What is the Child Citizenship Act?


The Child Citizenship Act passed in the year 2000. If you have a child or adopted child of a U.S. citizen parent by birth or naturalization the child may be able to automatically acquire citizenship when entering the United States as a lawful permanent resident as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • The child must still be unmarried and under the age of 18.
  • The child must live in the legal and physical custody of the parent who is an American citizen.
  • If adopted, the adoption must be full and final. 

If the child meets the requirements they do not have to apply for a certificate of citizenship, though they may acquire one if they wish. 

This program often applies to the children of American parents who choose to adopt children from overseas. American parents adopt thousands of children from other countries every year, though this practice has declined in recent years. 

It can also apply to some individuals who might wish to come to the United States as adults. Children born to a U.S. Citizen whose birthdate is on or after November 14, 1986, may have a right to U.S. citizen as long as the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for a period of at least 5 years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, of which at least two years were after their 14th birthday. 

If one parent was a U.S. citizens at the time of birth and the birthday falls between October 10, 1952 and November 14, 1986 then that person may have gained automatic citizenship at birth, so long as the parents were married and the U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the U.S. for a period of at least ten years at some time in their life prior to the birth, at least five of which were after their 14th birthday. Such a person would want to apply for a certificate in order to gain access to the privileges of citizenship. 

If you think you may be eligible for citizenship, or need help securing a child’s citizenship privileges, reach out to Hykel Law. While it can seem like the Child Citizenship Act is relatively straightforward, actually taking advantage of the law can become complicated quickly. 

See also:

How to Help Your Parents Enter the United States Legally

Is My Family Member Eligible for Immigration? 

How Much Does an Immigration Lawyer Cost? 

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