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Dear Mr. Sheaffer,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
Naturalization is generally a two-step process that took a minimum of five years to complete. Since he entered the U.S. in 1903, it would not have been possible to obtain citizenship prior to 1906. Documentation of any naturalization proceedings may be located at NARA and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Since the relative resided in Pennsylvania, we suggest that you contact the National Archives at Philadelphia (RE-PA) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. RE-PA would have custody of his Declaration of Intention and Petition for Naturalization and there is no fee for a search. You only have to pay for copies. Learn more about naturalization records on NARA’s website at https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration/naturalization
The USCIS should have a Certificate File (C-File) available through their Genealogy Program. The C-File contains a copy of those same documents as well as a copy of the Certificate of Citizenship.
If you want to confirm the citizenship status of the individual, you can request the Certification of Non-Existence of a Record of Naturalization from USCIS. To request a certificate of non-existence of a specific record, please mail your request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); ATTN: Certification of Non-Existence; 1200 First Street, NE, 2nd Floor; Washington, DC 20529-2204. Your request must include the following information about the immigrant:
- Full Name (including all variants and aliases);
- Date of birth
- Place of birth and
- As much information as possible about when and where the immigrant arrived in or lived in the United States. The names of immediate immigrant relatives can also be helpful.
If the immigrant’s birth date is less than 100 years before the request date, you must also include a copy of their birth or death certificate. The USCIS does not accept original requests through e-mail and will only mail certificates to U.S. addresses. If you have questions, email email@example.com.
We hope this is helpful! Best of luck with your family research!
[Information provided by Elizabeth Burnes, Subject Matter Expert]