Official Website of the Department of Homeland SecurityOfficial Website of the Department of Homeland Security
October 30, 2018POLICY ALERTImmigrant Investors and Debt Arrangements
October 25, 2018POLICY ALERTUse of Form G-325A
October 16, 2018POLICY ALERTValidity of Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (Form I-693)
October 12, 2018POLICY ALERTMarriage and Living in Marital Union Requirements for Naturalization
September 26, 2018POLICY ALERTSpecial Naturalization Provisions for Children
September 26, 2018Technical UpdateAuthorized Medical Professionals
August 24, 2018POLICY ALERTGeographic Area of a Regional Center

Volume 12 – Citizenship & Naturalization

Part H – Children of U.S. Citizens


Chapter 1 – Purpose and Background

Chapter 2 – Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization

Chapter 3 – United States Citizens at Birth (INA 301 and 309)

Chapter 4 – Automatic Acquisition of Citizenship after Birth (INA 320)

Chapter 5 – Child Residing Outside of the United States (INA 322)

Chapter 6 – Special Provisions for the Naturalization of Children


 

POLICY ALERTSpecial Naturalization Provisions for Children

September 26, 2018

​U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance to amend the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify certain special naturalization provisions for children.


Read More
 

Technical UpdateCertificates of Citizenship for U.S. National Children

August 15, 2018

This technical update clarifies that a person who is born a U.S. national and is the child of a U.S. citizen may acquire citizenship and may obtain a Certificate of Citizenship without having to establish lawful permanent resident status.


 

POLICY ALERTAcquisition of U.S. Citizenship for Children Born Out of Wedlock

April 18, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance to clarify certain requirements for U.S. citizenship for children born outside the United States and out of wedlock under INA 301 and 309. USCIS is making conforming edits to the USCIS nationality charts.


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POLICY ALERTEffective Date of Lawful Permanent Residence for Purposes of Citizenship and Naturalization

July 27, 2016

​U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance regarding the date of legal permanent residence (LPR) for naturalization and citizenship purposes. 


Read More
 

Technical UpdateChild Citizenship Act and Children of U.S. Government Employees Residing Abroad

July 20, 2015

This technical update clarifies that the child of a U.S. government employee temporarily stationed abroad is considered to be residing in the United States for purposes of acquisition of citizenship under INA 320.


 

POLICY ALERTEffect of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) on Immigration and Acquisition of Citizenship Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)

October 28, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance relating to the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).


Read More
 

POLICY ALERTComprehensive Citizenship and Naturalization Policy Guidance

January 07, 2013

​USCIS is issuing updated and comprehensive citizenship and naturalization policy guidance in the new USCIS Policy Manual.


Read More

Legal Authorities

8

Appendices

4

Appendix: Children Born Outside the United States in Wedlock (Nationality Chart 1)

Nationality Chart 1

Children [1] A child must meet the definition of child under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. Born Outside the United States in Wedlock

PERIOD IN WHICH CHILD WAS BORN

STEP 1: Determine period in which child was born

CITIZENSHIP OF PARENTS AT TIME OF CHILD’S BIRTH

STEP 2: Determine parents’ citizenship at time of child’s birth

PARENTS’ RESIDENCE & PHYSICAL PRESENCE PRIOR TO CHILD’S BIRTH

STEP 3: Did U.S. citizen (USC) parent meet residence or physical presence requirement prior to birth? (If yes, child was a USC at birth)

CHILD’S RETENTION REQUIREMENT

STEP 4: Did child meet retention requirement (if any)? (Child lost citizenship on date it became impossible to meet requirement)

Prior to

May 24, 1934

Either parent a USC [2] USC mother added by Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-416, 108 Stat. 4305 (October 5, 1994).

USC parent resided in the United States

Not Applicable

On or After May 24, 1934

and Prior To

Jan. 13, 1941

Both parents USCs

At least one USC parent resided in the United States

Not Applicable

One USC parent and one alien parent

USC parent resided in the United States

5 years residence [3] Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee. in the United States or Outlying Possession (OLP) between ages 13 and 21 (must start before age 16) [4] See former Section 301(b) in the INA of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 236 (June 27, 1952). The child’s residence must also start before the INA of 1952’s effective date, December 24, 1952.

OR

5 years continuous physical presence in the United States between ages 14 and 28 (must start before age 23)

OR

2 years continuous physical presence in the United States between ages 14 and 28 (must start before age 26)

OR

Exempt, if at time of child’s birth, USC parent was employed by U.S. government or specified organization

On or After Jan. 13, 1941

and Prior To Dec. 24, 1952

One USC parent and one alien parent

USC parent resided in United States or OLP for 10 years, at least 5 years of which were after age 16

Special provisions for parents with honorable service in the U.S. armed forces:

(1) Between Dec. 7, 1941 and Dec. 31, 1946, 10 years of residence, at least 5 years of which were after age 12

(2) Between Jan. 1, 1947 and Dec. 24, 1952, 10 years of physical presence, at least 5 years of which were after age 14 [5] Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

5 years residence in the United States or OLP between ages 13 and 21 (must start before age 16) [6] See former Section 301(b) in the INA of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 236 (June 27, 1952). The child’s residence must also start before the INA of 1952’s effective date, December 24, 1952.

OR

5 years continuous physical presence in the United States between ages 14 and 28 (must start before age 23) [7] See Act of October 27, 1972, Pub. L. 92-584, 86 Stat. 1289. The child’s residence must also start before the Act’s effective date, October 27, 1972.

OR

2 years continuous physical presence in the United States between ages 14 and 28 (must start before age 26)

OR

Exempt, if at time of child’s birth, USC parent was employed by U.S. government or specified organization (exemption does not apply if parent used a special provision in column 3) [8] Absence of less than 12 months in the aggregate during the 5-year period does not break continuity of residence or physical presence. Absence of less than 60 days in the 2-year period in the aggregate does not break continuity of physical presence. Honorable service in the U.S. armed forces counts as residence or physical presence.Retention Requirements•A child is relieved from the retention requirements if, prior to his or her 18th birthday, the child begins to reside permanently in the United States and the foreign national parent naturalizes.​•The Act of October 10, 1978, Pub. L. 95-423, repealed retention requirements prospectively only. Anyone born on or after October 11, 1952 (not age 26 on October 10, 1978) was no longer subject to retention requirements. Since the amending legislation was prospective only, it did not restore citizenship to anyone who, prior to its enactment, had lost citizenship for failing to meet the retention requirements.

Both parents USCs

At least one USC parent resided in the United States or OLP [9] Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

Not Applicable

On or After Dec. 24, 1952


​and Prior To
Nov. 14, 1986

Both parents USCs

At least one USC parent resided in the United States or OLP [10] Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

Not Applicable

One USC parent and one alien parent

USC parent physically present in the United States or OLP for 10 years, at least 5 years of which were after age 14 [11] Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

Not Applicable

On or After Nov. 14, 1986

Both parents USCs

At least one USC parent resided in the United States or OLP

Not Applicable

One USC parent and one alien parent

USC parent physically present in the United States or OLP for 5 years, at least 2 years of which were after age 14 [12] See former Section 301(b) in the INA of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 236 (June 27, 1952). The child’s residence must also start before the INA of 1952’s effective date, December 24, 1952.

Not Applicable

Footnotes


1 [^]

A child must meet the definition of child under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2].

2 [^]

USC mother added by Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-416, 108 Stat. 4305 (October 5, 1994).

3 [^]

Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

4 [^]

See former Section 301(b) in the INA of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 236 (June 27, 1952). The child’s residence must also start before the INA of 1952’s effective date, December 24, 1952.

5 [^]

Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

6 [^]

See former Section 301(b) in the INA of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 236 (June 27, 1952). The child’s residence must also start before the INA of 1952’s effective date, December 24, 1952.

7 [^]

See Act of October 27, 1972, Pub. L. 92-584, 86 Stat. 1289. The child’s residence must also start before the Act’s effective date, October 27, 1972.

8 [^]

Absence of less than 12 months in the aggregate during the 5-year period does not break continuity of residence or physical presence. Absence of less than 60 days in the 2-year period in the aggregate does not break continuity of physical presence. Honorable service in the U.S. armed forces counts as residence or physical presence.

Retention Requirements

A child is relieved from the retention requirements if, prior to his or her 18th birthday, the child begins to reside permanently in the United States and the foreign national parent naturalizes.

The Act of October 10, 1978, Pub. L. 95-423, repealed retention requirements prospectively only. Anyone born on or after October 11, 1952 (not age 26 on October 10, 1978) was no longer subject to retention requirements. Since the amending legislation was prospective only, it did not restore citizenship to anyone who, prior to its enactment, had lost citizenship for failing to meet the retention requirements.

9 [^]

Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

10 [^]

Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

11 [^]

Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as a dependent, unmarried son or daughter, who is member of the household of such an employee.

12 [^]

See former Section 301(b) in the INA of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 236 (June 27, 1952). The child’s residence must also start before the INA of 1952’s effective date, December 24, 1952.

Appendix: Children Born Outside the United States Out of Wedlock (Nationality Chart 2)

Nationality Chart 2 (4 tables below)

Children [1] A child must meet the definition of child under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. Born Outside the United States Out of Wedlock

Child Born Out of Wedlock to U.S. Citizen Mother (Table 1 of 4)

PERIOD IN WHICH CHILD WAS BORN

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Prior To

May 24, 1934

The child was born an alien. HOWEVER, the child became a U.S. citizen (USC) retroactively to birth, effective on Jan. 13, 1941, if the child’s mother resided in the United States or Outlying Possession (OLP) prior to the child’s birth, UNLESS the child was legitimated by the alien father prior to Jan. 13, 1941.

On or After

May 24, 1934

and Prior To

Dec. 24, 1952

The mother resided in the United States or OLP at any time prior to the child’s birth.

On or After

Dec. 24, 1952

and Prior To

June 12, 2017

The mother maintained at least 1 year of continuous physical presence in the United States or OLP at any time prior to the child’s birth.

On or After

June 12, 2017 [2] See Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 137 S.Ct. 1678 (2017).

The mother was physically present in the United States or OLP for at least 5 years prior to the child’s birth (at least 2 years of which were after age 14).

Child Born Out of Wedlock to U.S. Citizen Father and Alien Mother

Child Legitimated by Father (Table 2 of 4)

PERIOD IN WHICH CHILD WAS BORN

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Prior To

May 24, 1934

The child was legitimated at any time after birth under the laws of the father’s domicile;

The USC father resided in the United States prior to the child’s birth; and

No residence required for the child to retain U.S. citizenship.

On or After

May 24, 1934

and Prior To

Jan. 13, 1941

The child was legitimated at any time after birth under the laws of the father’s domicile;

The USC father resided in the United States prior to the child’s birth; [3] Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as the dependent unmarried son who resided as a member of the employee’s household during any relevant period(s) of absence from the United States. and

The child met retention requirements.

See Nationality Chart 1 for retention requirements.

On or After

Jan. 13, 1941

and Prior To

Dec. 24, 1952

The child was legitimated before age 21 under the laws of the father’s domicile;

The USC father resided in the United States or OLP for at least 10 years, at least 5 years of which were after age 14, at the time of the child’s birth; and

The child met retention requirements.

See Nationality Chart 1 for special provisions and for retention requirements.

On or After

Dec. 24, 1952

and Prior To

Nov. 14, 1986

The child was legitimated before age 21 under the laws of the father’s domicile; [4] In cases arising within the Ninth Circuit, the laws of the father’s residence and the laws of the child’s residence must be considered to determine whether legitimation occurred. See Burgess v. Meese, 802 F.2d 338 (9th Cir. 1986).

The child was legitimated PRIOR TO Nov. 14, 1986;

The child must be unmarried;

The USC father was physically present in the United States or OLP for 10 years, at least 5 years of which were after age 14, at the time of the child’s birth; and

No residence required for the child to retain U.S. citizenship.

See Nationality Chart 1 for special provisions.

Child Born Out of Wedlock to U.S. Citizen Father and Alien Mother

Child Legitimated or Acknowledged by Father (Table 3 of 4)

DATE RELATIONSHIP ESTABLISHED

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

On or After

Nov. 14, 1986

The child was legitimated OR acknowledged before age 18* (legitimated under the laws of the child’s residence or domicile; or paternity acknowledged in writing under oath; or paternity established by court order);

A blood relationship between the child and father was established;

The father, unless deceased, has agreed in writing to provide financial support until child reaches age 18; [5] For additional information regarding a written statement of financial support, see Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 3, U.S. Citizens at Birth (INA 301 and 309), Section C, Child Born Out of Wedlock [12 USCIS-PM H.3(C)].

The child must be unmarried; and

The USC father was physically present in the United States or OLP for 5 years, at least 2 years of which were after age 14, at the time of the child’s birth.

*A child age 18 or over on Nov. 14, 1986 could use the old law. [6] See Child Born Out Of Wedlock to U.S. Citizen Father and Alien Mother; Child Legitimated by Father (Table 2 of 4). A child at least age 15, but under 18, could use either law (date of birth on or after Nov. 15, 1968).

Child Born Out of Wedlock to Two U.S. Citizen Parents (Table 4 of 4)

PERIOD IN WHICH CHILD WAS BORN

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

If both parents are U.S. citizens, the child may qualify under either parent. The child must meet the requirements for acquisition of citizenship under the mother OR the father; the child does not need to meet both requirements.

On or After

Dec. 24, 1952

and Prior To

Nov. 14, 1986

Citizenship through U.S. Citizen Mother

The mother had at least 1 year of continuous physical presence in the United States or OLP at any time prior to the child’s birth.

Citizenship through U.S. Citizen Father

The child was legitimated before age 21 under the laws of the father’s domicile; [7] In cases arising within the Ninth Circuit, the laws of the father’s residence and the laws of the child’s residence must be considered to determine whether legitimation occurred. See Burgess v. Meese, 802 F.2d 338 (9th Cir. 1986).

The child was legitimated PRIOR TO Nov. 14, 1986;

The child must be unmarried; and

Either parent resided in the United States at any time prior to the child’s birth.

On or After

Nov. 14, 1986

and Prior To

June 12, 2017

Citizenship through U.S. Citizen Mother

The mother had at least 1 year of continuous physical presence in the United States or OLP at any time prior to the child’s birth.

Citizenship through U.S. Citizen Father

The child was legitimated OR acknowledged before age 18* (legitimated under the laws of the child’s residence or domicile; or paternity acknowledged in writing under oath; or paternity established by court order);

A blood relationship between the child and father was established;

The father, unless deceased, has agreed in writing to provide financial support until child reaches age 18; [8] For additional information regarding a written statement of financial support, see Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 3, U.S. Citizens at Birth (INA 301 and 309), Section C, Child Born Out of Wedlock [12 USCIS-PM H.3(C)].

The child must be unmarried; and

Either parent resided in the United States at any time prior to the child’s birth.

*A child age 18 or over on Nov. 14, 1986 could use the old law. [9] See Child Born Out Of Wedlock to U.S. Citizen Father and Alien Mother; Child Legitimated by Father (Table 2 of 4). A child at least age 15, but under 18, could use either law (date of birth on or after Nov. 15, 1968).

On or After

June 12, 2017

Citizenship through U.S. Citizen Father

The child was legitimated OR acknowledged before age 18 (legitimated under the laws of the child’s residence or domicile; or paternity acknowledged in writing under oath; or paternity established by court order);

A blood relationship between child and father was established;

The father, unless deceased, has agreed in writing to provide financial support until child reaches age 18; [10] For additional information regarding a written statement of financial support, see Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 3, U.S. Citizens at Birth (INA 301 and 309), Section C, Child Born Out of Wedlock [12 USCIS-PM H.3(C)].

The child must be unmarried; and

Either parent resided in the United States at any time prior to the child’s birth.

If the child does not meet these requirements, but one or both parents resided in the United States at any time prior to the child’s birth, the officer should consult the Office of Chief Counsel (OCC).

Footnotes


1 [^]

A child must meet the definition of child under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2].

2 [^]

See Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 137 S.Ct. 1678 (2017).

3 [^]

Includes periods spent abroad while employed by the U.S. government or an international organization as defined in 22 U.S.C. 288, or as the dependent unmarried son who resided as a member of the employee’s household during any relevant period(s) of absence from the United States.

4 [^]

In cases arising within the Ninth Circuit, the laws of the father’s residence and the laws of the child’s residence must be considered to determine whether legitimation occurred. See Burgess v. Meese, 802 F.2d 338 (9th Cir. 1986).

5 [^]

For additional information regarding a written statement of financial support, see Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 3, U.S. Citizens at Birth (INA 301 and 309), Section C, Child Born Out of Wedlock [12 USCIS-PM H.3(C)].

6 [^]

See Child Born Out Of Wedlock to U.S. Citizen Father and Alien Mother; Child Legitimated by Father (Table 2 of 4).

7 [^]

In cases arising within the Ninth Circuit, the laws of the father’s residence and the laws of the child’s residence must be considered to determine whether legitimation occurred. See Burgess v. Meese, 802 F.2d 338 (9th Cir. 1986).

8 [^]

For additional information regarding a written statement of financial support, see Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 3, U.S. Citizens at Birth (INA 301 and 309), Section C, Child Born Out of Wedlock [12 USCIS-PM H.3(C)].

9 [^]

See Child Born Out Of Wedlock to U.S. Citizen Father and Alien Mother; Child Legitimated by Father (Table 2 of 4).

10 [^]

For additional information regarding a written statement of financial support, see Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 3, U.S. Citizens at Birth (INA 301 and 309), Section C, Child Born Out of Wedlock [12 USCIS-PM H.3(C)].

Appendix: Derivative Citizenship of Children (Nationality Chart 3)

Nationality Chart 3

Derivative Citizenship of Children [1] A child must meet the definition of child under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. A child not legitimated by the father may only derive from the mother. In cases with two U.S. citizen parents where the child is born out of wedlock on or after June 12, 2017, the Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) advises that officers first determine whether the child acquired citizenship through the U.S. citizen father under INA 309(a), as that standard is unaffected by Morales-Santana. If the child did not acquire citizenship through the U.S. citizen father, OCC would like to review the case because it is still considering, in consultation with the Department of State (DOS) and Department of Justice (DOJ), the standard under which a U.S. citizen mother can pass citizenship to a child born out of wedlock to two U.S. citizen parents.

A child may derive U.S. citizenship during the below listed historical periods if such child was under the statutory age, AND the child became a lawful permanent residence (LPR), AND the parent(s) naturalized. It does not matter in which order the actions occurred.

PERIOD IN WHICH LAST ACTION TOOK PLACE

CHILD BECAME LPR BEFORE STATUTORY AGE OF

NATURALIZATION OF PARENT(S) PRIOR TO CHILD’S STATUTORY AGE

ADDITIONAL REMARKS

Prior To

May 24, 1934

21 years old

At least one parent naturalized

None

On or After

May 24, 1934

and Prior To

Jan. 13, 1941

21 years old

At least one parent naturalized

U.S. citizenship effective 5 years from date child becomes an LPR [2] Child relieved of the remainder of the 5-year waiting period if the naturalized parent meets definition of “both parents.”

21 years old

Both parents [3] The definition of “both parents” includes:•The surviving parent should the other parent die; •The naturalized parent having legal custody in the case of a divorce; or •The mother of a child born out of wedlock. naturalized

None

On or After

Jan. 13, 1941

and Prior To

Dec. 24, 1952

18 years old

Both parents [4] The definition of “both parents” as found in Section 313-14 of the Nationality Act of 1940, Pub. L. 76-853, 54 Stat. 1145-46 (October 14, 1940) includes:•The surviving parent should the other parent die; •The naturalized parent having legal custody in the case of a divorce or a legal separation; or•The foreign national parent who naturalizes when the other parent is already a U.S. citizen since the child’s birth. naturalized

Child born out of wedlock derived on Dec. 24, 1952 if under age 16 and had remained an LPR [5] Once the child was legitimated under the age of 16, both parents were required to naturalize.

On or After

Dec. 24, 1952

and Prior To

Oct. 5, 1978

18 years old

Both parents [6] The definition of “both parents” as found in former INA 321 and former INA 320, Pub. L 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 245 (June 27, 1952) includes: •The surviving parent should the other parent die; •The naturalized parent having legal custody in the case of a divorce or a legal separation;•The mother of a child born out of wedlock, as long as the child had not been legitimated (if a child was properly legitimated under the age of 16, the law required both parents to naturalize); or•The foreign national parent who naturalizes when the other parent is already a U.S. citizen since the child’s birth. naturalized

Child unmarried (does not include adopted children, but adopted children may derive through the naturalization of their biological parent(s) after adoption if all other requirements are met) [7] In the Second Circuit (New York, Connecticut, and Vermont), the child is not required to become an LPR before the age of 18, provided that the child begins to reside permanently in the United States while under the age of 18. A child begins to reside permanently in the United States when the child is physically in the United States, intends to reside in the United States permanently, and has taken some official action to accomplish that, such as applying for lawful permanent residence. For additional information, officers should contact their local OCC counsel.

On or After

Oct. 5, 1978

and Prior To

Feb. 27, 2001

18 years old

Both parents [8] The definition of “both parents” as found in former INA 321, Pub. L 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 245 (June 27, 1952) includes:•The surviving parent should the other parent die; •The naturalized parent having legal custody in the case of a divorce or a legal separation; or •The mother of a child born out of wedlock, as long as the child had not been legitimated (if a child was properly legitimated under the age of 16, the law required both parents to naturalize).The definition of “both parents” as found in former INA 320, Pub. L 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 245 (June 27, 1952) includes:•The foreign national parent who naturalizes when the other parent is already a U.S. citizen since the child’s birth.•In the case of a child with one adoptive parent and one natural parent, the adoptive parent must naturalize. He or she may not be a native-born U.S. citizen. naturalized

Child unmarried (includes child adopted before age 16 who is residing with adoptive parent(s) at the time of their naturalization) [9] An adopted child must be residing in the United States, with lawful admission, in the custody of the adoptive parent(s) at the time of the parent’s naturalization, meet all the requirements for adopted children in INA 101(b)(1), and be adopted by a certain age depending on the period of last action: •On or after October 5, 1978 and prior to November 29, 1981, adoption before age 16.•On or after November 29, 1981 and prior to February 27, 2001, adoption before age 18.

On or After

Feb. 27, 2001

18 years old

At least one parent is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization

Child resides in the United States in legal and physical custody of U.S. citizen parent (includes adopted child of U.S. citizen; must meet INA 101(b)(1) requirements for adopted children)

Footnotes


1 [^]

A child must meet the definition of child under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. A child not legitimated by the father may only derive from the mother. In cases with two U.S. citizen parents where the child is born out of wedlock on or after June 12, 2017, the Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) advises that officers first determine whether the child acquired citizenship through the U.S. citizen father under INA 309(a), as that standard is unaffected by Morales-Santana. If the child did not acquire citizenship through the U.S. citizen father, OCC would like to review the case because it is still considering, in consultation with the Department of State (DOS) and Department of Justice (DOJ), the standard under which a U.S. citizen mother can pass citizenship to a child born out of wedlock to two U.S. citizen parents.

2 [^]

Child relieved of the remainder of the 5-year waiting period if the naturalized parent meets definition of “both parents.”

3 [^]

The definition of “both parents” includes:

The surviving parent should the other parent die;

The naturalized parent having legal custody in the case of a divorce; or

The mother of a child born out of wedlock.

4 [^]

The definition of “both parents” as found in Section 313-14 of the Nationality Act of 1940, Pub. L. 76-853, 54 Stat. 1145-46 (October 14, 1940) includes:

The surviving parent should the other parent die;

The naturalized parent having legal custody in the case of a divorce or a legal separation; or

The foreign national parent who naturalizes when the other parent is already a U.S. citizen since the child’s birth.

5 [^]

Once the child was legitimated under the age of 16, both parents were required to naturalize.

6 [^]

The definition of “both parents” as found in former INA 321 and former INA 320, Pub. L 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 245 (June 27, 1952) includes:

The surviving parent should the other parent die;

The naturalized parent having legal custody in the case of a divorce or a legal separation;

The mother of a child born out of wedlock, as long as the child had not been legitimated (if a child was properly legitimated under the age of 16, the law required both parents to naturalize); or

The foreign national parent who naturalizes when the other parent is already a U.S. citizen since the child’s birth.

7 [^]

In the Second Circuit (New York, Connecticut, and Vermont), the child is not required to become an LPR before the age of 18, provided that the child begins to reside permanently in the United States while under the age of 18. A child begins to reside permanently in the United States when the child is physically in the United States, intends to reside in the United States permanently, and has taken some official action to accomplish that, such as applying for lawful permanent residence. For additional information, officers should contact their local OCC counsel.

8 [^]

The definition of “both parents” as found in former INA 321, Pub. L 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 245 (June 27, 1952) includes:

The surviving parent should the other parent die;

The naturalized parent having legal custody in the case of a divorce or a legal separation; or

The mother of a child born out of wedlock, as long as the child had not been legitimated (if a child was properly legitimated under the age of 16, the law required both parents to naturalize).

The definition of “both parents” as found in former INA 320, Pub. L 82-414, 66 Stat. 163, 245 (June 27, 1952) includes:

The foreign national parent who naturalizes when the other parent is already a U.S. citizen since the child’s birth.

In the case of a child with one adoptive parent and one natural parent, the adoptive parent must naturalize. He or she may not be a native-born U.S. citizen.

9 [^]

An adopted child must be residing in the United States, with lawful admission, in the custody of the adoptive parent(s) at the time of the parent’s naturalization, meet all the requirements for adopted children in INA 101(b)(1), and be adopted by a certain age depending on the period of last action:

On or after October 5, 1978 and prior to November 29, 1981, adoption before age 16.

On or after November 29, 1981 and prior to February 27, 2001, adoption before age 18.

Appendix: Children of U.S. Citizens Regularly Residing Outside United States (INA 322) (Nationality Chart 4)

Nationality Chart 4

Children of U.S. Citizens Regularly Residing
​Outside the United States (INA 322)
[1] Since the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414 (June 27, 1952), Congress has provided for the naturalization of a child under age 18 upon petition by the U.S. citizen parent. See INA 322. The requirements varied with different amendments, but naturalization under this provision always required an application or petition by the parent; citizenship was not automatic.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

PHYSICAL PRESENCE OF
​PARENT OR GRANDPARENT

Must meet the definition of child under INA 101(c)(1). [2] See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. See INA 101(c)(1).

The child has at least one U.S. citizen (USC) parent by birth or through naturalization (including an adoptive parent). An adoptive parent must meet the requirements of INA 101(b)(1)(E), INA 101(b)(1)(F), or INA 101(b)(1)(G).

The child’s USC parent or USC grandparent meets physical presence requirements.

The child is under 18 years of age (at the time of adjudication and the taking of the Oath of Allegiance, [3] See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part J, Oath of Allegiance [12 USCIS-PM J]. unless the Oath is waived because the child is unable to understand its meaning by reason of mental incapacity or young age).

The child is residing outside of the United States in the legal and physical custody of the USC parent, or a person who does not object to the application if the USC parent is deceased.

At the time the application is approved and time of naturalization, the child is lawfully admitted, physically present, and maintaining a lawful status in the United States. Both the child and the citizen parent must appear at an interview.

Children of Military Members

For children of military members authorized to accompany the member abroad and residing with the military member parent:

The parent’s authorized period abroad counts as physical presence in the United States;

The child does not need to reside in the United States in lawful status; and

The child may take the Oath abroad. [4] See INA 322(d).

U.S. Citizen Grandparent or Legal Guardian Filing on Behalf of Child

If the USC parent has died, the child’s USC grandparent or USC legal guardian may file on the child’s behalf within 5 years of the USC parent’s death.

U.S. Citizen Parent

USC parent was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for at least 5 years (at least 2 years of which were after age 14)

OR

U.S. Citizen Grandparent

If the USC parent has died, the USC parent must have met the physical presence requirement stated above at time of death. If the child’s USC parent does not meet the requirement, the child may rely on the physical presence of the child’s USC grandparent (at least 5 years, at least 2 years of which were after age 14), provided the grandparent meets the requirement as of the USC parent’s time of death.

Footnotes


1 [^]

Since the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, Pub. L. 82-414 (June 27, 1952), Congress has provided for the naturalization of a child under age 18 upon petition by the U.S. citizen parent. See INA 322. The requirements varied with different amendments, but naturalization under this provision always required an application or petition by the parent; citizenship was not automatic.

2 [^]

See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens, Chapter 2, Definition of Child for Citizenship and Naturalization [12 USCIS-PM H.2]. See INA 101(c)(1).

3 [^]

See Volume 12, Citizenship & Naturalization, Part J, Oath of Allegiance [12 USCIS-PM J].

Current as of October 30, 2018