When someone receives a naturalization certificate at the conclusion of the citizenship oath ceremony, it's important to review it for accuracy and alert a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official of any mistakes found there. However, in the excitement of the moment, it's not uncommon for people to fail to take a close enough look. Here's what to do if you discover a mistake, such as a misspelled name, the wrong birthdate, and so on.
People who discover an error on the naturalization certificate after they've left the swearing-in ceremony can send USCIS a request for a new one using Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.
This form is used for a variety of issues. An accurately prepared naturalization certificate should state the place of the person's application and the date and place of naturalization, and be signed (or stamped) by the Director of USCIS. There are also several pieces of personal information that must be present on a naturalization certificate:
If a USCIS signature is missing or if any personal or other information on the certificate is incorrect, you should submit Form N-565 to USCIS (along with your original naturalization certificate, which contains the mistake).
If the error on your naturalization certificate is USCIS's fault, you will not have to pay an application fee.
But if the error is your fault, perhaps because you provided incorrect information on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, or you failed to update this information prior to taking the naturalization oath, you will have to pay a filing fee. For the current USCIS fee, see the N-565 section of the USCIS website. Also see the USCIS Policy Manual for a summary of who owes a fee and 8 C.F.R. §338.5.
In Part 4 of Form N-565, explain why your information on the certificate is incorrect. You must also provide evidence of the correct information and why it was not your fault.
To prove that USCIS used incorrect information on your naturalization certificate, it can be crucial to provide an authoritative source of the real information. For a date of birth, for example, submit copies of your birth certificate, driver's license, and other official documents stating your birthday. The same would go for a misspelled name.
If the error was not your fault, also include a copy of your signed Form N-400 application for citizenship showing that you provided USCIS with the correct information.
You have two choices for filing your completed N-565: online (after creating an account with USCIS) or by mail, at the address provided on the USCIS site. Even if you file online, however, you will have to mail your original certificate and photos to the USCIS Service Center afterward.
Before sending anything to USCIS by mail, make a copy for yourself.
It can take several months for USCIS to process an N-565. If you need your naturalization certificate immediately (because you need to apply for a U.S. passport for upcoming travel, for example), include a letter requesting expedited service due to this necessity.
If you are filing an N-565 because of USCIS's error, state that in your cover letter.
Once USCIS has received your application, you can use the USCIS Contact Center to check the status of your application and, if need be, make an expedite request.
Although this is a task you don't necessarily need an immigration attorney for, it can be helpful to hire one in order to ensure that the paperwork is prepared correctly.