Derivative Citizenship generally refers to the concept allowing a child to derive citizenship after birth. This can occur, by operation of law, without having to file an Application for Naturalization with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Here, we look at a unique scenario concerning the automatic acquisition of citizenship for foreign-born children of U.S. government employees and member of the U.S. armed forces.
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.
Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act
The Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act was enacted on March 26, 2020 and was designed to benefit members of the U.S. armed forces and employees of the U.S. Government by providing a procedure for their foreign-born children to automatically acquire citizenship.
Unlike the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 and Former INA §321, which both generally require the child’s physical presence in the United States as a prerequisite of acquiring derivative citizenship, the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act provides a legal mechanism for foreign-born children to obtain their citizenship while outside of the United States.
Prior to the enactment of the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act, a foreign-born child would automatically acquire U.S. citizenship if (1) the child had at least one parent who is a citizen, (2) was under the age of 18, (3) was residing in the United States in the citizen parent's legal and physical custody (4) and was admitted to the U.S. pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence.
Codified under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 320(c), a certificate of citizenship for a foreign-born child can be sought outside of the United States if the following requirements are met:
(1) One of the foreign-born child’s parents is a U.S. Citizen;
(2) The foreign-born child is under the age of 18;
(3) The foreign-born child holds lawful permanent residence (green card); and
(4) The foreign-born child is in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent who is:
Stationed and residing abroad as an employee of the Government of the United State;
Residing abroad in marital union with an employee of the Government of the United States who is stationed abroad;
Stationed and residing abroad as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States
Authorized to accompany and reside abroad with a member of the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to the member's official orders and is so accompanying and residing abroad with the member in marital union.
Note that a foreign-born child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces must be authorized to accompany such member and reside abroad with the member pursuant to the member's official orders in order to qualify under INA §320(c).
Of additional note is the fact that The Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act only applies to individuals who were either under 18 years of age on March 26, 2020, or born after March 26, 2020.
Qualified applicants would use Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322, to obtain a certificate of citizenship.
As noted above, Form N-600K is used in order to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship derived through The Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act.
The Certificate of Citizenship is critical in proving that the foreign-born 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.