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.


What If I Lose My Certificate Of Citizenship?

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Certificate of Naturalization

A Certificate of Naturalization is a document issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) since October 1, 1991 and the Federal Courts or certain State Courts on or before September 30, 1991 as proof of a person obtaining U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process (a legal process to obtain a new nationality).

Certificate of Citizenship

A Certificate of Citizenship is a document issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) as proof of a person having obtained U.S. citizenship through derivation or acquisition at birth (when born outside of the United States).

Who Should Apply for a Replacement Certificate?

Per the USCIS, you should go for a replacement of your lost certificate of citizenship, if it is mutilated, or destroyed. In addition to this, you can also apply for a new certificate if subsequent to issuance of your current certificate, your name has been legally changed either through court order or marriage or divorce.

How Do I Apply to Replace My Certificate?

A lost certificate of citizenship can be replaced by filing Form N-565. You have to mail the application with the necessary supporting documents and fees to the local USCIS office having jurisdiction over your place of residence.

What If I am Outside of the United States?

If you are outside the U.S. you must submit your application to a USCIS office in the United States and be willing to return to the U.S. to pick up the certificate.

Initial Evidence Requirements:

If you are applying for replacement of a mutilated document, you must attach the mutilated document.
If you are applying for a new document as your name has changed, you must submit the original USCIS document and a copy of the marriage certificate or court order that reflects the name change.
If you are applying for a special certificate of naturalization, you must attach a copy of your naturalization certificate.

Photographs and Fees:

Along with the N-565 application, you should submit two identical color photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of the filing of this application. You should also send a $345 submission fee along with the application.

Initial processing:

Once you mail the application and it has been accepted, the USCIS will check it for completeness, including submission of the required initial evidence and the appropriate fee. If your application is incomplete or you file it without required initial evidence, you will not establish a basis for eligibility and the USCIS might deny your application.

Requests for more information:

The USCIS might request more information or evidence or may request you to appear at a local USCIS office for an interview. They may also request you to submit the originals of any copy. They will return these originals when they are not required any longer.


If you properly establish eligibility for the document, your N-565 application will be approved and the new document will be issued. Under certain circumstances, a special certificate of naturalization will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of State to be delivered to a foreign government official. If your N-565 application is denied, you will be informed in writing of the reasons for the denial.

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