General Requirements: Genetic, Legitimated, or Adopted Child Automatically Acquiring Citizenship after Birth
A child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen when all of the following conditions have been met on or after February 27, 2001:
A child born abroad through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to a U.S. citizen gestational mother who is not also the genetic mother may acquire U.S. citizenship under INA 320 if:
A stepchild who has not been adopted does not qualify for citizenship under this provision.
B. Legal and Physical Custody of U.S. Citizen Parent
Legal custody refers to the responsibility for and authority over a child. For purposes of this provision, USCIS presumes that a U.S. citizen parent has legal custody of a child and recognizes that the parent has lawful authority over the child, absent evidence to the contrary, in all of the following scenarios:
USCIS considers a U.S. citizen parent who has been awarded “joint custody” to have legal custody of a child. There may be other factual circumstances under which USCIS may find the U.S. citizen parent to have legal custody to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
C. Acquisition of Citizenship Prior to Child Citizenship Act of 2000
The CCA applies only to those children born on or after February 27, 2001, or those who were under 18 years of age as of that date. Persons who were 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under INA 320. For such persons, the law in effect at the time the last condition was met before reaching 18 years of age is the relevant law to determine whether they acquired citizenship.
In general, former INA 321 applies to children who were already 18 years of age on February 27, 2001, but who were under 18 years of age in 1952, when the current Immigration and Nationality Act became effective.
In general, a child born outside of the United States to two foreign national parents, or one foreign national parent and one U.S. citizen parent who subsequently lost U.S. citizenship, acquires citizenship under former INA 321 if:
As originally enacted in 1952, this section did not apply to adopted children of naturalized citizens. Beginning on October 5, 1978, however, INA 321 became generally applicable to an adopted child if the child was residing in the United States at the time the adoptive parent or parents naturalized and the child was in the custody of his or her adoptive parents pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence.
D. Application for Certificate of Citizenship
A person who automatically obtains citizenship is not required to file an Application for Certificate of Citizenship (N-600). A person who seeks documentation of such status, however, must submit an application to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship from USCIS. A person may also apply for a U.S. Passport with the Department of State to serve as evidence of his or her U.S. citizenship.
A person who is at least 18 years of age may submit the Application for Certificate of Citizenship on his or her own behalf. If the application is for a child who has not reached 18 years of age, the child's U.S. citizen biological parent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian must submit the application.
USCIS will issue proof of U.S. citizenship in the form of a Certificate of Citizenship if the Application for Certificate of Citizenship is approved and the person takes the Oath of Allegiance, if required to do so