a Certificate of Citizenship differ from a Naturalization
is an Identity document proving U.S.
citizenship. Certificates of citizenship are issued to
derivative citizens and to persons who acquired U.S.
citizenship (see definitions for Acquired and Derivative
Citizenship). A person who is naturalized goes through a
specific procedure. He/she does not just become a citizen
because of his parents or some other provision of the law.
He/she must take affirmative steps to actually become a U.S.
- Citizenship conferred at birth on children born abroad to a U.S.
A child who is born
in the United States, or born abroad to a U.S. citizen(s) who
lived in (or came to) the United States for a period of time
prior to the child’s birth, is considered a U.S. citizen at
birth. A child who is:
If you and your child meet all of these requirements, you may
obtain a U.S. passport for the child as evidence of citizenship.
If the child needs further evidence of citizenship, you may
submit an "Application for Certificate of Citizenship"
(Form N-600) to USCIS to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. If
the child meets the requirements of Section 101(b)(1) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act as an adopted child, you may
submit an “Application for Certificate of Citizenship on
Behalf of an Adopted Child” (Form N-643). (Note: a child who
meets these requirements before his or her 18th birthday may
obtain a passport or Certificate of Citizenship at any time,
even after he or she turns 18.)
- born to a U.S. citizen who did not live in (or come to)
the United States for a period of time prior to the
child’s birth, or
- born to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent or
two alien parents who naturalize after the child’s birth,
- adopted and is permanently residing in the United States
can become a U.S. citizen by action of law on the date on
which all of the following requirements have been met:
- The child was lawfully admitted for permanent
- Either parent was a United States citizen by birth or
- The child was still under 18 years of age; and
- The child was not married; and
- The child was the parent’s legitimate child or was
legitimated by the parent before the child’s 16th
birthday (Stepchildren or children born out of wedlock
who were not legitimated before their 16th
birthday do not derive United States citizenship through
their parents.); and
- If adopted, the child met the requirements of section
101(b)(1)(E) or (F) and has had a full and final
- The child was residing in the United States in the
legal custody of the U.S. citizen parent (this includes
joint custody); and
- The child was residing in the United States in the
physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.
*In some cases, the child must have had an immigrant
petition filed on his behalf before his 16th birthday.
Adoption has special rules.
**The “one U.S. citizen parent” rule only
applies to children who were under age 18 on or after February
27, 2001. For children claiming automatic citizenship prior to
this date, there are special rules. Back
- Citizenship conveyed to children through the naturalization of
parents or, under certain circumstances, to foreign-born
children adopted by U.S.
citizen parents, provided certain conditions are met.
A child who is
regularly residing IN the United States can become a citizen of
the United States only by meeting certain requirements. If a
child regularly resides in the United States and is not a lawful
permanent resident, he or she cannot acquire citizenship
automatically until he or she is granted lawful permanent
residence. If a child who has been lawfully admitted for
permanent residence fails to qualify for citizenship under the
provisions of law, the child may apply for naturalization by
filing an N-400 after reaching 18 years of age, provided that he
or she has the required 5 years of lawful permanent residence.
U.S. citizens may apply for citizenship for their children by
birth or adoption who do NOT regularly reside in the United
States, if all of the following conditions are met:
If the foregoing conditions are met, the citizen parent can
apply for a certificate of citizenship in behalf of a legitimate
or legitimated child using an "Application for Certificate
of Citizenship" (Form N-600) or, in the case of an adopted
child, an “Application for Certificate of Citizenship on
Behalf of An Adopted Child” (Form N-643). If the citizen
parent is relying on the grandparent’s physical presence in
the United States, the citizen parent should also submit Form
N-643, Supplement A. Both the citizen parent and the child must
appear at an interview with an Immigration officer in the United
States. The child must meet ALL of the required conditions at
the time when he or she takes the Oath of Allegiance (Note: the
Oath may be waived if the child is too young to understand it).
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- The child is under 18 years of age; and
- The child is not married; and
- The child regularly resides outside the United States; and
- The child is temporarily present in the United States
pursuant to a lawful admission and is maintaining such
lawful status; and
- The child is in legal and physical custody of a parent who
is a U.S. citizen; and
- The child is the U.S. citizen’s legitimate child, or was
legitimated before the child’s 16th birthday (stepchildren
or children born out of wedlock who were not legitimated
before their 16th birthday are not eligible for
this procedure); and
- If adopted, the child meets the requirements of section
101(b)(1)(E) or (F) and had a full and final adoption; and
either of the following is true:
- The citizen parent has lived at least 5 years in the
United States, and at least 2 of which were after the
citizen parent’s 14th birthday; or
- If the child’s citizen parent has not lived in the
United States for at least 5 years, 2 of which were
after that parent's 14th birthday, the
citizen parent currently has a parent (the child's
- is also a U.S. citizen; and
- lived in the United States for 5 years, at least 2
of which were after the citizen grandparent's 14th
- is still living at the time of the adjudication of
the application and the taking of the Oath.