Automatic Acquisition Of U.S. Citizenship

U.S. Citizenship

Summary

Under the right circumstances, a foreign national can automatically become a U.S. citizen. They may not even be aware that they have been granted citizenship. If this happens, they don’t actually need to do anything. However, it is advisable to seek out proof of their citizenship.

Under the right circumstances, a foreign national can automatically become a U.S. citizen. They may not even be aware that they have been granted citizenship. If this happens, they don’t actually need to do anything. However, it is advisable to seek out proof of their citizenship.

How Do I Get Automatic Citizenship?

Automatic citizenship applies to children born outside the U.S. who fulfill the following conditions:

  1. The child has at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen. Citizenship can either be through naturalization or birth.
  2. The child is under 18 years old.
  3. The child has a green card.
  4. The U.S. citizen parent has legal and physical custody of the child.
  5. The child is residing in the U.S.

Automatic citizenship occurs for children born after February 27, 2001. Children born after that date have the automatic acquisition of citizenship after birth. If you believe you qualify, seek out an immigration attorney to learn what steps you should take.

What About Adopted Children?

Adopted children who fulfill the same conditions listed above also get automatic citizenship. However, they need to have gone through a formal adoption process.

What About Stepchildren?

Stepchildren have to go through the naturalization process. They do not get automatic citizenship.

How Can a Child Get Automatic Acquisition of Citizenship After Birth?

A child gains citizenship automatically if they were born under two married U.S. citizens and one of the parents had a U.S. residence. The child doesn’t need to do anything to keep citizenship.

If only one parent was a U.S. citizen, that parent must have resided in the U.S. for five years before the child’s birth. The parent must have also spent at least two years of that time above the age of 14.

What if the Child Was Born Out of Wedlock?

If the U.S. citizen parent was the father, he must acknowledge paternal responsibility before the child’s 18th birthday. If it was the mother, she must prove that she had five years of physical presence in the U.S. before the child’s birth. Two of those years must be when she was above the age of 14.

What if the Child Was Born Outside the U.S. Because the Parent Served in the U.S. Armed Forces?

Children born outside the U.S. with a U.S. government employee or armed forces parent can get automatic citizenship. However, it must be under either of the following conditions:

  • The U.S. citizen parent is a U.S. armed forces member or U.S. government member stationed outside the U.S.
  • Both parents are residing outside the U.S. and are married. One of the parents must reside outside the U.S. as an armed forces or a government employee.

How Do I Know if I Have Legal and Physical Custody of the Child?

According to the USCIS, legal and physical custody means that the parent has authority over the child. They are also responsible for their well-being. Here’s how the USCIS defines legal and physical custody:

  • The child is living with a biological parent.
  • The child lives with both biological parents and the parents are married.
  • The child is in legal custody of a parent after divorce or legal separation.

How Can I Get Proof of My U.S. Citizenship?

While citizenship applies through the Child Citizenship act, it does not mean you possess the proof. To gain proof, you must apply for a Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600). A parent can apply for their child. A child can also handle the application if they are over 18 years old.

What Documents Do I Need When Applying for a Certificate of Citizenship?

Here are the documents an applicant must submit when they apply for a certificate with the USCIS:

  1. Birth certificate
  2. Marriage certificate of parents if applicable
  3. Divorce decree or death certificate of a parent if applicable
  4. Evidence of parents’ U.S. citizenship
  5. Documents verifying the legitimacy of the child
  6. Official orders of U.S. government or U.S. armed forces member if applicable
  7. Copy of final adoption papers if applicable
  8. Evidence of any legal name changes

What Happens After I Submit an Application for Certificate of Citizenship?

The USCIS will interview the child if they are above 18. If they are not, they will talk to the parent. If approved, the child will undergo an Oath of Allegiance if they are above 14 years old. In the case of denial, the officer will state the reason in the letter. There is also a possibility to appeal the decision.

What if I Was Born Before February 27, 2001?

The laws for automatic citizenship depend on what year you are born. To ensure that you have qualifications, seek a professional immigration lawyer. They know all the nuances of the laws from different years and can help verify if you can get automatic citizenship.

Next Steps

Knowing that you are a U.S. citizen provides many benefits. You need to find out if it is automatic, and you need to get your proof of citizenship. If you’re having trouble figuring out if you got automatic citizenship, seek out an immigration lawyer. Reeves Immigration Law Group has helped many people secure their citizenship while answering all their questions.

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