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Application for Naturalization

Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship at Birth and Certificates of Citizenship 

A person born in the United States or its territories, subject to the United States' jurisdiction, is a U.S. citizen at birth. A person born outside of the United States may also be a U.S. citizen at birth if they satisfy the applicable requirements. 

Acquisition of Citizenship 

The general rule is that a child born out of the United States acquires citizenship at birth if, at the time:

  • both of the child's parents are U.S. citizens; and​

  • at least one parent has resided in the United States or one of its outlying possessions.

In cases where only one parent is a U.S. citizen at birth, the child acquires citizenship if the U.S. citizen parent meets the residence or physical presence requirements in the United States. These requirements depend on the applicable law at the time of birth.


The Child Citizenship Act of 2000

In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The Act contains two provisions that allow foreign-born, biological, and adopted children of U.S. citizens to acquire U.S. citizenship if they satisfy specific requirements before the age of 18.


The Act applies to children who did not acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. Under the law, a child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen when all of the following conditions have been met on or after Feb. 27, 2001:

  • The child has at least one parent, including an adoptive parent, who is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization;

  • The child is under 18 years of age;

  • The child is a lawful permanent resident (LPR); and

  • The child resides in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

Certificate of Citizenship 

A Certificate of Citizenship is documentation of citizenship status issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for those who acquired citizenship at or after birth. A person born abroad who is a U.S. citizen at birth is not required to file an Application for a Certificate of Citizenship and may file for a U.S. Passport with the Department of State through the U.S. Consulate at their residence.


To obtain a Certificate of Citizenship, you must file Form N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship or an N-600K Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate (for those residing abroad). With the application, you must provide supporting documents, including your Birth Certificate and Birth Certificate or Record of Your U.S. Citizen Parent.


If you would like to learn more about this topic, please contact our office.

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