How Do You Look up United States Citizenship Records?


Quick Answer

Generally, the National Archives maintains records related to citizenship and naturalization, though it does not participate in any part of the process of naturalization. The National Archives provides an online microfilm catalog as a part of its e-services suite.

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Full Answer

Depending on the date and conditions surrounding the naturalization of an individual, the National Archive may have access to records related to the process. Prior to 1906, any court of record, which included a number of municipal, county and state courts in addition to federal courts, had authority to grant naturalization. The National Archive does not collect records created at the municipal or state level. This means that naturalization records created prior to 1906 may not exist in the national archive. However, some courts have donated these records to the National Archive, where they can be viewed.

In addition to the National Archive, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides access to five categories of historical records: Naturalization Certificate Files, Alien Registration Forms, Visa Files, Registry Files and A-Files. However, these files are only available if they fall within a specified date range. Of the five categories, the office provides the broadest range for Naturalization Certificate Files, which can be requested if created between the dates of Sept. 27, 1906 and March 31, 1956.

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