CITIZENSHIP AND NATURALIZATION
CITIZENSHIP OF THE CHILD BORN ABROAD
A child born abroad may automatically acquire U.S. citizenship of one or both parents. In order to transfer citizenship the parent who is U.S. citizen must reside in the U.S. for certain time. An individual who is a naturalized citizen can count time before and after naturalization towards required time. A child who acquires citizenship at birth does not need to file Form N-600, an an Application for Certificate of Citizenship. A person who seeks documentation of such status, however, must submit an application to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship from USCIS. A person may also apply for a U.S. Passport with the Department of State to serve as evidence of his or her U.S. citizenship.
PARENTS ARE MARRIED
1. Child of Two U.S. Citizen Parents
A child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen at birth if at the time of birth:
- Both of the child’s parents are U.S. citizens; and
- At least one parent had resided in the U.S. at the time of birth.
A child needs only demonstrate that only one of the parents lived in the U.S. for one day to receive a consular report of birth abroad.
2. Child of U.S. Citizen Parent and U.S. National
- One parent is a U.S. citizen and the other parent is a U.S. national; and
- The U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least one year prior to the birth of the child.
3. Child of U.S. Citizen Parent and Foreign National Parent
- One parent is a foreign national and the other parent is a U.S. citizen; and
- The U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for at least 5 years, including at least 2 years after 14 years of age.
Time abroad counts as physical presence in the United States if the time abroad was:
- As a member of the U.S. armed forces in honorable status;
- Under the employment of the U.S. government or other qualifying organizations; or
- As a dependent unmarried son or daughter of such persons.
- There is no requirement that the child live in the U.S. later in life to retain U.S. Citizenship.
4. Child of a U.S. Citizen Mother and Foreign National Father
- A child born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions automatically becomes a U.S. citizen at birth if:
- The child was born before noon (Eastern Standard Time) May 24, 1934;
- The child’s father is a foreign national;
- The child’s mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth; and
- The child’s U.S. citizen mother resided in the United States prior to the child’s birth.
Child Status Protection Act of 2000 (CSPA) provided for automatic derivation of US Citizenship after birth.
1. Child of a U.S. Citizen Father
Same rules listed above for a child born when his or her parents are married apply to a child born out of wedlock outside of the United States claiming citizenship through a U.S. citizen father if:
- A blood relationship between the child and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence;
- The child’s father was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth either by birth or by naturalization;
- The child’s father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the child until the child reaches 18 years of age; and
One of the following criteria is met before the child reaches 18 years of age:
•The child is legitimated under the law of his or her residence or domicile;
•The father acknowledges in writing and under oath the paternity of the child; or
•The paternity of the child is established by adjudication of a competent court.
In addition, the residence or physical presence requirements contained in the relevant paragraph of INA 301 continue to apply to children born out of wedlock claiming citizenship through their fathers.
2. Child of a U.S. Citizen Mother
A child born out of wedlock outside of the United States and its outlying possessions acquires citizenship at birth if:
•The child was born after December 23, 1952;
•The child’s mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth; and
•The child’s U.S. citizen mother was physically present in the United States or outlying possession for one continuous year prior to the child’s birth.
The child’s parents should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA) to document that the child is a U.S. citizen. If the U.S. embassy or consulate determines that the child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth, a consular officer will approve the CRBA application and the Department of State will issue a CRBA, also called a Form FS-240, in the child’s name. CRBA is proof of U.S. citizenship and may be used to obtain a U.S. passport and all other purposes.
The child’s parents may choose to apply for a U.S. passport for the child at the same time that they apply for a CRBA. Parents may also choose to apply only for a U.S. passport for the child. Like a CRBA, a full validity, unexpired U.S. passport is proof of U.S. citizenship. All applicants applying outside of the United States should apply for passport in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Parents of a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen or citizens should apply for a CRBA and/or a U.S. passport for the child as soon as possible. By law, U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.
If you need help obtaining US Passport for yourself or your child born abroad please contact Cleveland Immigration Lawyer Irina Vinogradsky!
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