Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.
QUESTION: My daughter is 15 and she is getting her permanent residence card soon. I heard there was a law for kids who are under 18 that makes them eligible for citizenship. How does my daughter become a US citizen?
THE IMMIGRATION ANSWER MAN – ARI SAUER: There is such a law. It is called the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, or CCA for short. The CCA allows for children of US citizens to automatically become US citizens as well. Under the CCA, a child automatically becomes a US citizen if they met all of the following requirements at the same time on or after February 27, 2001 (the date the CCA was enacted):
1) They are under 18;
2) They are a US Legal Permanent Resident (green card holder) living in the US;
3) At least one parent is a US citizen either by birth or naturalization (this does not include step-parents); AND
4) They are living in the physical and legal custody of their US citizen parent.
If all these requirements are met at the same time, then the child automatically becomes a US citizen. There is no need to file any application. The child can apply for a Certificate of Citizenship or a US Passport as proof of their citizenship, but they are still citizens even if they never apply for these documents.
So for example, if the child is under 18 and living in the legal and physical custody of their US citizen parent, then as soon as their green card application is approved, they will automatically become a US citizen. Alternatively, if the child is a permanent resident under 18, and it living in the legal and physical custody of their parent who is a permanent resident, then on the day that the parent is sworn in as a US citizen, the child automatically becomes a US citizen as well.
Children who are abroad cannot automatically obtain citizenship through the CCA, but the CCA also has a section that allows for a US citizen parents to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship for their child who is abroad, where certain requirements are met. But that will have to be the subject of another post.
For those children that are not eligible to become US citizens under the CCA, they must wait until they are 18 before they can file their own application to become a US citizen through naturalization.
If you would like my assistance with this process or you would like to discuss this or other issues further, you can schedule a consultation with me by calling 1-800-343-4890 or 901-682-6455 or by clicking here to
schedule a consulation appointment with an immigration lawyer. My office is in Memphis, TN, but I am available to consult with clients by phone and I represent clients throughout the U.S. and around the world.
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* This is an advertisement. Attorney Ari Sauer is an immigration lawyer with the Memphis, Tennessee office of the Siskind Susser law firm. www.visalaw.com/ari.html. On this blog we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of New York and New Jersey. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. Standard consultation fees apply when scheduling a consultation appointment with Ari Sauer or another attorney at Siskind Susser.