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In the cases of some foreign-born persons who are in the United States, them are no records showing admission for permanent residence, or at least no records can be found. These persons may have been brought here during childhood and may never have known just when or how they came; or they may have come here as visitors or other temporary nonimmigrant class and decided to stay; or they may have entered unlawfully.

Since no records of lawful admission for permanent residence can be identified, they cannot become citizens of the United States until such records have been made. An alien eligible for citizenship and not within a class barred from the United States under the immigration laws, such as criminals and other immoral persons, subversives, smugglers, and persons unlawfully connected with narcotics who have resided in the United States since before January 1, 1972, can have a record of lawful admission to the United States for permanent residence created if they are persons of good moral character. The application is Form I-485, "Application for Permanent Residence." This form, together with information about the procedure to be followed, may be obtained from the nearest Immigration and Naturalization Service office. The required fee, photographs and supporting documents must be filed with the nearest Immigration and Naturalization Service office.

If an applicant can prove that he or she has been in the United States since before July 1, 1924, the record of admission will be made as of the date of actual entry into the United States and he or she will be able to apply for naturalization without completing any more residence in the United States. If an applicant did not come to the United States until on or after July 1, 1924 but before January 1, 1972, the record of admission will be made as of the date the application is approved, and he or she will then have to complete whatever additional residence and physical presence in the United States are required for naturalization.

Persons who claim to have entered the United States on or after January 1, 1972, should ask for information and advice from the nearest office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service or a social service agency.


A person whose "Declaration of Intention" or whose certificate of naturalization/citizenship has been lost, mutilated or destroyed, or naturalized person whose name has been changed by a court or by marriage after naturalization, may apply for a new declaration or certificate. The application, Form N-565 "Application for a New Naturalization or Citizenship Document," can be obtained without charge from the nearest office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. It should be filled out, following the instructions and then taken or mailed to that office with the required photographs and fee. No currency should be sent in the mail. That office will then take the action necessary with regard to issuing the new document and will inform the applicant further.
excerpted from Form N-17 (Rev 11/30/92) N
prepared by Dept of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service
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