Certain persons born outside of the U.S. may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth where one or both of the parents are U.S. citizens. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which took effect on February 27, 2001, amended the old version of Section 320(a) of INA and automatically accords derivative citizenship to the child born outside of the United States, if:
1. at least one parent of the child is a citizen of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization;
2. the child is under the age of eighteen years; and
3. the child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent, pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence.
The child must have been under eighteen years of age as of February 27, 2001. A U.S. citizen parent has presumed legal custody, if the biological child resides with both natural parents who are married and living together. A divorced U.S. citizen parent has legal custody of the child over whom they have joint custody. Section 320(a) of INA also applies to an adopted child with a final adoption order or decree, but not to a step-child. The child must be residing in the United States as a lawful permanent resident on or after February 27, 2001. If the child was previously admitted as a lawful permanent resident, they must be absent from the United States on February 27, 2001, but subsequently readmitted as a lawful permanent resident after that date. To become a citizen, the child must meet the following requirements:
- Have at least one American citizen parent by birth or naturalization
- Be under 18 years of age
- Live in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent; and
- Be a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States
If you are serious about getting legal assistance a consultation is the best place to start. Spend up to a full hour with an immigration attorney to discuss the details of your case, get answers to your questions, work through complex issues and supporting documents and plan an immigration strategy for obtaining benefits.