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An Introduction to Derivative Citizenship: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000

As noted in Part 1, derivative citizenship refers to the concept allowing a child to derive citizenship after birth from a parent who has become a U.S. Citizen by naturalization.


With the abrogation of Former INA § 321, derivative citizenship is presently governed by The Child Citizenship Act of 2000.



Derivative citizenship can be a complex topic and an immigration attorney, like those at The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A., can help determine which legal option best fits your needs after analyzing the unique facts and law specific to your case.


The Child Citizenship Act of 2000


The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 removed Immigration and Nationality Act section 321 in an effort to streamline the derivative citizenship process so that there would only be one method for children in the United States to acquire citizenship after birth.


The Child Citizenship Act applies to 1) individuals who were under the age of eighteen (18) on February 27, 2001 or to 2) individuals born after February 27, 2001.


The benefits of the Child Citizenship Act differ based on whether an eligible child resides within or outside of the United States.

Children residing within the United States


Pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children residing within the United States automatically acquire citizenship if the following requirements are met:


  • One of the child’s parents is a United States Citizen;

  • The child is under the age of eighteen;

  • The child resides in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder)

  • The child is in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent


Qualified applicants residing within the United States would use Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, to obtain a certificate of citizenship.


Children residing outside of the United States


Pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, children residing outside of the United States is eligible to naturalize if the following requirements are met:

  • One of the child’s parents is a United States Citizen;

  • The child is under the age of eighteen;

  • The U.S. Citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for at least five years. Note that two of these years must take place after the age of fourteen. Also, if the U.S. Citizen parent is unable to meet this requirement, the requirement can be satisfied by the child’s U.S. Citizen grandparent, provided either of them can meet the physical presence requirements

  • The child is in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent. Note that if the child’s USC parent is deceased, the child may still qualify for citizenship

  • The child is temporarily present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission, and is maintaining such lawful status;

  • The child takes the Oath of Allegiance


Qualified applicants residing within the United States would use Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322, to obtain a certificate of citizenship. This form is submitted by the child’s U.S. citizen parents.


Note, that if the child’s parent(s) is deceased, a U.S. citizen grandparent or U.S. citizen legal guardian can also submit this application but must do so within five years of the parent’s death.


Proving Citizenship


As noted above, Forms N-600 and N-600K are used in order to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. This document is critical to establish that the child is an American Citizen. While the child automatically acquires citizenship in a legal sense upon satisfying the requirements above, the U.S. government will not recognize the child's citizenship without either a Certificate of Citizenship or a U.S. Passport.


How Can a Florida Citizenship Lawyer Help?


Determining eligibility for Derivative Citizenship can be a complex matter. For this reason, it is recommended that you obtain the advice and assistance of a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer. Florida immigration attorney George K. Gomez is experienced in assisting individuals with their citizenship issues.


Furthermore, because immigration law is a federal matter, The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A. can assist you even if you are not a resident of Florida. If you need a qualified immigration lawyer to handle your US citizenship matter, contact The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A., in order to speak to a experienced immigration lawyer to get the advice and assistance you need.


If you need an immigration lawyer or just need more information on the immigration-related legal services we can offer, our service areas, or wish to learn more about our managing attorney, contact us at (305) 539-0991, or use our online contact form.

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