Obtaining Citizenship Through Parents in the United States

A person who is born outside of the United States can come to the country in a variety of ways. There are some cases in which a foreign child has parents that are United States citizens. When this happens, there are generally two ways a person can obtain citizenship through their citizen parents. A child of a citizen can acquire citizenship for themselves either at birth or after they are born but before reaching the age of 18 years old.

Eligibility

Children of citizens who are born in a different country can acquire citizenship through their parents that are already citizens. This can be done if the parents and the child meet specific requirements that may vary depending on certain factors. This can include:

  • The child’s date of birth
  • The citizenship of the parents
  • The marital status of the parents
  • The parent’s physical presence and residence in the country before the child’s birth
  • If the child was born in or out of wedlock
  • If the child was legitimated by the parent under the correct laws
  • If the child is adopted

When applying for citizenship, it is important to know that stepchildren of U.S. citizens typically are not able to become citizens through their stepparent. Exceptions are sometimes made to this rule if they are adopted and the adoption meets requirements of its own.

How to Apply

Children who wish to apply for citizenship through their parent can do so online. This can be done through the following steps:

  • Create a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) account to access the online application
  • Complete the online Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600)
  • Upload all evidence, including initial evidence and any supporting documentation for the Form N-600
  • Review the application and digitally sign
  • Pay the $1170 form filing fee and submit the application

An applicant can also file for citizenship by paper if they do not want to do so online. This can be done through the following steps:

  • Request a certificate of citizenship from the USCIS (Form N-600)
  • Complete the Form N-600
  • Submit the filing fee of $1170
  • Submit all evidence, including initial evidence and any supporting documentation for the Form N-600
  • Sign and file the form at the correct filing location according to the form’s instructions

Once an application is submitted, it is processed by the USCIS. The applicant will be informed that it was received and be notified if an interview is requested. A written notice of the decision is sent and if the application is approved for a child over 14, they must appear at a USCIS office to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Contact our Firm

The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David practices immigration law throughout NYC. If you have questions about your particular matters regarding immigration please contact the office to discuss your circumstances and options.