How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship for a Child

Certain children may be eligible for U.S. citizenship depending on their circumstances. For example if the:

  • Child is born in the U.S
  • Child is born to a parent who naturalized as a U.S. citizen
  • Child is born to a U.S. citizen (at least one parent is a U.S. citizen)

Child born in the U.S.:

If a child was born in the U.S., then the child will automatically be granted U.S. citizenship. The child remains a U.S. citizen unless they choose to renounce their citizenship.

Child born to parents who obtain U.S. Citizenship through naturalization:

If one or both parents naturalized as U.S. citizens, then the child gets derived citizenship  as long as the child:

  • Is under 18 years of age
  • Has a green card
  • Lives with the naturalized parent(s)

If the child meets the conditions above, then it may be a good idea to obtain a certificate of citizenship as proof as the child’s U.S. citizenship status. Though it is not required, over time it generally becomes more difficult to gather all the necessary paperwork. 

If the child is over 18 years of age, he or she may apply for a green card as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. After five years of holding permanent resident status, he/ she can apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. 

Child born to a U.S. citizen:

If one or both parents are U.S. citizens, then the child becomes a U.S. citizen through acquired citizenship. The simplest way is to give a child of U.S. citizen parentage.

  1. Register the birth abroad. This can be done until the child is 18 years of age. If the child is older than 18, he/she must apply to adjust status or for an immigrant visa.
  2. Apply for a Certificate of Citizenship or passport for the child. Both a U.S. passport or Certificate of Citizenship provide proof of the child’s citizenship.

How to Obtain a Certificate of Citizenship:

  1. Complete Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship
  2. Collect the required supporting documents:
  • Two passport-style color photographs of the child
  • A copy of the child’s green card
  • Birth Certificate of child
  • Parent’s marriage certificate
  • Proof of U.S. residence
  • Copies of any other documents required
  1. Mail the application package to the appropriate USCIS District or field office along with the required fee
  2. Wait for a letter from the USCIS. Once the USCIS has processed the application, the parents will receive a letter informing them of the place and time to bring the child to complete the naturalization process
  3. Go to the location on the given date with the appointment letter and collect the naturalization certificate of the child

File Form N-600 using Immigration Direct’s modern software. Our form preparation services to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship includes customized form filing instructions that can help you avoid errors. Plus, our personalized instructions help you properly prepare and file your application with the USCIS.