Fact Check: Zelenskyy's 'Certificate of Naturalization' Is NOT Real

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Zelenskyy's 'Certificate of Naturalization' Is NOT Real Forgery

Is a photograph that purports to show a U.S. certificate of naturalization for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy real? No, that's not true: The certificate is counterfeit. It's missing key components, such as his signature and the signature of the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The image appeared atop an article (archived here) published by DCWeekly on November 29, 2023. Titled "Unprecedented US Operation to Shelter Zelensky Raises Eyebrows," the article began:

A US Secret Service agent who wished to remain anonymous has revealed to DCWeekly details about the arrangements being made for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's relocation to the United States. The agent claims that the Biden administration has issued orders to ensure the safety and accommodation of President Zelensky's family starting in the spring of 2024.

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Unprecedented US Operation to Shelter Zelensky Raises Eyebrows

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The certificate published by DCWeekly raises multiple red flags. For example, it does not include Zelenskyy's middle name (Zelenskyy has a patronymic, Oleksandrovych, which can be used), nor his signature, as would be required. It is also missing the signature of the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Ur Jaddou.

Additionally, the certificate puts Zelenskyy's place of residence as Vero Beach, Florida, and the article claimed he planned to live in a $20 million mansion there. Lead Stories has previously debunked the claim that Zelenskyy bought a mansion in Vero Beach. Photographs of the supposed planned residence actually show a house for sale in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, which is more than 200 miles from Vero Beach. The property's listing agents told Lead Stories on December 15, 2023, that the claim isn't true and confirmed the house was still on the market.

Lastly, Zelenskyy has not been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the last five years, as would generally be required for naturalization.

Lead Stories contacted USCIS to ask about the article. We will update this story, as appropriate, if we receive a response.

We also contacted "Jessica Devlin," the alleged author of the DCWeekly article. The article included a photograph of "Devlin."

But, in fact, the photo shows another author, Judy Batalion, who told Lead Stories she had nothing to do with the story. "I did NOT write this article," she said in an email, dated December 15, 2023. "Someone is using my image."

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims involving President Zelenskyy can be read here.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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