The Child Citizenship Act of 2000

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) and provided that children born to United States citizen parents abroad may obtain citizenship if they meet certain conditions. Some children born to United States citizens abroad automatically obtain citizenship at birth, and the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 does not apply to those children (see our article entitled “Acquisition of United States Citizenship at Birth” for a discussion of children who automatically obtain United States citizenship at birth).

Children born to United States citizen parents abroad who are currently residing in the United States must meet, prior to the age of eighteen (18), the following requirements to obtain their citizenship:

  1. They must have at least one United States citizen parent (the parent’s citizenship may have been acquired through either birth in the United States or naturalization);
  2. They must be admitted to the United States for lawful permanent residency (i.e. they must be a green card holder);
  3. After they have been admitted to the United States, they must reside in the country in the legal and physical custody of their United States citizen parent; and
  4. If they were adopted, their adoption must be full and final, such that the adoption process is complete and the adoption is fully recognized by the state where the child is residing with their parent(s).

Children who are living abroad with United States citizen parents must meet, prior to the age of eighteen (18), the following requirements to obtain their citizenship:

  1. They must have at least one United States citizen parent (the parent’s citizenship may have been acquired through either birth in the United States or naturalization);
  2. Their United States citizen parent must have been physically present in the United States for a total of at least five years, at least two of which are after age 14. If the child’s U.S. citizen parent cannot meet the physical presence requirement, one of the child’s U.S. citizen grandparents must meet it;
  3. They must live abroad in the legal and physical custody of their United States citizen parent and be temporarily present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission and be maintaining that lawful status; and
  4. They must apply for a certificate of citizenship and take the oath of naturalization.

If you are interested in learning more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 and how it may affect you or a loved one, please contact Tanner Law Offices at 717-731-8114 to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.