Looking for help about US citizenship for children?

kid us citizenship


Through the naturalization process or as birth right a person can become a US citizen. For the naturalization process an eligible green card holder needs to file INS N 400 Form. To obtain US citizenship through parents there are two possible ways, at birth is one option and another is after birth but before the kid is 18 years of age. Child born outside US is a US citizen if at birth time both the parents are US citizens and at least one person has lived in US for some time.

Also if one of the parents is a US citizen and the child was born on or after November 14 1986 the child is a US citizen provided the US citizen parent stayed in US for at least 5 years anytime and at least 2 years in a row after his/her 14th birthday is mandatory and also the parents are still married at the time of birth of the child. There is exception to the physical presence requirement if the US citizen parent was abroad either on an US armed forces assignment, US government employee or as certain international organization’s employee. After child turns 18 years of age the normal process of filing <N 400 should be followed.

Details for childbirth citizenship

If the child birth date is after October 10 1952 but before November 14 1986 child is a US citizen at birth if the US parent should have stayed for at least 10 years in US as citizen and of which minimum 5 years as US citizen in US after his/her 14th birthday. There are exceptions from physical presence criteria if US parent is in US armed forces and is on duty abroad, as a US government employee abroad or as a certain international organization employee abroad.

After birth and before the 18th birthday the child is a US citizen if born after February 27 2001 and if one of the parents is a US citizen and the child is in legal custody of that parent and living in US. Children who are less than 18 years of age between December 24, 1952 to February 26, 2001 and who live in US as green card holders with parents who are both US citizens before the child was 18 years old. Else if only one parent is alive who became US citizen before the child was 18 years old can also become US citizen after birth. If the parents have legally parted and the child is with the US citizen parent who is legal custodian of the child and naturalized before child was 18 is a US citizen. For a child born out of wedlock and if the mother naturalized before child turned 18 is also a US citizen.

If child is adopted?

In case of adoption, US citizen parent with whom the child stays and is in legal custody and also after February 27, 2001 but before 18th birthday of the child, for child to become a US citizen should meet the following conditions:

  • Before the 16th birthday of the child or sometimes 18th the child should have been adopted and  in the legal custody of the US citizen parent who adopted him/her lived together for at least two years prior to becoming a US citizen
  • As an orphan (IR-3) or as adoptee (IH-3) the child entered US after the adoption process was completed abroad by the US citizen parent. Also if the child as an orphan (IR-4) or adoptee (IH-4) entered US and was later adopted before her or his 18th birthday.

Documentation of childbirth abroad

To US citizen parents if a child is born abroad it’s important to get a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240) issued as early as possible and that will as an official record help the child to claim US citizenship. Child birth abroad should be reported at the nearest consulate or embassy. Only until the child is under 18 years of age the Consular Report of Birth Abroad can be recorded at a consular office abroad. After the report is made and approved only the original report is given to the parents. Multiple copies of the same can be got anytime.

DS-1350, Certification of Report of Birth is no longer issued by the Department of State as of December 31, 2010. For identity, citizenship and other legal purposes all previously issued DS-1350s are still valid proof. USCIS issued Form N-600, Certificate of Citizenship and the Consular Report of Birth is acceptable proof of U.S. citizenship. At the nearest office of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services an application for a Certificate of Citizenship may be submitted in the United States.

A redesigned FS-240 Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) was begun to be issued in January 2011 by the Department of State. With a variety of state of the art security features the new CRBA was updated and is printed centrally in the United States. Locally no longer CRBAs are printed in U.S. embassies and consulates. In order to ensure uniform quality and reduce the vulnerability to fraud central production and the elimination of blank FS-240s around the world was started. In accordance with 22 U.S.C 2705 as valid proof of U.S. citizenship still previous version of the FS-240 is accepted.

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