What is a Naturalized or Derived Citizen?
What Is a Naturalized or Derived Citizen?
The United States recognizes citizenship automatic acquisition of citizenship at birth in the United States, birth abroad to U.S. citizen parents, and naturalization by application. In addition, the United States also acknowledges citizenships derived automatically through other means that are documented by a Certificate of Citizenship.
The current law is the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which is codified in Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and became effective on February 27, 2001.
When meeting all of the following requirements on or after February 27, 2001, a child born abroad who was not a U.S. citizen at birth automatically acquires U.S. citizenship:
- A parent must file an N-400 and complete the naturalization interview and oath ceremony to become a U.S. citizen before the child turns 18.
- The child is in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent in the United States.
- At least one parent is a citizen of the United States, either by birth or naturalization.
- The child is still under the age of 18 and unmarried, as defined by the definition of “child”.
- The child has a legal permanent residency.
*This does not apply to a permanent resident stepchild living with a U.S. citizen stepparent. The definition of “child” in INA Sec. 101(b) for a green card differs from the definition of “child” in INA Sec. 101(a) (c).
Prior to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, the only way to become a U.S. citizen other than at birth or by applying for naturalization as an adult was through the naturalization of a parent. However, the applicable law changed over time as with other paths to US citizenship. The previous sections of the law cover many individuals who will fall between 12/24/1952 and 02/27/2001. But the government has nullified this law and there are certain qualifying factors even within this time period. Generally, during this time, the child obtained US citizenship if:
Requirements under former INA §320:
- Before the age of 18, the child began to live permanently in the United States with his or her parents.
- The child is legally a permanent resident of the United States.
- One parent was a U.S. citizen when the child was born, and remain a citizen thereafter. Also, the other parent was a foreign national who became a naturalized U.S. citizen before the child turned 18.
- As of 10/05/1978, this requirement also applied to an adopted child who was legally adopted to a permanent resident who resides in the United States.
- The child was still single when the government legally naturalized the parent.
Requirements under former INA §321:
- The child was a legal permanent resident of the United States.
- The parents were divorced or lawfully separated. The sole parent with legal custody became a naturalized citizen of the United States before the child reached the age of 18.
- One parent died, and the other became a naturalized US citizen before the child turned 18.
- When the government naturalized the parent, the child was still single.
- Both parents were foreign nationals who became naturalized citizens of the United States. And the naturalization was before the child reached the age of 18.
- Before reaching the age of 18, the child began to reside in the United States. The child resides in the legal and physical custody of the parent(s) who naturalized.
- The child was born out of wedlock, without the father’s authorization. Also, the mother became a naturalized U.S. citizen before the child reached the age of 18.