I am a US citizen. My child was born in England. She is 6yrs old. Do I have to file anything to get her US citizenship?

A:

The acquisition of American Citizenship when born abroad has always been dependent upon the satisfaction of preliminary requirements imposed by law. An indispensable prerequisite to the transmission of citizenship by descent under the laws of the United States is the requirement that the transmitting parent or parents must have resided in the United States. Regarding persons born on or after November 14 of 1986, (the case of your daughter) a citizen parent ( you) can transmit citizenship to a child born outside the United States if he or she (you) has attained the age of 16 having previously been physically present in the United States for five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of 14.

Therefore in order for your daughter to automatically acquire the US Citizenship through descent you must have evidence of physical presence in the United States for a period of no less than five years but two of those five years must have been after you attained the age of 14.

Being of foreign birth, your daughter is subject to the presumption that she is an alien, until her citizenship is firmly established. However, once citizenship has been vested, it is presumed to continue in the absence of information showing that it has been lost in conformity with the law.

A person who acquired citizenship abroad can apply for an administrative certificate of citizenship in their own name. Alternatively they can apply for a US Passport and submit supporting evidence  that the child has acquired the US Citizenship at birth. The Registration of Birth Abroad prescribed by the State Department authorizes a consular officer to record the birth of a US Citizen’s child in the consular district upon application of the parents of the child and the presentation of satisfactory proof that the child acquired US Citizenship at birth. However, this will not be prepared by the consul after a child has reached the age of five (5). The same evidence required to obtain the issuance of a report of birth abroad (form FS-240) is required to obtain the child’s US Passport.

If you choose to apply for a certificate of citizenship you must submit the form N-600 with the appropriate fee accompanied by evidence establishing the claimed citizenship such as birth certificate and because the child is only six years old, the application must be signed by you the parent. Remember, if you are a US Citizen and you met the requirements that apply for children born on or after 1986 your son has automatically acquired the US Citizenship, however, in order to firmly establish his US Citizenship you should proceed to obtain any of the documents I have refered to above.


Eliana Phelps

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