The Child Citizenship Act
What is the Child Citizenship Act?
The Child Citizenship Act was passed in 2000 under the Clinton Administration. Its purpose was to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to permit foreign-born children to acquire citizenship automatically if they meet certain requirements.
What are the Requirements?
To be eligible, an individual must meet the definition of “child” under immigration law and they must also meet the following requirements:
- The child has at least one United States citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);
- The child is under 18 years of age;
- The child is currently residing permanently in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parent;
- The child is a lawful permanent resident;
- An adopted child meets the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law
If a Child is Eligible, Will They Automatically Receive Proof of U.S. Citizenship?
The child will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship on the day of their admission into the U.S. as a legal permanent resident but they will not be provided with a certificate of citizenship. If desired, the parents who meet the above-stated conditions may apply for a certificate of citizenship for their child with the USCIS and they may also request a passport for their child with the Department of State.
A child who has been adopted by a U.S. citizen parent may also take advantage of the Child Citizenship Act. If the child was adopted abroad, the child will automatically become a U.S. citizen on the day they are admitted to the United States as an immigrant. If a parent did not see the child before or during the adoption process overseas, they will first need to meet any state-required procedures to receive recognition of the foreign adoption. Finally, if a child is adopted in the United States, the child will become a citizen once a final adoption decree has been issued by the proper court.
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