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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Can a Child Claim Citizenship Based on Parents’ Status?

February 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

Very few are aware of the fact that children born outside the US to US citizen parents can claim US citizenship through their parents’ status if they meet certain requirements. This also depends on the laws that existed at the time the child was born. Another important aspect is that if you were born in the United States, you automatically are a US citizen.

Form N-600:

Children born in the US can just apply for a US passport as a proof of their US citizenship status. If you want to document your US citizenship status based on citizen parentage, you can file Form N- 600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship with the USCIS. There are many eligibility requirements to be met before applying for child citizenship. One criteria requires a combination of at least one parent being a U.S. citizen when the child was born and having lived in the U.S. or its possessions for a certain period of time. Children born outside the US may also claim US citizenship for children after birth based on their parents’ citizenship or naturalization.

As mentioned earlier, you can automatically become a U.S. citizen when certain conditions are met. You should be under the age of 18 and at least one parent of yours should be a U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization. You should reside in the United States in the legal and physical custody of your U.S. citizen parent and be subject to lawful admission for permanent residence. But how do you know if you qualify under child citizenship? Basically, to qualify as a “child” for the purpose of getting a certificate of citizenship through parents’ status, the applicant should not be married. Children born out of wedlock should be “legitimated” before the age of 16 and when in the legal custody of the legitimating parent. But a stepchild who was not adopted will not qualify as a “child” under this category. If you meet the above mentioned requirements before turning 18, you automatically get US citizenship without having to file an application. However, to document this citizenship status, you have to file Form N-600 with the USCIS,
per the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), persons who were 18 years of age or older as of February 27, 2001 do not qualify under child citizenship. Persons above the age of 18 as on February 27, 2001, may qualify to apply for a citizenship certificate under the law in effect before the enactment of the CCA.

What if you lived outside the United States?

Biological or adopted children who regularly reside outside the US may qualify for citizenship. However, they must meet certain requirements to get a US citizenship certificate. In this category, at least one parent of the child should be a U.S. citizen or, if deceased, the parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of death. Additionally the US citizen parent should have been physically present in the US or its outlying possessions for at least 5 years, at least two of which were after reaching the age of 14. And certainly, the applicant should be under the age of 18 years. Apart from these, the applicant should be residing outside the US in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent and finally, the applicant is temporarily present in the US after having entered lawfully and is maintaining lawful status in the United States.

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