|What is the difference between a Declaration of Intention and Petition for Naturalization and a Certificate of Naturalization?|
Prior to 1952, a two-step process was required before an immigrant could become a U.S. citizen. Filing a Declaration of Intention was the first step. The Declaration is sometimes referred to as the "first papers." The Declaration could be filed anytime after the immigrant arrived. Generally, the law required that the immigrant reside in the U.S. 5 years before the Petition for Naturalization, or "second papers" could be filed. After the formal proceedings by the court, when the immigrant signed the oath of allegiance, a Certificate of Naturalization was given to the immigrant as proof of citizenship. The Declaration and Petition remained on file at the court. Note: After 1952, a Declaration was no longer mandatory although some immigrants filed them.
|U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) holds naturalization certificate files, known as C-Files, for all naturalizations date after September 26, 1906. C-Files are duplicate copies of the original naturalization records and should contain at least a copy of the Declaration of Intention to become a US Citizen (to 1952), Petition for Naturalization, and Certificate of Naturalization. Occasionaly, C-Files contain additional documents or correspondence. |
USCIS maintains an index to the C-Files, and can retrieve individual records based on name, date of birth, and place of birth. C-Files from 1906 to 1956 have been microfilmed, and are available via Freedom of Information/Privacy Act request to USCIS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. For naturalization records after 1956, Freedom of Information requests should be sent to the appropriate USCIS District Office.
Request the "Naturalization Certificate File (C-File)"
Provide the name, date of birth, place of birth (at least the country) and residence (city or county and state) of the naturalized citizen. If the individual was born less than 100 years ago, you'll also need to provide proof of death (such as sa death certificate), or notarized permission from the individual.
Requests for naturalization records from the USCIS can often take several months, so you may find it quicker to try these other options for pre-1906 naturalization records:
Look for the naturalization record in the local (usually county) court which served the immigrant's place of residence.
The Family History Library has microfilmed many naturalization records. Check the Family History Library Catalog to see what's available. These microfilms can be ordered and viewed through your local Family History Center.
Here is the one I found:
All times are GMT - 4 Hours