Updated November 02, 2010A falsified Certificate of Naturalization can be a dangerous thing when fraudulently used as a form of identification. Now the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced a new Certificate of Naturalization loaded with security features intended to reduce fraud and "enhance the integrity of the immigration system."
The Certificate of Naturalization is presented to new U.S. citizens after they have successfully completed the naturalization test and taken the Oath of Citizenship and Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. In most instances, the Certificate of Naturalization is accepted as a valid form of identification when traveling, securing a U.S. passport, voting, applying for certain government benefits and for other purposes.
"Taking the Oath of Allegiance and receiving a naturalization certificate is a momentous occasion for hundreds of thousands of new citizens each year," said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas in a press release. "The redesigned certificate improves our safeguards against fraud related to this most precious of immigration benefits."
Safeguards against fraud on the new Certificate of Naturalization include the citizenship candidate's digitized photo and signature embedded into the certificate and a hard-to-reproduce ink pattern background that appears to change colors as the certificate is held at different angles. In addition, USCIS is now using a more secure printing process that renders the certificate more tamper-proof.
By the end of 2010, USCIS will be using a fully-automated process to produce the new fraud-fighting certificates, thus saving time and increasing consistency in printing the security features.
USCIS has confirmed that all previously issued Certificates of Naturalization will remain valid.
According to the USCIS report Characteristics of Persons Naturalizing in the United States Between 1980 and 2008, the number of persons achieving U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process increased from 2.1 million during the 1980s to 5.0 million during the 1990s and 6.1 million during 2000--2008.