So... can anyone tell me exactly how to obtain CERTIFIED or AUTHENTICATED copies of my grandfather's citizenship papers?
I did receive copies of his Declaration of Intention, his Petition for Citizenship, and his Certificate of Citizenship from USCIS. But they are just plain photocopies or hard copies from microfilm.
I am told that Philadelphia consulate will want the Certificate of Citizenship to have an official authentication or an official seal of some sort. But USCIS 's genealogy program does not offer certified copies.
My grandfather lived in and became a citizen in Philly.
Do I have to go to a courthouse somewhere in Philly? Or the USCIS office in Philly? Or NARA?
It's the last piece of the puzzle. I do not want to show up at the appointment with an unacceptable Certificate of Citizenship.
Has anyone had an appointment in Philly and had this come up?
check on the copy of the "petition" that you have and it should tell the name of the county that he was resididing in at that time. You might be able to aquire his citizenship papers at the department of heath in that county....if they do have those records there be sure to tell them that it is for purpose of dual citizenship and needs the county's stamp on each page....hope this helps good luck!
From what I hear, the NARA will give you a certified copy that the consulates will accept. For mine, they NARA did not have a copy, so I had to go to the county level. I got certified copies from where my great grandfather was naturalized at the county courthouse. I have the USCIS paperwork, and the county courthouse paperwork (the county courhouse will not have a copy of the actual certificate though, only the petition and declaration usually). And you can see on the back of the petition when he gave his oath of citizenship.
I heard it's good to come with your USCIS paperwork in the envelope they sent it in. Hopefully that helps! The NARA is usually pretty quick, I would definitely try them because a copy from them is probably the best. Good luck!
Thank you both very much. I called the mid Atlantic office of NARA and they are searching for the Declaration and the Petition. They say if they have it, they can send me certified copies. They say they would not have the certificate of citizenship and do not really know where I can get it. They did express surprise that USCIS would not offer a certified copy of the certificate of citizenship.
But I think if I have at least two of the documents certified, that is a great start. I will keep digging on the certificate.
Okay, so the Eastern District Court clerk's office in Philly says they would not have the certificate of naturalization. They said I have to go through USCIS and ask for a "duplicate" with the seal, not a copy. I'm not sure if I can do that. The USCIS web site seems to indicate that getting a "true and correct duplicate copy" is doable only by the person on the certificate.
Right. The courthouse will not have a copy of the actual certificate. Only the USCIS will have one, and the person who received the certificate, and possibly the NARA. You can't get a certified copy from the USCIS. They only send you a photocopy. From everything I have read from the consulates, this is sufficient when you bring it in the enevelope the USCIS sent it in, along with the certified courthouse paperwork showing their preliminary paperwork (Declaration & Petition). On the back of the petition should be the date of oath, and his certificate number so they can see the actual date of naturalization.
Why are you not going through the NARA? They most likely have a copy and can send you a certified copy of it. It is only about $20 I believe, and they return the money if they cannot find it with a letter stating they do not have the record which would be good to use at your appointment. Only a few states do not have their records at the NARA. Try that first, it will save you a lot of trouble.