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Derived Citizenship

Derived citizenship refers to being a child of a foreign person who became a U.S. citizen before the child reaches 18, as opposed to acquisition, which includes being born to a U.S. citizen. This came into effect due to the Child Citizenship Act of February 26, 2001.

Even though you need official proof of your citizenship, if you satisfy the conditions for derivation, then you’re automatically a citizen of the United States. However, you must apply for a Certificate of Citizenship to have the government certify your status. You will then be able to apply for a passport and enjoy additional citizenship privileges.

IAS can help you with your derived citizenship application. You can call us on +1 844 290 6312 or chat with us online.

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    Understanding Derived Citizenship

    Derived citizens are people who get their citizenship via the naturalization of their parents, as opposed to those who apply for their own naturalization. Derived citizenship implies that if you have at least one parent who has U.S. citizenship (naturalized or born), you could acquire citizenship via them as a child under the age of 18.

    Derived citizenship may be granted both within and outside the United States. For example, even if the kid is born overseas, he or she may get citizenship via the US embassy. The legal parent has to provide evidence of citizenship as well as proof of permanent residency in the United States.

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    Eligibility for Derived Citizenship

    There are several requirements:

    • The minor is under 18 years old and unmarried;
    • The kid has at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen;
    • The minor has a green card;
    • A U.S. citizen parent currently has legal and physical custody of the child in the United States;
    • The kid is a legal permanent resident of the United States;

    You are not required to immediately fulfill all of these requirements. As an example, you may meet all of them except the green card criteria. If you successfully submit an application for a green card and join your parents in the United States, you may qualify for citizenship through descent.

    Or you may meet all requirements except for having a parent who is a U.S. citizen. If your parents hold a green card and they have become a citizen of the United States before you turn 18, you automatically become a citizen via derivation on that date.

    When a person no longer fulfills the requirements, such as when they are older than 18 and live outside the United States, they could have been granted citizenship through derivation if they had previously met all of the requirements simultaneously. You remain a U.S. citizen because you cannot lose US citizenship by derivation unless you voluntarily renounce it.

    The above regulations apply to kids born to U.S. citizen parents. Adopted children are subject to distinct laws regarding derivation and acquisition. Additional requirements apply for unauthorized children whose father is the only U.S. citizen parent.

    Application Process for Derived Citizenship

    Under most circumstances, the following documents (depending on your situation) will prove your citizenship:

    • A birth certificate issued by the United States Department of State. A birth certificate issued by the US Department of State via the US Embassy if the child was born overseas.
    • A Passport from the United States
    • A certificate of citizenship given to a foreign person who obtained their citizenship via derivation (from a U.S. citizen parent).
    • A naturalization certificate is issued to persons who have earned US citizenship via the naturalization procedure.

    There are two paths you may take to get your citizenship acknowledged. The first step is to complete Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. Your second option is to get a US passport. You can schedule an appointment with the US Embassy and prepare the required documents.

    Acquiring U.S. Citizenship for Children Born Abroad

    The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 enables children of American citizens who were born abroad, or who were adopted or biologically related to US citizens, to become permanent citizens provided they meet specific criteria before becoming 18 years old.

    A principle in immigration law known as “derivation of citizenship” enables a kid to inherit citizenship from a parent who has been a naturalized citizen of the United States. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 outlines the documentation and evidence needed before a child may become a citizen of the United States.

    Both Parents Are U.S. Citizens

    A person qualifies to be born in wedlock or in wedlock means for the reason of citizenship acquisition if the parents are: Legally married to each other at the moment of the person’s conception or birth; or fall within 300 days of the end of their marriage by death or divorce. This applies to children born in countries other than the United States.

    In any circumstance, one of the U.S. citizen parent(s) or the alien spouse of one of those U.S. citizen parents must serve as the biological or gestational parent of the kid in order to pass on citizenship to that child.

    According to subsection 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a person is automatically granted U.S. citizenship at birth if they were born outside of the United States to two U.S. citizen parents who were married at the time of the birth and at least one of the parents maintained a residency in the United States or one of its outlying territories prior to the birth of the person. In these circumstances, in order for a U.S. citizen parent to legally pass on their citizenship to their kid, that parent must have either a genetic or a gestational link to the child.

    One of The Parents is U.S. Citizen

    If the child meets the standards of INA 320, then they are eligible to become a citizen of the United States. The most important considerations are as follows:

    • At the time of the kid’s birth, one of the child’s parents already had United States citizenship and continued to do so following the birth of the child.
    • The child’s other parent is a foreign national who became a naturalized citizen before they reached the age of majority (18 years old).
    • The youngster has been granted permission to stay in the United States as a permanent resident in accordance with the law.
    • The youngster began living in the United States on a more permanent basis with their parents before they reached the age of 18 years old.
    • When the kid’s parents obtained their citizenship, the child had not yet tied the knot.

    Are you eligible for derived citizenship? Contact IAS today to explore your options! Contact Us

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      Acquiring Derivative U.S. Citizenship for Adults


      Applicants who are at least 18 years old and were born in a country other than the United States are eligible to make a claim for citizenship based on a parent who was a citizen of the United States at the time of the applicant’s birth.

      The applicant is eligible for a first-time United States passport after it is determined that the citizenship claim is valid. Applicants who are 18 years old or older do not meet the eligibility requirements for CRBA issuance.

      To be eligible to apply for citizenship in the United States as an adult, a person must be able to demonstrate that they meet all three of the following requirements:


      In order to pass on citizenship, the applicant parent(s) must have been citizens of the United States at the time of the applicant’s birth and have had a sufficient amount of time spent physically present in the United States.

      The applicant’s date of birth and the legal connection that existed between the applicant’s parents at the time of the applicant’s birth are both relevant factors in determining the transmission criteria. Please refer to the Citizenship Transmission Requirements for further information.


      The kid or applicant must fulfill all of the legal conditions connected to legitimation in order to be considered legitimate. The legitimacy of a child born between a U.S. citizen mother and a father who is not a citizen of the United States is established automatically. However, in order for a kid to be considered legitimate, the child’s father must be a citizen of the United States.

      The fact that the parents were married at the time of the child’s birth confers legitimacy on the child even though the mother is not a citizen of the United States. The following steps must be taken in order to provide legitimacy to a person who was born in the United States to a U.S. citizen father and a woman who was not a citizen of the United States, but who was not legitimated by the natural parents’ later marriage:

      • When the applicant was younger than 18, the father (unless he passed away before the applicant turned 18) agreed in writing and under oath to support the applicant financially until the applicant turned 18 years old.
      • The father also acknowledged paternity of the candidate in writing under oath or the applicant’s paternity was determined by adjudication of a competent court.


      The requester must prove that they are related to the alleged parent legally and biologically.

      Documents Needed for U.S. Derived Citizenship for Adults

      At the time of the interview for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you will be required to produce the following papers. When necessary, please bring copies with you. In any other case, the Embassy will charge you a $1 per page photocopying fee:

      • Photos of the applicant. Two (2) identical passport photos
      • Application for a U.S. Passport (DS-11), completed but not signed. Until a consular officer instructs you to sign this document, do not do so. The form has to be electronically filled out and printed. Handwritten forms cannot be accepted.
      • two copies of the birth certificate: the original and a copy. Please provide the birth certificate that was issued by the government of the applicant’s country of birth if the applicant was born anywhere other than the Marshall Islands.
      • Identity document or passport for the applicant. The candidate must have their passport on hand. They will accept two additional types of official photo identification in place of a passport. Please provide one copy of each ID along with the original.
      • Proof of parents U.S. citizenship. The applicant must provide documentation proving the parent’s citizenship. U.S. passports, both valid and expired, and Certificates of Naturalization are examples of potential proof. If possible, please provide both the original and copies of each.
      • if possible, the marriage license of the parents. Please provide both the original and one photocopy of the marriage certificate.

      Our team of immigration experts is well-versed in derived citizenship cases and can provide you with professional guidance and support. Contact Us

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        How Can IAS Help?

        Due to the difficulty of the procedure, assistance with derived citizenship applications must be obtained from an immigration lawyer. We have immigration lawyers that are the perfect match for you. They have years of expertise assisting customers with their applications, and they can assist you in properly filling out documents to prevent visa denials.

        Due to the time and resources required to create an application in the first place, application rejections may be traumatic. You can lose contact with your family as a result. Please get in touch with us at Immigration Advice Service to prevent them.

        Call one of our immigration experts at + 1 844 290 6312 or contact us online to learn more about our services and what we can do for you.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  No, it can, except one of the parents is a US citizen.

                  You must submit a separate petition as a U.S. citizen for every member of your closest family members, including your own children.

                  Citizens have several advantages over permanent residents, including the ability to vote, protection from deportation, and access to state benefits, to name a few.