Derivative Citizenship

Given to children, thanks to the naturalization of their parents, derivative citizenship also makes citizens of children of adoptive United States citizens.

In many cases, when a child is born in one of the territories belonging to the United States or in the United States itself, that child will be an automatic recipient of American citizenship. The exception to the rule is as follows: If a child is born to a recognized government official or diplomat from a foreign country, and born on American soil, that child will not receive automatic citizenship in the United States.

If an individual would like to acquire United States citizenship for their child, the child must first be under 18 years of age. The additional requirements that must be met are as follows:

  • The child must, in the physical and legal custody of a parent that is a United States citizen, be residing within the United States
  • At least one parent must be a naturalized United States citizen or a United States citizen by birth
  • The child must be a green card holder or have lawful resident status as a permanent United States resident

These provisions apply to biological children as well as adopted children and, once they are all met, citizenship is conferred upon the child automatically. There is no need to file specific United States citizenship application requests.

It is highly recommended that parents wishing to obtain derivative citizenship for their child obtain official United States citizenship documentation. This will discourage any future complications or questions. Using form N-600, parents can receive citizenship certificates for their child from the USCIS. As many parents travel with their children, US passports are also considered official documentation.

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