USCIS begins issuance of redesigned citizenship and naturalization certificates

In an effort to combat fraud and counterfeiting of immigration documents, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today began issuing redesigned citizenship and naturalization certificates with high-tech features to make them more secure.

The new certificate design was part of a pilot program in the Norfolk, Tampa, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Sacramento field offices, as well as the Nebraska Service Center. Following the success of the program, USCIS decided to implement it nationwide.

According to USCIS, periodically changing the design and printing methods of the certificates is one way to prevent forgery of the documents.

The new citizenship and naturalization certificates display a large central image against an intricately designed background, which helps prevent alteration of personal data. Each certificate has a unique image, which can only be seen under ultraviolet light. Any tampering attempt will be obvious.

Posthumous citizenship certificates and the special citizenship certificate each have a different image, although they have the same security features against fraud.

New certificate 2018 -N-550
This is an example of the 2018 redesigned certificate of naturalization (N-550). (USCIS)

The naturalization certificates are as follows:

N-550 - issued to an individual who obtains U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process

N-578 - issued to a naturalized U.S. citizen so that he or she may be recognized by a foreign country as a U.S. citizen

N-570 - issued when the original naturalization certificate has been lost, mutilated or contains errors.

The different types of citizenship certificates issued by USCIS are as follows:

N-569A - issued to an applicant who derived citizenship after birth;

N-560AB - issued to an applicant who acquired citizenship at birth;

N-645 and N-645A - issued to the family of a person who served honorably in the armed forces of the United States during a designated period of hostility and who died as a result of injury or illness arising out of or aggravated by that service. Form N-645 is issued if the deceased was a male, and Form N-645A if the deceased was a female.

N-561 - issued to replace a certificate of citizenship when the original certificate has been lost, mutilated or contains errors.

Although the appearance of the document is different, the process of requesting and receiving them has not changed.

Naturalization and citizenship certificates no need to be renewed, regardless of how they were issued. Documents issued prior to the redesign will continue to be accepted as proof of citizenship.