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Wrong Birthdate on Certificate of Naturalization

This FAQ is based on a common question we receive.

“My foreign birth certificate was recorded with the wrong year of birth. I have confirmed that my date of birth is incorrect. I was born in 1984, but it was recorded on my documents as 1979. I have received a copy of my foreign birth certificate with my correct birth date on it.

I have spoken with 2 Immigration attorneys about changing my birthdate, but I have been getting different opinions. One attorney says I will get in trouble because I lied for 21 years to become a US citizen. Another says there should not be any issues if I provide the correct birth certificate as proof.

I am looking for advice or opinions from someone who can handle this matter.”

First you must understand the differences between a Certificate of Naturalization and a Certificate of Citizenship.

What is a Certificate of Citizenship?

A Certificate of Citizenship serves as evidence of your, or your child’s, US citizenship.[1] You may file to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship if you were born abroad and claim US citizenship at birth through your parents. Please note that USCIS does not issue Certificates of Citizenship for persons that obtain US citizenship based on birth in the United States.

What is a Certificate of Naturalization?

Naturalization is the process by which US citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident after meeting certain requirements established by Congress.[2] A Certificate of Naturalization serves as evidence that you are a naturalized US citizen.

Different Rules Apply for Correcting a Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship

If a clerical error was made in preparing the Certificate of Citizenship, the applicant may file to amend the Certificate. USCIS also recognizes that the dates of birth of children born abroad are not always accurately recorded.[3] In some adoption cases the child’s adoptive parents may obtain evidence of a mistake in the name or date of birth (DOB) reported by the foreign jurisdiction.

In such cases, adoptive parents may seek to have the corrected birth certificate recognized by their state court with jurisdiction in the United States and USCIS will issue a Certificate of Citizenship with the corrected name or date of birth in accordance with the Accuracy for Adoptees Act.

If a clerical error was made in preparing the Certificate of Naturalization, the applicant may file to amend the Certificate. However, regulations prohibit USCIS from making any changes to a date of birth on a Certificate of Naturalization if the applicant has completed the naturalization process and sworn to the facts of the application, including the date of birth.

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Contact a San Francisco labor certification/PERM lawyer at Litwin & Smith to discuss your immigration needs. Call us at 888-314-0272.

Our U.S. immigration law attorneys can offer sound advice, explanation of the process, and are always prepared to provide knowledgeable and experienced representation. Put our decades of experience to work for you.

Please visit our Immigration Articles page for a full listing of detailed articles regarding immigration and naturalization law.

[1] USCIS, N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship Frequently Asked Questions, https://www.uscis.gov/forms/all-forms/n-600-application-for-certificate-of-citizenship-frequently-asked-questions#:~:text=Form%20N%2D600%2C%20Application%20for%20Certificate%20of%20Citizenship%2C%20is,at%20birth%20through%20your%20parents.
[2] USCIS, Citizenship and Naturalization, https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/citizenship-and-naturalization
[3] https://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-issues-new-policy-issuing-certificates-citizenship-changed-dates-birth-and-names

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