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Citizenship Certificate and the Eligibility Criteria to Get One

A citizenship certificate is a very important document, which can open the gates of the US for you permanently. Citizenship in the US can be attained by birth as well as acquired with the help of law. Children born in the US are citizens by birth, but children born of US citizen parents outside US can also claim a citizenship certificate through their parents’ status by filing Form N 600.

Eligibility for Filing Form N 600

Form N 600, the application for the citizenship certificate, can be filed by people claiming citizenship based on citizen parentage while staying in the US but having been born outside of US to US citizen parent(s). A person can file Form N 600 if the following happened before they turned 18 years and before February 27, 2001:

  • The person lives in the physical and legal custody of the citizen parent after being admitted as a permanent resident.
  • The child’s parent(s), or the parent who was awarded legal and physical custody of the child, is a US citizen by naturalization.

If a person is the adopted or biological child of a U.S. citizen but he/she was born outside the US and claims U.S. citizenship certificate legally, he/she will automatically become a U.S. citizen if:

  • At least one of the parent is a citizen of USA
  • The individual is still under 18 years of age
  • The person is residing in the US with their US citizen parent
  • The person is the biological child of the US citizen parent, living in the legally authorized custody of his/her parent till 16 years of age; or
  • The individual is the biological child resulting from a matrimony but not legitimated and his/her mother has become a US citizen through a process of naturalization.
  • The individual is legally admitted as a permanent inhabitant. A child adopted outside the US has to submit IR-3 to get legal entry into the US. If an individual is entering the US to get adopted, then IR-4 has to be submitted.

In case an individual is the biological child of a U.S. parent(s), and was born outside the USA he / she can claim citizenship due to his / her U.S. citizen parentage. The person involuntarily becomes a citizen of USA at birth if:

  • One of the parents is a US national and the other a foreigner, who was present in the US for not less than five years, of which two years were after the parent had crossed 14 years of age and before the individual’s birth
  • Both parents are US citizens and at least one parent resided in the US before the birth of the individual

If an individual is an adopted or biological child aged less than 18 years and meets the requirements for citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Form N-600 must be filed by the U.S. citizen parent or legal guardian who has been awarded physical and legal custody of the child.

Persons who should not File Form N 600 for Citizenship Certificate

  • People with no claim to US citizenship, either by birth or through the action of law.
  • Step-children.
  • Illegitimate children, or children who were not legitimated before their 16th birthday.
  • US citizen parents cannot file this form for children who regularly outside the US.

Child Citizenship Act

As per the Child Citizenship Act, persons who were 18 years or older on February 27, 2001, are not qualified for citizenship. Someone who was over the age of 18 as on February 27, 2001, may be qualified to apply for a citizenship certificate by filling Form N 600 under the law in effect before the enactment of the CCA. Such persons will have to contact the USCIS for more information.

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