A child who is:

can become a U.S. citizen by action of law on the date on which all of the following requirements have been met:  

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, an “Application for Certificate of Citizenship” may be sumbitted to USCIS to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. (Note: a child who meets these requirements before his or her 18th birthday may obtain a passport of Certificate of Citizenship at any time, even after he or she turns 18). A child who is regularly residing IN the United States can become a citizen of the United States only by meeting the requirements listed above. 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, he or she may apply for naturalization after reaching 18 years of age by filing an N-400, provided that he or she has the required 5 years of lawful permanent residence. 

U.S. citizens with children by birth or adoption who do NOT regularly reside in the United States, may apply for citizenship for such a child if all of the following conditions are met:

If the foregoing conditions are met, the citizen parent can apply for citizenship and a certificate of citizenship in behalf of the child using an “Application for Citizenship and Issuance of a Certificate under Section 322.”  Both the citizen parent and the child must appear at an interview with an USCIS 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).

If the child meets the requirements of Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act as a child residing outside the United States, one may submit an “Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322.”

*NOTE – Children who immigrated under the “IR-3” or “IR-4” categories must have had an immigrant petition filed on their behalf before their 16th birthday. All adoptions for any other type of immigration benefit, including naturalization, must be completed by the child’s 16th birthday, with one exception: A child adopted while under the age of 18 years by the same parents who adopted a natural sibling who met the usual requirements.

**NOTE – The “one U.S. citizen parent” rule applies only to children who first fulfilled the requirements for automatic citizenship (other than at birth abroad) on or after February 27, 2001. In order to qualify for automatic citizenship (other than at birth abroad) on or before February 26, 2001, all of the child’s parents must have been United States citizens either at birth or through naturalization- both parents if the child had two parents; the surviving parent if a parent had died; the parent with legal custody if the parents were divorced or legally separated; or the mother only, if the child had been born out of wedlock and the child’s paternity had not been established by legitimation.

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If you would like to know more about eligibility for citizenship and about the process, please contact one of our attorneys for assistance.