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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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US Citizenship Eligibility Requirements

U.S. citizenship requirements states that, you can obtain U.S. citizenship either by birth or by law. You acquire U.S. citizenship by birth, if you were born in the U.S. or if your parents are U.S. citizens. Obtaining U.S. citizenship by law is through naturalization.

Per USCIS, you must meet the U.S. citizenship requirements to apply for citizenship. The U.S. citizenship requirements include the continuous physical presence requirements and certain general requirements.

U.S. citizenship requirements

To be eligible for U.S. citizenship, the following U.S. citizenship requirements should be satisfied:

  • You should be at least 18 years old.
  • You should be a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
  • You should have resided in the U.S. for at least three to five years and half of the time should be spent in the U.S.
  • The U.S. citizenship requirements states that, if you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for U.S. citizenship after three years of residence in the United States. All others can apply for citizenship only after five years.
  • You have resided in the U.S. from the time you filed your application for U.S. citizenship.
  • You should take an oath, that you are attached to the U.S. constitution.
  • You should have proficient knowledge and fluency in English.
  • You should have knowledge concerning the history, role and functioning of the U.S. government including answering 10 of the 100 possible Citizenship Test Questions
  • You should not be involved in any crime.
  • You should meet the continuous physical presence requirements

Continuous physical presence requirements

If you are married to a U.S. citizen, the following continuous physical presence requirements should be met:

  • You should live physically with your spouse.
  • You should have lived together with your spouse for at least three years before you apply for U.S. citizenship and take the naturalization examination.
  • You should have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 18 months.
  • You should have been residing continuously for the past three months in the state from where you will apply for U.S. citizenship.
  • Your spouse should be a U.S. citizen during the period you have applied for citizenship till the date of examination.

The following are the continuous physical presence requirements for those who are not married to a U.S. citizen:

  • You should have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months.
  • You should have been residing continuously for the past three months in the state from where you will apply for U.S. citizenship.

Physical presence is different from Continuous residence. Physical presence is the number of days you were physically present in the U.S. Continuous residence is the time you resided lawfully in the U.S. without any long absence. If you are physically absent from the United States for one year, you will lose your continuous residence requirement, unless the absence is excused. The U.S. citizenship process is not easy, you have to meet the above requirements to be eligible to apply for citizenship.


Guest Post Author

Immigration Direct is not legal advice site, but its a place for all immigration related issues. Where in you can fill the forms on Visas, Green card Renewal, Naturalization, Student Visa, Work Visa, Tourist Visa, etc. We will make sure your form is 100% error free, before you submit to USCIS.

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