Citizenship For Your Child

September 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

There is an option in the immigration law where one can become a US citizen if born in the US or born to US citizen parent(s) apart from becoming a US voluntarily through the Naturalization process.

The process for children born outside to US citizen parents claiming citizenship through their parents’ status is very much sophisticated as there are certain strict eligibility requirements to be met. The immigration laws that existed at the time the child was born is also taken into consideration while claiming citizenship through the Child Citizenship Act. Children born in the US automatically become US citizens, even if their parents do not have an immigration status in the US.

If your child was born in the US, you can apply for a US passport that would serve as a proof of his/her citizenship status. To document your child’s citizenship, you can file Form N- 600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship with the USCIS (formerly the INS) to get the citizenship certificate.

There are many and a combination of requirements that are to be fulfilled before applying for citizenship for your child. One requirement is 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 given period of time. In addition, child(ren) born outside the US can also claim citizenship based on their parents’ citizenship.

As mentioned earlier, you can become a US citizen only if you meet certain important requirements.

  • You should below 18 years of age and at least one of your parents should be a US citizen.
  • You should reside in the US in the legal and physical custody of your citizen parent

To qualify as a “child” for the purpose of getting a certificate of citizenship through your parents’ status,the child should not be married. Children born out of wedlock have to be“legitimated” when they were under 16 years old and in the legal custody of the legitimating parent. Stepchildren who were not adopted will not qualify as a “child” for citizenship purposes.

If you meet these requirements before reaching 18 years of age, you establish the eligibility for US citizenship. However,to document your citizenship status, you have to file Form N-600 with the USCIS.

Per the Child Citizenship Act, if you were 18 years old or older as of February 27, 2001, you will not be eligible for citizenship based on your parents’ status. In such a case, you can apply for naturalization (Form N-400) based on your own eligibility. There is also an alternative where persons above the age of 18 as on February 27, 2001, qualify for a citizenship certificate per the law in effect before the enactment of the CCA.

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