Many individuals born outside the United States are actually United States citizens, without even realizing it. Whether this is true depends on a variety of factors. Understanding the Child Citizenship Act is key to determining your status as a citizen, and therefore your ability to claim the rights of U.S. citizenship. Today's blog will summarize this important federal law.
The Child Citizenship Act was enacted on February 27, 2001. To qualify as a U.S. citizen under this statute, a person born outside the United States must show each of the following:
1. Born outside the United States after February 27, 1983
2. At least one parent is a U.S. citizen (whether by birth or naturalization)
3. Residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent
4. Lawful permanent resident status (green card)
5. All of the above (1-4) exist prior to the person's 18th birthday.
Also, the question occasionally arises whether an adopted child can qualify for U.S. citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act. The answer is that an adopted ch ild does qualify as long as the adoption was finalized prior to the child's 16th birthday and the adopted child resided with the U.S. citizen adoptive parent for at least 2 years prior to the child's 18th birthday.
If you believe that you may be a U.S. citizen pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act, you are eligible to obtain a U.S. passport as proof of your citizenship. If you are not sure how or whether the Child Citizenship Act applies to you, you should seek legal advice. The immigration attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have significant experience representing clients in citizenship and naturalization matters. For additional information and guidance on your immigration matter, contact the attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio.