US Naturalization and Citizenship: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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HomeUS CitizenshipUS Naturalization and Citizenship: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: I am a U.S. citizen. My child will be born abroad, or recently was born abroad. How do I register his or her birth and U.S. citizenship?

A: Please contact the U.S. State Department or the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in the country where your child will be born for more information about eligibility requirements and how to register your child’s U.S. citizenship.

Q: I was born overseas. My birth and U.S. citizenship were registered with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. I need a copy of the evidence of my citizenship. Whom should I contact?

A: Contact the U.S. State Department. For more information, please see their website at

Q: I was born overseas. I believe I was a U.S. citizen at birth because one or both my parents were U.S. citizens when I was born. But my birth and citizenship were not registered with the U.S. Embassy when I was born. Can I apply to have my citizenship recognized?

A: Yes, but please note whether or not someone born outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent is a U.S. citizen depends on the law in effect when the person was born. These laws have changed over the years, but usually require a combination of the parent being a U.S. citizen when the child was born, and having lived in the U.S. or its possessions for a period of time. The table on the next page gives some examples of recent requirements. Derivative citizenship can be quite complex and may require careful legal analysis.

Q: What documents are usually accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship?

A: The most common documents that establish U.S. citizenship are:

  • Birth Certificate, issued by a U.S. State (if the person was born in the U.S.), or by the U.S. Department of State (if the person was born overseas and the parents registered the child’s birth and U.S. citizenship at birth with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate).
  • U.S. Passport, issued by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Certificate of Citizenship, issued to a person born outside the U.S. who was still a U.S. citizen at birth, or to a person who later automatically became a U.S. citizen.
  • Naturalization Certificate, issued to a person who became a U.S. citizen after birth through the naturalization process.

Q: How do I replace a lost, stolen, or destroyed naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship?

A: To apply to replace your naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship issued by us or by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, file a Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization Citizenship Document. The N-565 application is available on our website.

Q: Are there special accommodations for applicants with disability for the naturalization process?

A: Some people with disabilities need special consideration during the Naturalization process. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will make every effort to make reasonable accommodations in these cases. For example, if you use a wheelchair, the USCIS will ensure your fingerprint location is wheelchair accessible. If you are hearing impaired and wish to bring a sign language interpreter to your interview, you may do so. Asking for an accommodation will not affect your Naturalization Eligibility. The USCIS makes decisions about making accommodations on a case-to-case basis.

Q: Do I need to renew my permanent resident card when the USCIS issues a new version of the card?

A: No, you only need to renew your permanent resident card when it expires.

Q: Can I become a U.S. citizen again after losing my U.S. Citizenship once?

A: Probably, some Supreme Court decisions have opened the way for review of many loss of Citizenship cases. Although each case is different, many do not stand up to the revised level of scrutiny and can be vacated with the consequent restoration of Citizenship.


You can also go through the Naturalization process to regain U.S. Citizenship, provided you have a way to acquire permanent residence.

Q: What is CPIAP, Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program?

A: Separate from the Two-Parent Consent requirement for U.S. passport issuance for minors under the age of 14, parents may also request that their children’s names be entered in the U.S. passport name-check system. The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program provides:

Notification to parents of passport applications made on behalf of minor children, and denial of passport issuance if appropriate court orders are on file with CPIAP. For more information, contact the Office of Children’s Issues at 202-736-7000, or, by fax at 202-312-9743. Go to more information on the Office of Children’s Issues.

Q: How can I change my name on my U.S. passport?

A: You will need to complete Form DS-19, Passport Amendment/Validation Application, and submit it along with the following:

  • Certified documentation of your name change (e.g. marriage certificate, divorce decree with your new name)
  • Your current, valid passport

Q: Are there special naturalization steps and rules for US Military Personnel?

A: Yes, there are special rules for US Military Personnel. Please refer to this guide for detailed information.



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