What Happens If the Information on My Naturalization Certificate Is Incorrect?

Dealing with USCIS mistakes on the certificate you're given after being sworn in for U.S. citizenship.

By , Attorney · Temple University Beasley School of Law

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.

Using USCIS Form N-565 to Request a New Naturalization Certificate

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:

  1. Name. (If you requested a name change on your N-400, your new name should be on your naturalization certificate.)
  2. Date of birth.
  3. Gender.
  4. Height.
  5. Country of former nationality.

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).

Will You Have to Pay the N-565 Fee to USCIS?

If the error on your naturalization certificate is USCIS's fault, you will not have to pay an application fee. If you file by mail (paper) instead of online, you may pay using a money order, personal check, cashier's check, or credit card. For the latter, you'll need to include Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

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 actual correct information and why the error was not your fault.

Submitting Documents in Support of Your Form N-565

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.

Submitting Form N-565 to USCIS

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. That includes the check or money order, if you owe a fee and pay by one of these methods.

It can take several months for USCIS to process an N-565. (Check the agency's latest processing times.) 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. It's wise to call the Contact Center early in the day, because you'll most likely need to request a call-back rather than being allowed to talk to a live person right away.

Getting Legal Help

Although getting a replacement naturalization certificate 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 and to answer all your questions.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you

Talk to an Immigration attorney.

We've helped 85 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you