US Citizenship For Children

Though one can become a citizen voluntarily through the Naturalization process, some are granted this status being born in the US or born to US citizen parent(s).

Children born outside to US citizen parents can claim US citizenship through their parents’ status subject to certain strict requirements which makes the process very much sophisticated. The immigration law at the time the child was born is also vitally important while claiming citizenship through the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). But the process is pretty simple for children born in the US as they automatically become US citizens, immaterial of whether their parents were US citizens or not.

If your child was born in the US, you can directly apply for a US passport as a proof of his/her US citizenship. Should you want to document your child’s citizenship status, you can file Form N- 600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship with the USCIS to get the citizenship certificate.

There are a combination of requirements that are to be satisfied before applying for child citizenship. One such criteria is that at least one parent was a US citizen when the child was born and should have lived in the US or its possessions for a stipulated period of time. Additionally, child(ren) born outside the US can also claim citizenship after birth based on their parents’ citizenship or naturalization.

As stated above, you can become a US citizen only if you fulfill certain important conditions. Few are:

– You should be under 18 years old and at least one of your parents should be a US citizen, either by birth or through Naturalization.

– You should reside in the US in the legal and physical custody of your US citizen parent and is subject to lawful admission for permanent residence in the US.

– To qualify as a “child” for the purpose of getting a certificate of citizenship through your parents’ status, you (the child) should not be married. If you are born out of wedlock, you should have been “legitimated” when you were under 16 years old and in the legal custody of the legitimating parent. But if you are a stepchild who was not adopted, you will not qualify as a “child” for citizenship purposes.

– If you meet the above mentioned requirements before becoming 18 years old, it means you establish the eligibility for US citizenship without having to file an application. Make note however, if you want to document your citizenship status, you have to file Form N-600.

– Per the CCA, if you were 18 years old or older as of February 27, 2001, you will not be eligible for citizenship, under this classification. You however, can apply for naturalization (Form N-400) based on qualifying on your own. There is also another option where persons above the age of 18 as on February 27, 2001, are eligible to apply for a citizenship certificate per the law in effect before the enactment of the CCA.

Even if you the biological or an adopted child who regularly resides abroad, you can still qualify for citizenship. This however, has additional requirements to be met.

Children born outside to US citizen parents can claim American citizenship through their parents’ status subject to certain strict requirements. Per the CCA, if you were 18 years old or older as of February 27, 2001, you will not be eligible for citizenship, under this classification. You however, can apply for naturalization, by filing the citizenship form, N-400 based on qualifying on your own.

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