The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced they have redesigned the citizen and naturalization certificates immigrants receive when they become U.S. citizens.

In all, eight types of certificates were changed as a way to prevent fraud and protect the legal immigration system, according to the USCIS.

The new certificates are now made up of a large central image that has a complex patterned background. The change will deter the alteration of personal information on the certificate. The new certificates also include a unique image that is only visible under ultraviolet light. According to the USCIS, it will be easy to notice if someone tampers with that image.

The government states, redesigning sensitive documents help the USCIS stay ahead of those trying to create fake citizenship or naturalization certificates.

Although the certificates have changed, the process of applying for naturalization has not. Anyone who has a previous version of a naturalization certificate does not need to apply for a new one. Certificates issued before the redesign will continue to be accepted as proof of citizenship.

Here are the naturalization certificates that have been changed:

  • N-550: issued to an individual who obtains U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process;
  • N-578, issued to a naturalized U.S. citizen to obtain recognition as a United States citizen by a foreign state; and
  • N-570, issued when the original Certificate of Naturalization is lost, mutilated or contains errors.

These Certificates of Citizenship have also been redesigned. These certificates are given to those who obtained citizenship through means other than naturalization.

  • N-560A, issued to an applicant who derived citizenship after birth;
  • N-560AB, issued to an applicant who acquired citizenship at birth;
  • N-645 and N-645A, issued to the family of an individual who served honorably in the U.S. armed forces during a designated period of hostility and died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by that service. Form N-645 is issued if the decedent was a male, and the N-645A if the decedent was a female.
  • Form N-561, issued to replace a Certificate of Citizenship when the original certificate is lost, mutilated, or contains errors.

The redesigned certificates of citizenship and naturalization feature a large, central image against a complex patterned background, which helps deter the alteration of personal data. Each certificate possesses a unique image only visible under ultraviolet light and attempts to alter it will be evident. Posthumous Certificates of Naturalization and the Special Certificate of Citizenship each bear a different image, yet feature the same fraud-deterrent security features.

Periodically changing the design and printing methods for these certificates helps USCIS stay a step ahead of counterfeiters.

Although the look and feel of the documents are new, the process of applying for and receiving them has not changed. Individuals do not need to renew their Certificates of Naturalization or Citizenship, regardless of when they were issued. The certificates we issued before the redesign will continue to be accepted as proof of citizenship.