The naturalization process begins with a document called a Petition for Naturalization. The Petition is a form that every potential citizen fills
out prior to taking the Oath of Citizenship. It contains the birth date, occupation, means of entry to the U.S. and lists his or her spouse
and children. It also provides the Alien Registration number, Petition number, and the number assigned to their Certificate of Naturalization.
Additional information regarding the naturalization process is available on the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
website or by calling 1-800-375-5283.
The Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit is the primary location for naturalizing new citizens within the Eastern District of Michigan.
On occasion, ceremonies are held at other locations. Guests of new citizens are welcome to attend the ceremony.
For entry into any Federal Court facility within the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, valid picture identification is required.
Visitors to Federal Court facilities are required to pass through a magnetometer and have all belongings and packages subject to physical and/or
x-ray examination similar to security screening at airports. When reporting for a naturalization ceremony, please plan your arrival time accordingly.
Firearms, knives, explosives, and other weapons are prohibited from Federal Court facilities and subject to confiscation.
Cell phones (including BlackBerrys) and any other devices with wireless communication capabilities are not permitted in Federal Court facilities within
the Eastern District of Michigan and should be left at home or in your car. However, you are permitted to bring in a digital camera (not camera phone) for a naturalization
For information about scheduling or rescheduling a naturalization ceremony, contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at (800) 375-5283.
Naturalization Frequently Asked Questions
- Replacing a Certificate of Naturalization
There are no copies of your Certificate of Naturalization. If yours has been lost or stolen, you must apply for a new document. This is done by filling out an N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.
Take the completed N-565 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office closest to where you live. If you were naturalized through the Michigan office, but now live out-of-state, you should use the CIS office in your new state, not Michigan. To find the CIS office closest to you, please call (800) 375-5283. You can also find help at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
- Replacing a Petition for Name Change
The Court has copies of Petitions for Name Change going back to 1992. Copies may be purchased in the Clerk’s Office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You must provide your alien registration number and the date you were naturalized in order for us to find your Petition. (This information is on your Certificate of Naturalization.)
Records of name changes dated prior to 1992 are in storage at the National Archives branch in Chicago. Their phone number is (773) 948-9001. They can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Researching Naturalization History
From the 1800s through the 1930s, immigrants could be naturalized in either State of Michigan courts or Federal courts. Starting in the 1940s naturalization was handled exclusively through Federal courts. If you aren’t sure which court the person you are researching used, you’ll want to research both State and Federal records.
All State of Michigan court records are stored at the Michigan State Archives in Lansing. Their phone number is (517) 373-1414. All federal court records are stored at the National Archives branch in Chicago. Their phone number is (773) 948-9001. They can also be reached by email at email@example.com.
The Archives (either State or Federal) should be able to provide you with the citizen’s Declaration of Intent and Petition for Naturalization.
If you don’t have any luck finding a naturalization history for someone, here are some possible reasons why:
- The person you are researching was a woman. The reason most people naturalized were for reasons of employment or to vote. Those issues generally did not pertain to women until the 1950s. Prior to that, it was common for husbands to naturalize, but not their wives.
- The person you are researching became a citizen while still a minor. Minors did not actually naturalize; they were automatically granted citizenship as a result of their parents’ naturalization. These citizens are called “derivatives,” because they derived citizenship through their parents.
To find proof of derivative status, you should research the parents’ records. Their Petitions for Naturalization will include the names of their minor children. That will be their proof of citizenship.