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New Look to Naturalization Certificates and Green Cards

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revealed new naturalization certificates this week. The certificates are given to new U.S. citizens and are used to obtain legal documents, including passports. Recently, USCIS unveiled a new green card for immigrants with permanent residency status.

USCIS developed the new documents to make immigration document tampering more difficult and decrease the potential for immigration fraud. The USCIS does not keep track of cases of fraud. The impetus to create the new formats arose because of the length of time that elapsed since the documents were last updated.

Green cards have not been changed since 1998. Naturalization certificates were modified in 2003, but the format did not include security features.

The new naturalization certificates are computerized and have the personal information about the new citizen embedded in the certificate. In the last version, information was filled in manually. The new certificates also embed an identification photograph in the document instead of merely attaching the photograph, as before.

Color shifting ink patterns are added to the background of the new document to make duplication and forgery of the certificates more difficult. The certificates are designed to fit a standard eight-and-one-half by 11 inch frame, according to USCIS. The agency says it expects to issue over 600,000 certificates to new citizens in the next year.

The new version of the green card includes increased security features as well. A personalized holographic image is now a part of the design. The fingerprint of the green card holder is digitally etched into the card. And like the new certificates, green cards include improved identification technology.

Source: USA Today, "Naturalization docs add security features," Alan Gomez, 24 Oct 2010

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