Tip Sheet: Applying for Form N-600K, Application for Certificate of Citizenship

You should use Form N-600K to apply for the naturalization of a child under the age of 18 who regularly resides outside the United States. The form is also used to issue a Certificate of Citizenship for the child.

NOTE: The information provided in this document only applies if you have not automatically acquired U.S. citizenship at birth or acquired U.S. citizenship after birth under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 320. Please refer to Form N-600 FAQ for additional information about becoming a U.S. citizen under INA section 320. 

Eligibility

A child who was born outside the United States and who regularly resides outside the United States may have a Form N-600K filed on his or her behalf by a U.S. citizen parent (or if the parent died within the last five years, by a U.S. citizen grandparent or U.S. citizen legal guardian). To be eligible for U.S. citizenship the child must:

  1. Have at least one parent is a U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization;
  2. Be under 18 years of age;
  3. Be residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent;
  4. Be temporarily present in the United States in accordance with lawful admission to complete the Form N-600K process and is maintaining that lawful status; and
  5. Have a U.S. citizen parent who has been physically present in the United States or American Samoa or Swains Island for no less than five years. At least two of these years were after the U.S. citizen parent’s 14th birthday.
    • If the U.S. citizen parent fails to meet the physical presence requirement, the child must have a U.S. citizen grandparent(s) who was physically present in the United States for a period or for multiple periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after the U.S. citizen grandparent’s 14th birthday.

NOTE: Children of active duty U.S. armed forces members do not have to be temporarily in the United States in accordance with lawful admission to complete the Form N-600K process.

Child Born Out of Wedlock

If the child was born out of wedlock, the child must meet the following additional requirements if he or she is seeking citizenship through his or her U.S. citizen father:

  1. The child must be legitimated by the father. This means that the father must go through the process to legally become the child’s father. A child born to parents who are not married is not considered legitimate and does not have the right to inherit the father’s estate or to receive financial support;
  2. The child must be in the legal custody of the father at the time of such legitimation; and
  3. The child must be legitimated before reaching his or her 16th birthday.

Adopted Child

If adopted, the child must meet all of the requirements to qualify as an “adopted child” under one of the following:

  1. Section 101(b)(1)(E) of the INA;
  2. As an “orphan” under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the INA; or
  3. As a Hague Convention adoptee under section 101(b)(1)(G) of the INA.

Please visit our Web page on Adoption for additional information.

An adopted child under section 101(b)(1)(E) of the INA must meet the following additional requirements:

  1. The adoption order must have been granted before the child’s 16th birthday (or the child’s 18th birthday if the child is the birth sibling (including a half-sibling) of another adopted child who qualified for immigration under either section 101(b)(1)(E) or (F) or (G) based on the other child’s adoption by the same adoptive parent(s);
  2. The adoptive parents must have had legal custody of the child for at least two years; and
  3. The child must have resided with the adoptive parents for at least two years.

NOTE: If a child has been battered or was treated extreme cruelty by the adoptive parent or by a family member of the adoptive parent living in the same household, USCIS may waive the 2-year legal custody and residence requirements.

Orphan Child

An orphan under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the INA must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, in order to file Form N-600K.

Adoption under the Hague Convention

A child who is being adopted in accordance with the Hague Convention must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an immediate relative, in order to file Form N-600K.

Filing Form N-600K

A U.S. citizen parent(s) may file Form N-600K. If the U.S. citizen parent is deceased, the U.S. citizen parent’s parent (child’s grandparent) may apply. The grandparent must also be a U.S. citizen. A U.S. citizen legal guardian may also be eligible to apply.

A U.S. citizen grandparent or U.S. citizen legal guardian may file Form N-600K on the child’s behalf if Form N-600K is filed within five years of the death of the U.S. citizen parent. You should refer to Form N-600K instructions for more information.

The table explains whether you are able to file Form N-600K on behalf of your child based on where you live.

I am a U.S. citizen parent and I live... My child lives... Then
In the United States, and In the United States

You may not file Form N-600K. If you believe your child may already be a U.S. citizen, you may file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.

You may also apply to the Department of State for a U.S. passport for your child.

Visit to Department of State’s website for information about applying for a U.S. passport for your child. 

Outside the United States, and In the United States You may not file a Form N-600K. If your child resides in the United States and you believe your child may already be a U.S. citizen, you may file Form N-600.
In the United States, and Outside the United States

You may not file a Form N-600K. The law requires that your child must reside abroad and in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

If your child resides in the United States and you believe your child may already be a U.S. citizen, you may file Form N-600.

See our Forms Web page for information about Form N-600.

If You Are In the Military

Your child may naturalize overseas as long as you are a U.S. citizen on official U.S. military orders overseas. Service while on active duty with the U.S. armed forces counts as presence in the United States.

Filing If Your Child Recently Turned 18 Years of Age

If your child has just turned 18 he or she may not be able to file Form N-600K. Form N-600K must be adjudicated and the oath of allegiance must be administered before your child turns 18 years of age. When you file your Form N-600K, you will provide a preferred interview date. You may ensure that the requested date is before your child turns 18. Please allow a minimum of 90 days for USCIS to review the form and the documentation that you submit before the interview date. If you fail to provide sufficient evidence to establish your child’s eligibility before his or her 18th birthday, USCIS may not be able to process your Form N-600K which may result in USCIS denying your Form N-600K. Therefore, your child would no longer be eligible for a Certificate of Citizenship.

You may contact the USCIS Contact Center for more information at 800-375-5283.

Required Evidence

If your child was born out of wedlock you should provide:

  • The child’s birth certificate,
  • Evidence of legitimation in accordance with the law where the child resides or domicile, or the child’s father’s residence or domicile (before the child’s 16th birthday).

If you are divorced:

  • You must provide evidence that you have legal and physical custody of your child.

The Form N-600K instructions (PDF, 254 KB) has additional information.

Preparing for the Interview

You, the U.S. citizen parent, and your child must appear in person to be interviewed by a USCIS Officer.

NOTE: You should write to the USCIS office where you requested your interview to be held if you would like to be interviewed on a different date or if you would like to be interviewed in a different USCIS office other than the office designated in your application. Your Form N-600K may be delayed because of these requests. You do not have to resubmit your Form N-600K.

What to Bring to your Interview

You must provide originals of all documents you submitted when you filed your child’s Form N-600K as well as any additional documents that will establish your child’s eligibility.

Documents not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. You must also provide evidence of your child’s current valid lawful admission and maintenance of that lawful admission.

Making a Decision

If Approved

We will issue your child a Certificate of Citizenship after we interview you and your child.

If Denied

You may file an appeal on Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, within 30 days of the date of our decision. If the time for appeal has expired, you may not file another Form N-600K. If you do, it will be rejected. If your time for appeal has expired, you must file a motion to reopen or reconsider also on Form I-290B.

Disclaimer

This tip sheet is intended solely to provide answers to frequently asked questions. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create or confer any right(s) or benefit(s), substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any individual or other party in benefit applications before USCIS, in removal proceedings, in litigation with the United States, or in any other form or manner. This publication does not have the force of law, or of a DHS directive. If you have a question concerning your eligibility for a Certificate of Citizenship then please consult with an attorney to help you prepare your Form N-600K.

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