Derivative Citizenship

Derivative Citizenship


What is Derivative citizenship?

A child born outside the U.S. may become a U.S. citizen by operation of law via the child’s parent or parent’s birth or naturalization.

Requirements of Derivative Citizenship

A child can derive U.S. citizenship if all the following conditions are met:

  1. One parent is a U.S. citizen by either birth or naturalization;
  2. The child is under 18 years old;
  3. The child is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
  4. The child is residing in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

Who is a "Child" in Derivative Citizenship?

  • A child for the purpose of derivative citizenship must be under 18 years old.
  • A biological child born out of wedlock who has not been legitimated is eligible of derivative citizenship if the child’s mother becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen.
  • A step child is not deemed a "child" for the purpose of derivative citizenship.
  • A adopted child is a "child" for the purpose of derivative citizenship.

How to Apply for Derivative Citizenship

A child’s citizenship stated above is derived as a matter of law, not by application. A child can however apply for a Certificate of Citizenship by filing form N-600 with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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