for a certificate of citizenship with a Form N-600, what documents you'll need to apply, how much it costs, and how long it takes to get it.

Overview

What is Form N-600?

Form N-600 is officially named “Application for Certificate of Citizenship.” This form helps you get proof of your right to citizenship if you were born outside of the United States to a U.S. citizen parent. This form will help you prove you are a U.S. citizen although you were born abroad. This Certificate of Citizenship is essential for getting a U.S. passport or immigration benefits for your spouse or family. Some government agencies and employers may request this. 

You can either file this form online or print it out, fill it out in black ink, and send it to the appropriate USCIS mailing address or P.O. box.

Who Can File Form N-600?

You can file Form N-600 if you were born outside of the United States to at least one biological or adoptive parent who is a U.S. citizen. You must be a minor child, or younger than eighteen, currently living in the United States, and  in the physical and legal custody of the U.S. citizen parent. If you are under 18, a legal guardian or parent can file this form for you. 

There are two different categories of eligibility—acquisition, and derivation. You are eligible to be a citizen by acquisition if you were born outside of the United States to at least one parent with U.S. citizenship. You can get derivative citizenship if you were born to parents who naturalized into citizens before you turned 18 years of age. In this instance, your parents may have been lawful permanent residents or green card holders when you were born and are now U.S. citizens. 

Who can't file Form N-600?

You should not submit a Form N-600 application if: 

  • You were born in the United States. Your U.S. birth certificate is your proof of citizenship. 
  • You became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Your Certificate of Naturalization is your proof of citizenship. 
  • You are currently abroad. Instead, you should apply for a passport through the U.S. State Department
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) already issued you a Citizenship Certificate in the past. If you need to replace your form for some reason, fill out Form N-565, officially named “Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.” 
  • You are not the adopted or biological child of a U.S. citizen mother or U.S. citizen father.
  • You are a permanent resident applying for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. Instead, use Form N-400, officially named “Application for Naturalization.” 

You filed Form N-600 in the past, and USCIS had already issued a decision.

What Documents Do You Need to File Form N-600?

Form N-600 will ask for your specific identifying information such as your contact information, date of birth, social security number, and alien registration number, or A-number. You will need to clarify if you are a lawful permanent resident, nonimmigrant, refugee, asylee, or otherwise. You will also have to provide specific details about your parents and confirm the dates of your physical presence in the United States. To supplement the answers you provide, you need to submit these supporting documents along with your Form N-600:

  • Two 2-inch by 2-inch passport-style photos
  • Your birth certificate or record
  • Evidence of your parent’s U.S. citizenship
  • The U.S. citizen parent’s birth certificate 

You may also have to provide: 

  • Proof of your parent’s status as a U.S. national 
  • Proof of your U.S. citizen parent’s residence or physical presence in the United States 
  • Your U.S. citizen parent’s marriage certificate 
  • If applicable, evidence of your U.S. citizen parent’s prior terminated marriages or divorce documents 
  • Proof of legitimation for children born out of wedlock 
  • Proof of legal custody, if your parents are divorced or legally separated, or you are adopted 
  • Proof of physical custody like tax returns or medical records
  • A copy of your permanent resident card or other evidence of permanent resident status 
  • If applicable, a complete, final adoption decree
  • If applicable, all legal name changes 

You may have to appear for an in-person interview or biometric services appointment if USCIS requests it. If your documents are not in English, you need a translation for them. You will have to include your original document, the translated document, and an affidavit from a translator certifying its accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) About Form N-600

Here are some answers to common questions, such as the cost of filing and the time it takes to process Form N-600.  

How much does it cost to file Form N-600?

The filing fee for Form N-600 is $1,170. You can get a fee waiver if you are a member of the U.S. armed forces, but not if you are an adopted child or a child of a veteran or member of the U.S. armed forces. You can pay with a credit card or via money order or check to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

How long does it take to process Form N-600?

Generally, the processing time for N-600 applications is around 13.5 months. The time it takes depends on which USCIS office handles your application.

Conclusion

Getting a Certificate of Citizenship can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier. If you want to apply for citizenship but can't afford the attorney fees and don't want to handle your case alone, we may be able to help. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!

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