U.S. Citizenship for children residing abroad

A child generally acquires U.S. citizenship by birth in the United States, and by birth abroad to one or both U.S. citizen parents. A child under the age of 18 living in the United States on a Green Card and in the legal and physical custody of one U.S. citizen parent acquires derivative U.S. citizenship under INA 320.

The child born abroad to a U.S. citizen sometimes does not automatically acquire U.S. citizenship because his or her parent did not spend enough time in the United States prior to his or her birth. However, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 created a path of U.S. citizenship by naturalization for such children of U.S. citizens regularly residing abroad.

This citizenship application is filed through form N-600K. It is commonly used by:

1. U.S. citizens that accrued the required time in the United States after the birth of his or her child;

2. U.S. citizens residing abroad that adopts a minor child;

3. U.S. citizens residing abroad that also have a U.S. citizen parent (the child’s grandparent) that meets the U.S. residency requirements for them.

It is important to know that the entire process must be completed before the child’s 18th birthday. After, eligibility of citizenship through N-600K will be lost, even if the delay was caused by USCIS.

One requirement of the N-600K application is that the child must enter the United States on a tourist Visa either at the time of filing, or before the certificate of citizenship is issued. The USCIS will not assist an N-600K applicant to get his or her tourist Visa.

As a New York immigration lawyer, I have helped countless U.S. citizens residing abroad get their children U.S. citizenship through the N-600K.