Certificate of Citizenship for Foreign-Born Child
A child is automatically a U.S. citizen if she/he is born in the U.S., regardless of the status of her/his parents and does not need a Certificate of Citizenship.
Children born outside the U.S. gain citizenship through their parents either at birth or after birth before the age of 18, and can apply for a Certificate of Citizenship. A stepchild is not considered a child for purposes of citizenship.
Is a Foreign-Born Child a U.S. Citizen?
A child born outside the U.S. and its territories is a U.S. citizen if any of the situations below apply:
- The child’s parents are married, are both U.S. citizens, and at least one parent lived in the U.S. or its territories before the child was born.
- The child’s parents are married, and one of the parents is a U.S. citizen who has been physically in the U.S. for at least 5 years before the child was born. This requirement may be met if the U.S. citizen parent served in the U.S. armed forces, worked for the U.S. government, or certain international organizations, or was the unmarried son or daughter of a parent meeting any of these conditions.
- The child’s parents are not married, but the child’s mother is a U.S. citizen born after December 23, 1952, and had been physically in the U.S. for at least one year.
- The child’s parents are not married, but the child’s father is a U.S. citizen born after November 14, 1986, legitimizes the child, and agrees to provide financial support for the child until the age of 18.
- The child is under 18, was born after February 27, 2001, has at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen and has legal or physical custody of the child.
- The child was under 18 between December 24, 1952 to February 26, 2001; living in the U.S. with a green card; and both parents—or if one parent died, the surviving parent—or the parent with custody if the parents are separated became U.S. citizens before the child turned 18.
- The child was adopted by a U.S. citizen parent and resides in the U.S. with the citizen parent and if either of the following are met before the child’s 18th birthday:
- The parent adopted the child, had legal custody of the child, and lived with the child for at least 2 years.
- The child came to the U.S. as an orphan or adoptee.
If the child was under 18 years of age on February 27, 2001, but not all of the conditions of the situations listed above were met before the individual’s 18th birthday, the individual must qualify for U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Certificates of Citizenship to those individuals who were born abroad, but are U.S. citizens at birth through their parents, or who became citizens before the age of 18. A Certificate of Citizenship officially recognizes when the individual became a U.S.citizen.
To apply for a Certificate of Citizenship, the parent of a minor child born outside the U.S. or an adult who was born outside the U.S. and meets the requirements above must submit Form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship) the required photos, documentation, and filing fee to USCIS.
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