Automatic Citizenship for Children Born Abroad

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 permits foreign born (and adopted) children to acquire citizenship automatically under certain circumstances.

The child must meet the following requirements to be eligible for automatic citizenship:

  • Meet the definition of a “child” under immigration law; 
  • Have at least one American citizen parent by birth or naturalization; 
  • Be under 18 years of age; 
  • Live in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent; and 
  • Be admitted as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence. 

In addition, if the child is adopted, the adoption must be full and final.

A child who has lawful permanent residence (LPR status) can give proof of this by producing his or her permanent resident card (green card), or the I-551 stamp located in his or her passport.

If a child satisfies the requirements listed above, he or she automatically acquires U.S. citizenship by operation of law. Therefore, it is not required that an application be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to establish citizenship. The child’s parents should, however, file an application for a certificate of citizenship (Form N-400 or Form N-643 for an adopted child) on the child’s behalf to obtain evidence of citizenship.

If you are filing for a child who lives in the U.S., file the Form N-600 or N-643 at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) district office or sub-office in the U.S. with jurisdiction over your place of residence. If filing for a child who lives abroad, you may file at any INS district office or sub-office in the U.S. 

For additional immigration law questions, please contact BridgehouseLaw.
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und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs