American Citizenship for Children of US Citizens
Are My Children Eligible for American Citizenship?
In this article, Advocate James Cohen, USA immigration lawyer at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law firm will explain the criteria and process to receive American citizenship for children and grandchildren of US citizens.
If you are a United States citizen, then it is possible, but not guaranteed, that your children are also eligible for US citizenship.
American Citizenship through Birth in the USA
Except in very limited circumstances, if the children were born in the United States, then they are automatically US citizens.
American Citizenship for Those Born Outside the USA
To transmit US citizenship to those children born outside of the US, you must have been a US citizen prior to the birth of the children and lived in the United Sates for at least five years, two after reaching the age of fourteen. If you were a US citizen before your children were born but did not live in the US for the required five years, it is possible your children are still eligible for US citizenship through your parents (their grandparents), assuming they were also US citizens at the time of your children’s birth.
The Process to Receive American Citizenship
How you obtain US citizenship for your children depends upon what category above you and the children fall into. For many applicants for American citizenship, the process is fairly straightforward. You file an application for a Consular Birth Abroad with the US Embassy. This is an application requesting recognition from the US Embassy of your US citizen children. At the same time you can request the issuance of their first US passports. Among other things you must fill out forms and provide proof of your US citizenship, birth certificates of the children, marriage certificate (if applicable), divorce decrees (if applicable) and proof of living in the United States for five years or more. Proof of living in the United States can include US tax returns, Social Security records, school records, proof of employment, medical records, lease agreements, mortgage agreements, bills, etc.
If you cannot prove the required time of living in the United States, it is possible you can use your parents’ physical presence in the United States to meet the five year test. They must have been US citizens prior to your children’s birth. In addition, this particular transmission of US citizenship must take place before your children turn eighteen. In these cases US citizenship for your children must take place in the United States. There are two methods to achieve this:
1. You apply for a Certificate of Citizenship with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the United States. You must fill out certain forms and provide documentation of your parents’ US citizenship, your US citizenship, birth certificates and proof of your parents’ five year presence in the United States. Then, you request an appointment with a local USCIS office in the United States. When the appointment is set, you request a tourist visa for your child from the US Embassy, bring the child to the United States and attend the interview at the local USCIS office where the child will receive US citizenship.
2. If you are considering moving to the United States, then as a US citizen you can file for a green card for your minor children with the USCIS in the United States. Once approved and once the child enters the United States with an immigrant visa, then the child can apply for a US passport and thus become a US citizen.
This is a very general description of the process to obtain American citizenship for your children. The particulars of each case can be complicated and confusing; therefore we recommend using the legal assistance of an American citizenship lawyer.
If you need assistance obtaining US citizenship for your children, please contact Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law offices.