Updated: Oct 1
Obtaining your or your child’s Certificate of Citizenship (COC) can be overwhelming, but we advocate that you don’t wait. You might have heard of others having to wait to get their passport, driver’s license, go to college, or even travel due to lack of proof of citizenship. Maybe you have not run into those same issues, so you have pushed off the daunting tasking of filling out more paperwork. **As of 10/1/2020 USCIS announced that fees will remain the same until further notice and will not be dropping as previously stated from USCIS**
Here is more information on why it might be time to look into getting started, and other things to know even if you already have your or your child’s COC.
1. I or my child has a passport and/or state issued ID as proof of citizenship. Even though those items can prove citizenship, the COC is the only permanent way to change citizenship. In order to renew your passport or driver’s license you may be asked for proof of permanent citizenship. The COC is the only document that will suffice that request.
2. Social Security Administration requires the COC in order to list you or your child as a citizen in its database. Which means that having a passport, driver’s license, or state issued birth certificate is not enough to change you or your child’s status at the social security office. If you have obtained a COC it is best to call your local social security office to confirm status change. We have heard of individuals whose status was not correctly updated and that created problems.
3. Will I need to renew my or my child’s COC? No, this document is permanent. If you have a name change, it is recommended you change your COC to reflect that name change but this document never expires as proof of citizenship, unlike passports or state issued ID’s.
4. What if I or my child has a state issued birth certificate, will that work as proof of citizenship? No, state issued birth certificates will state foreign place of birth, leading to lack of proof of permanent citizenship.
5. I have not had issues when my child or I have applied for passport renewal, driver’s license, and/or college loans. Why do I need a COC then? We would love to say that you will be fine and you will not have, but that risk can be large when dealing with citizenship in the US. We have seen an increase of requests for proof of COC at places like DMV, college applications, job applications, and even at immigration when entering/exiting the country for vacation.
6. How long does it take to obtain your COC? Timeframes vary but as of May 31, 2020 the average processing time for a COC is a little over 9-12 months. This means that obtaining this document is not immediate, so you will not want to wait until it has become an issue.
7. Where do I apply? For more information on how to apply or Frequently Asked Questions click on the two links below:
We recognize that this process can be overwhelming and expensive. There are options for financial help, which you can find at the link above in the Frequently Asked Questions. If you have more questions or need more resources to obtain your or your child’s COC please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.