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Evidence of U.S. Citizenship

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

1725. Evidence of U.S. Citizenship

1725.1 Why is evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status necessary?

Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status is necessary because:

  1. It is required to pay monthly benefits to an individual who is in the U.S;

  2. It applies for Title II benefits on December 1, 1996, or later; and

  3. It may be required in certain cases, for instance, to determine:

    1. The payment of monthly benefits in the U.S. under the lawful presence payment provision;

    2. The applicability of the alien nonpayment provision (see §1843);

    3. Eligibility to hospital or medical insurance protection of a person who is not entitled to cash benefits or

    4. Eligibility for special age 72 payments (see §§346-348).

1725.2 How do you prove that you are a U.S. citizen?

You may be a citizen of the U.S. by birth or by naturalization. Acceptable evidence is a birth certificate showing birth within the U.S. Other acceptable evidence of U.S. citizenship includes:

  1. Form N-550 and N-570 (Certificate of Naturalization issued currently by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - formerly issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS));

  2. A U.S. passport issued by the U.S. Department of State (DOS);

  3. Form I-197 (U.S. Citizen Identification Card issued by DHS);

  4. Form FS-240 (Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the U.S. issued by DOS);

  5. Form FS-545 (Certification of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the U.S. issued by a foreign service post);

  6. Form N-560 and N-561 (Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS); or

  7. Form DS-1350 (Certification of Report of Birth issued by DOS).

1725.3 How do you prove that you are a lawful alien?

You may be determined to be lawfully present in the U.S. as defined by the Attorney General if you are an alien:

  1. Lawfully admitted for permanent residence;

  2. Admitted as a refugee under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);

  3. Granted asylum under section 208 of the INA;

  4. Paroled under section 212(d)(5) of the INA (except for aliens paroled for an exclusion hearing or prosecution in the U.S.);

  5. Whose deportation has been withheld under section 243(h) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1997, or whose removal has been withheld under section 241(b)(3) of the INA;

  6. Granted conditional entry as a refugee under section 203(a)(7) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1980;

  7. Inspected and admitted as a non-immigrant to the U.S. and who has not violated the applicable terms of your status;

  8. With a pending application for political asylum under section 208(a) of the INA or a pending application for withholding of deportation under section 243(h) of the INA, and employment authorization; or

  9. Belonging to any specific class of aliens permitted to remain in the U.S. under U.S. law or policy, for humanitarian or other public policy reasons.

Last Revised: Aug. 2, 2007

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