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February 27, 2001

Child Citizenship Act

How to Get a Certificate of Citizenship for Your Child

The Child Citizenship Act (CCA) which becomes effective on February 27, 2001, amends the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to provide U.S. citizenship to certain foreign-born children—including adopted children—of U.S. citizens. In general, children who are less than 18 years of age and have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen whether by birth or naturalization-will benefit from this new law. Under the law, qualifying children who immigrate to the United States with a U.S. citizen parent automatically acquire U.S. citizenship; children who live abroad acquire citizenship by application.

INS will work with Congress, the adoption community and other stakeholders to re-engineer and streamline the current process for obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship for a child. However, if you wish to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship for your child at this time, the process is explained below. In addition, you may obtain a passport for your child from the Department of State.

What forms do I file and what are the fees?

I am filing for a foreign born biological child who lives in the United States. What documents do I have to submit with the form?

For children who have immigrated to the United States, parents will not be required to submit any evidence that is already contained in the INS file, including translations of documents.

If your child has immigrated to the United States (has a "green card"), you should submit:

  • Photographs of your child
  • Fee
I am filing for a foreign born adopted child who lives in the United States. What documents do I have to submit with the form?

For children who have immigrated to the United States, parents will not be required to submit any evidence that is already contained in the INS file, including translations of documents.

If your child has immigrated to the United States (has a "green card") after a full and final adoption abroad, you should submit:

  • Photographs of your child
  • Fee
If your child has immigrated to the United States (has a "green card") to be adopted or re-adopted, you must submit:
  • Photographs of your child
  • Fee
  • Evidence of a full final adoption
  • Evidence of all legal name changes (if applicable)
I am filing for a child who lives abroad. What documents do I have to submit with the form?

If your child has not immigrated to the United States (does not have a "green card"), you should submit:

  • Photographs of your child,
  • Fee,
  • Your child’s birth certificate,
  • Your birth certificate or naturalization certificate,
  • Your marriage certificate (if applicable),
  • Evidence of termination of previous marriages (if applicable),
  • Evidence of a full and final adoption (if applicable),
  • Evidence of all legal name changes (if applicable), and
  • Form N-600/N643 Supplement A (if applicable).
I am filing for a child who lives abroad. How do I know if I need to file the Form N-600/N-643, Supplement A?

Under the Child Citizenship Act, the U.S. citizen parent of a child living abroad must have five years of physical presence in the United States or its outlying possessions with at least two years occurring after age 14, in order to apply for citizenship on behalf of the child. If you cannot meet this requirement, the law allows you to rely on the physical presence of your citizen parent to apply for citizenship. If you are relying on the physical presence of your U.S. citizen parent, you must file the Form N-600/N-643, Supplement A.

Where Should I File the Forms?

If you are filing for a child who lives in the United States, file the Form N-600 or N-643 at the INS district office or suboffice in the United States with jurisdiction over your place of residence.

If filing for a child, who lives abroad, you may file the Form N-600 or N-643 at any INS district office or suboffice in the United States. You and your child will need to travel to the United States to complete this application process.

What Resources Are Available to Answer Questions About the New Law?

For more information about the CCA application procedures and forms, you may go to the INS Web site at www.ins.usdoj.gov or contact our National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. INS has also made available field guidance and public materials to all information officers and other front line staff to aid them in answering questions.

– INS –


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