The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 serves to facilitate the acquisition of U.S. citizenship of the foreign-born children of U.S. citizens – both biological and adopted – who did not acquire citizenship at birth. Foreign born, adopted and biological children of American citizens may be able to acquire American citizenship automatically as a result of the Child Citizenship Act. U.S. citizenship is granted when they enter the U.S. as Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs).
What are the requirements of the citizenship act of 2000?
In order to qualify for the benefits created by the Child Citizenship Act, the immigrating child must meet the following requirements:
- At least one American citizen parent by birth or naturalization
- Under 18 years old
- Live in the legal/physical custody of the American citizen parent
- Be admitted as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence
What Is the Effective Date of the Child Citizenship Act?
The effective date of the Child Citizenship Act is February 27, 2001. Children who met the requirements on that date automatically became American citizens. Children who were 18 years of age or older on that date are not eligible to take advantage of the Child Citizenship Act. They may, however, have acquired U.S. citizenship in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act that the Child Citizenship Act superseded. If you have any questions regarding your child’s eligibility for the Child Citizenship Act, please contact our experienced immigration attorneys. We offer a free initial consultation.
What Happens When the Child Is Adopted in the United States?
A child who enters the United States on an IR4 visa (to be adopted in the United States) the child’s status will change when the adoption is full and final in the United States. Once the adoption must be finalized in the United States, citizenship is acquired. Since citizenship is given automatically, it is not necessary to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship.
How Does a Child Show Lawful Permanent Residence?
A child who is in the country as an LPR will have a permanent resident card, also known as a green card. The child may also have a stamp in their passport which will show that the child entered the country with an immigrant visa and has been admitted as an LPR.
Must the Child Get a Certificate of Citizenship?
A child who has acquired U.S. citizenship in accordance with the child citizenship act does not have to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship in order to be considered a U.S. citizen; however, if you want to obtain such a certificate, you need to submit a completed Application for Certificate of Citizenship to USCIS.
To see prove U.S. citizenship, read our article here.
How Does the Child Get a Passport Under the Child Citizenship Act?
You will need the following when the child applies for a passport:
- Proof of the child's relationship to the U.S. citizen parent. For the biological child of the U.S. citizen this will usually be a certified copy of the foreign birth certificate (and translation if not in English). In circumstances where it is not clear that the birth certificate is adequate proof of a biological relationship between the child and the U.S. citizen parent, other types of evidence, including medical and/or DNA tests, may be required. For an adopted child, it is a certified copy of the final adoption decree (and translation if not in English);
- The stamp endorsed in the child's foreign passport showing that the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services admitted the child for lawful permanent residence , or the child's permanent resident card (green card);
- Proof of identity of the U.S. citizen parent(s)
- Passport application, passport photographs and fees.
Can My Child Get a Birth Certificate (Consular Report of Birth Abroad or CROBA) from the Embassy or Consulate?
No. Only a child who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth can get a birth certificate from an embassy or consulate. A child who acquires U.S. citizenship in accordance with the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 is deemed to be a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Children Born and Residing Outside of the United States: Conditions for Acquiring Certificate of Citizenship
Another section of the Child Citizenship Act provides that children (biological or adopted) of U.S. citizens who are born and reside abroad, and who do not become U.S. citizens at birth can apply to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services for a Certificate of Citizenship if the following conditions are met.
- At least one parent of the child is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization;
- The U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the United States for a total of at least five years, at least two of which are after the age of 14. If the child's U.S. citizen parent cannot meet the physical presence requirement, one of the child's U.S. citizen grandparents can meet it.
- The child is under the age of eighteen;.
- The child lives abroad in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent and has been lawfully admitted into the United States as a nonimmigrant.
- If the child is an orphan, the adoption must be finalized.
Children who acquire citizenship under this new provision do not acquire citizenship automatically. They must apply to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services for a Certificate of Citizenship by completing and remitting the Application for Certificate of Citizenship and paying the necessary filing fee.
Who May File the Application for Certificate of Citizenship?
The form may be filed by a U.S. citizen parent. If, however, the U.S. citizen parent has died during the preceding five years, the form may be filed by either a U.S. citizen grandparent or a U.S. citizen legal guardian.
May the Application for Certificate of Citizenship Form be Filed from Overseas?
Yes, an application for a certificate of U.S. citizenship may be filed from overseas, as well as from inside the United States.
When does the Child Acquire U.S. Citizenship following this process?
The child acquires U.S. citizenship only when the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves the application for the Certificate of Citizenship.
Additional Ways Children of U.S. Citizen Parents May Gain Citizenship
In addition to the paths to citizenship that became available following the CCA’s enactment, children of one or two U.S. citizen parents who were born outside of the U.S. gained citizenship at birth in the following ways:
- If one parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth and the birthdate of the child is on or after November 14, 1986, then the child may gain citizenship at birth even if he or she was born outside of the United States. The parents must have been married at the time of birth and the U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the U.S. for a period of at least 5 years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, of which at least two years were after his or her 14th birthday.
- If one parent is a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth and the birthdate of the child is prior to November 14, 1986 but after October 10, 1952 then the child may gain citizenship automatically at birth. The parents must have been married at the time of birth and the U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the U.S. for a period of at least 10 years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, at least five of which were after his or her 14th birthday.
Although it is not required to obtain a certificate of citizenship, in order to apply for things such as a U.S. passport any naturalized citizen will need proof of their U.S. citizenship.