Naturalized U.S. citizens sometimes, most often when petitioning for family members to join them as immigrants in the United States, find themselves filling out forms from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that ask for their naturalization certificate number and date and place of issuance. If you're not sure where to look for these bits of information, or whether you've found the right number, keep reading.
First, let's make sure you are indeed a naturalized U.S. citizen, and therefore have such a certificate. A naturalized citizen is one who was neither born a U.S. citizen nor granted the status by "acquisition" or "derivation" from U.S. citizen parents, but instead became a U.S. citizen after submitting an application on Form N-400 and taking an exam.
Upon being sworn in as a U.S. citizen, you would have been given what's known as a "certificate of naturalization." It's also known as an N-550 or N-570.
Now take a look at your certificate. Although the design of these certificates has varied somewhat over the years, the requested "certificate number" is normally found at the top right-hand side of it, in red ink.
Do not get confused and use a number that appears somewhere else with a different designation, such as after "USCIS Registration No.," "CIS Registration No.," "Application No.," or "Petition No."
The "date and place issued" are also shown on the naturalization certificate.
For "place of issuance" of newer certificates, you'd look for the city and state where your oath ceremony took place, which is located lower down on the certificate. Don't use the city and state of the USCIS field office where your N-400 application was filed (which information also appears on the certificate), or of your residence at the time you got citizenship.
Older certificates show the location of the court that admitted you as a citizen. If that's what you have, use that location, rather than your city and state of residence at the time.
On newer certificates, the date of issuance is stamped or written right after the place of issuance. This will be the date of your oath ceremony, not the date your application for citizenship was approved or the date of your citizenship interview.
On older certificates, you'll see two dates: the date of your court appearance, and the date the court official signed the certificate. If there's any difference, use the date of the court's signature.
Let's also look at where you would gather the information requested in various immigration sponsorship documents if you are NOT a naturalized citizen, but instead received a certificate of citizenship in recognition of your status as a U.S. citizen through your parents. In this case, you would be asked to give that certificate number and date and place of issuance.
The certificate number on a certificate of citizenship is also on the top right-hand side in red (don't use the "USCIS Registration No.," "CIS Registration No.," "Petition No.," or "Application No.").
On newer certificates, the place of issuance is not stated, but can be presumed to be Washington, D.C. You can also use your residence at the time the certificate was issued, which is on the certificate, since this will help identify your certificate. Older certificates might have been issued by a court. If so, use the location of the court, not your residence.
Whether it's for a brief consultation to figure out this type of information, or more extensive assistance with sponsoring family members to immigrate to the United States, an experienced immigration attorney can be a great help in analyzing your situation and preparing the required paperwork and documents.