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I don't have my required Proof of Citizenship now. Will this throw off my finaid?

xcloudyxcloudy Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
I thought I could lay my financial aid worries to rest now that I had gotten all my documents in, but nope...apparently all my colleges now require proof of my citizenship. I just became a citizen last Oct, which is why I suppose the SSA/ISN failed to confirm my citizenship status. My parents were naturalized that day. I was still 17 so I automatically gained citizenship too, but I have no proof of it at the time being. My parents filed a N600 back in early Nov, so I should be getting my Certificate of Citizenship soon, hopefully by April.

My question is, will this throw off my financial aid processing, or is that on a school-by-school basis?? I plan to call (all six - thank GOD I did not apply to more colleges) tomorrow, but right now I'm freaking out and wondering if anyone has experience with this.
Post edited by xcloudy on
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Replies to: I don't have my required Proof of Citizenship now. Will this throw off my finaid?

  • seatacseatac Registered User Posts: 585 Member
    Did you have a legal status before? Maybe for now you can choose that you are a "qualified resident" and it should run through the SSA. When everything will be updated, you can probably change it.
  • weathergaweatherga Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    xcloudy, depending on where you live in the US, you are likely to be scheduled for an Oath Ceremony in order to get your certificate. If you haven't received notice about that by now, you may not be getting the certificate by April. You are already a citizen, but many USCIS offices require teens aged 14 and above to attend an oath ceremony in order to receive their certificate based on N600 filing.

    Here's what you and your parents should have done last Oct, and probably should do right now. You need to apply for a US passport. You don't need a Certificate of Citizenship for that. What you need for it is a parent's Naturalization Certificate and your green card. You need to go to a Passport Office (if there is one in your area) or other place that handles passport applications, such as a USPS Post Office, with the original documents, passport application form filled out (you can find it online) and passport photos. If you were under 18 you and a parent would both have to appear in person, together. That may not be true now that you're 18 ... I don't know. It would probably be most prudent for you to take a parent.

    Getting a passport takes only a few weeks, and the passport suffices to get SSA to change your status in their records (you need to go to an SSA office with the passport and your SSN card).

    It is a smart idea to file N600 and get a Certificate of Citizenship. While waiting for it, though, you need to get on with getting a US passport and using it to fix other records.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Registered User Posts: 14,955 Senior Member
    Do you have documentation of permanent residency? That is all you need ... as long as you have a document that shows you are eligible for federal aid, you are set.
  • weathergaweatherga Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    Amending my previous comments in light of kelsmom's response.

    If what xcloudy originally wrote is true (that he or she automatically became a citizen when parents naturalized last October), then he or she must have a green card (Permanent Resident card). He or she wouldn't be a US citizen, otherwise.

    Therefore, if Permanent Resident status is good enough for federal aid, make sure you have used the green card as evidence for your schools, as much as you need to, before the passport application. Reason is that the State Department may take the original green card for processing. They will send it back to you (then you'll have to surrender it when you get your Certificate of Citizenship subsequently), but you do have to submit the original.

    If you're able to apply at a passport office, it may be that they give the card right back to you. I don't know because I had to do this with my daughter at a post office. Also, the rules and procedures seem to change all the time. My experience is from late 2010 and early 2011.
  • xcloudyxcloudy Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
    Thank you so much! Yes, I have my permanent resident card. Thanks so much, I'll try asking the colleges about this.

    Would I really have to take an oath? My parents were told I would have to do nothing else after submitting the form and I haven't seen anything about it online.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 27,842 Senior Member
    Nope, no oath for you. You were a minor. Some judges do have "kiddie" ceremonies, but those are more for educational purposes than for legal ones.
  • weathergaweatherga Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    So, happymomof1, I'm curious. How does one get out of the "kiddie" ceremony?

    We filed N-600 for D, then aged 16, in fall 2010. A few months later, in spring 2011, she received a notice from USCIS directing her to appear at the local USCIS office at a given date and time. The notice did not say what the reason was for this appointment, just that she was required to appear. We appeared as directed, there was an Oath Ceremony for over 100 teenagers, they all had to say the oath, at the end they received their certificates.

    What would be the procedure to get out of this process, and just get the certificate?
  • xcloudyxcloudy Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
    I've successfully contacted 4/6 of my universities...one of them is giving me a bit of trouble (the lady on the phone said I'd have to completely resubmit a new paper FAFSA that says I'm applying as an eligible noncitizen, though I'm not sure if she knew what she was talking about- I'm going to try contacting them again later). The other 3 said it'd be totally fine for me to submit a copy of my green card and send appropriate citizenship documentation when I get it. I'll be applying for a passport next week, which I should get by mid-April in case the certificate doesn't arrive as planned.

    As for the teenager oath, I haven't heard of anyone taking it here...perhaps it's a local thing?? We live in Texas and I'm sure the offices are backlogged enough; I wouldn't be surprised if they don't have it here.
  • weathergaweatherga Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    I believe USCIS practices vary quite a bit from one office to another, so if you haven't heard of the teenager oath in Texas they probably don't have it there. My experience was in Atlanta.

    (This is likely why the other poster dismissed my comments about the teenager oath ceremony. In Atlanta in early 2011 it didn't seem avoidable. And because they don't have the teenager oath ceremonies very often, it contributed a delay to getting the certificate.)
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 27,842 Senior Member
    I've never heard about "required" kiddie ceremonies before, just about special optional ones usually for elementary age adopted kids. Each region must differ in this, and I suppose it also may differ from one judge to the next.
  • weathergaweatherga Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    Well, this discussion finally prompted me to go embark on some research. It turns out that the oath is required by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 341, a.k.a 8 USC 1452. See the section here:

    INA: ACT 341 - CERTIFICATES OF CITIZENSHIP OR U.S. NON-CITIZEN NATIONAL STATUS; PROCEDURE

    The relevant part is "... upon taking and subscribing before a member of the Service within the United States to the oath of allegiance required by this Act of an applicant for naturalization, such individual shall be furnished by the Attorney General with a certificate of citizenship ..."

    This makes me skeptical that a person can get a certificate of citizenship without taking the oath. I'm not a lawyer, but the oath appears to be specifically required by the law.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 27,842 Senior Member
    weatherga,

    I think that requirement must be for people who have achieved their majority. After all, babies who are adopted overseas by citizen parents are legally US citizens the moment they get off the plane on US soil. Good thing to take up with an immigration lawyer the next time you run into one though!
  • xcloudyxcloudy Registered User Posts: 259 Junior Member
    I did a bit of research as well. Various sources imply that the oath for 14+ is applicable only in cases where the child was not a permanent resident prior to the parents filing a N600. Was yours?

    http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/chapter3.pdf
    Last two questions.
  • weathergaweatherga Registered User Posts: 699 Member
    My daughter's case was covered by question 25, just like (from what you've indicated) yours. She was a permanent resident and therefore became a citizen automatically when I became a citizen. The certificate of citizenship she eventually obtained, by filing N600, gives my naturalization date as the date on which she became a citizen. I have no doubt yours will similarly have your parents' naturalization date.

    The oath mentioned in the doc you found, at the end of question 26, occurs at an interview, for a person who filed an N600K. Different scenario, different form.

    Please note that the INA section I cited does not say the oath makes you a citizen, or is required for you to be a citizen. You're already a citizen, as was my daughter, and the 100 or so other teenagers in the room with her, before they took the oath. My daughter had had a US passport for several months at that time. According to the law, the oath is simply a requirement of getting a certificate.

    Here's a little news item on an N-600 Oath Ceremony last year in Houston. Houston Students Take Part in Naturalization Ceremonies | American Immigration Council

    For you, the acid test will be whether or not USCIS summons you to an oath ceremony. After that, you can take up being annoyed by online forums in which people contradict your own recent experience (whatever it turns out to be).

    Congratulations on becoming a citizen, by the way, and I hope things go smoothly in your efforts to sort out your status with colleges and get a US passport.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 27,842 Senior Member
    Too true!

    Thanks for getting me up to speed on all of this!
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