The Child Citizenship Act (or "CCA'), which became effective on February 27, 2001,amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to provide U.S. citizenship to certain foreign-born children, including adopted children of U.S. citizens. Specifically, these children include:
Orphans with a full and final adoption abroad or adoption finalized in the U.S.,
Biological or legitimated children,
Certain children born out of wedlock to a mother who naturalizes, and
Adopted children meeting the two year custody requirement.
This legislation represents a significant and important change in the nationality laws of the United States. The changes made by the CCA authorize the automatic acquisition of American citizenship and permanently protect the adopted children of United States. citizens from deportation and removal.
In general, children who are younger 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 CCA, qualifying children who immigrate to the United States with a U.S. citizen parent automatically acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry; children who live abroad acquire citizenship on approval of an application and the taking of the oath of allegiance.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Child Citizenship Act
1) Does my child qualify for automatic citizenship under the CCA?
Under CCA, your child will automatically acquire American citizenship on the date that all of the following requirements are satisfied:
At least one adoptive parent is a U.S. citizen,
The child is under 18 years of age,
If the child is adopted, a full and final adoption of the child, and
The child is admitted to the United States as an immigrant
2) Do I have to apply to USCIS for my child's citizenship?
No. If your child satisfies the requirements listed above, he or she automatically acquires U.S. citizenship by operation of law on the day he or she is admitted to the United States as an immigrant. Your child’s citizenship status is no longer dependent on USCIS approving a naturalization application.
3) What documentation can I get of my child's citizenship?
If your child permanently resides in the U.S, you can obtain evidence of your child’s citizenship by applying for a Certificate of Citizenship. You will need to file form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship) and submit it to the local USCIS District Office or Sub-Office that holds jurisdiction over your permanent residence. You can also apply for an American passport from the Department of State.
If your child permanently resides abroad, your child does not qualify for automatic citizenship under the CCA. However, you can apply for citizenship for your child by filing form N-600K (Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322). You can submit this form to any USCIS District Office or Sub-Office in the United States.
4) Will USCIS automatically provide me with documentation of my child's citizenship?
At the present time, USCIS is not able to automatically provide most parents with documentation of their foreign-born child’s citizenship. However, USCIS has implemented a streamlined process for newly entering IR-3 children and their families that will ensure they receive a Certificate of Citizenship within 45 days of entering the United States. Additionally, USCIS has implemented procedures to expedite processing of pending N-643 cases. If you previously filed an N-643 application and have not received your child’s Certificate of Citizenship you can contact the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. You should have have the following information when you call: your child’s A-number and the location and date you filed the application.
5) What forms do I file and what are the fees?
If your child permanently resides in the U.S., you can apply for evidence of citizenship by filing form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship). If you are filing on behalf of an adopted minor child, the fee is $420 (all other applicants must pay $460).
If your child permanently resides abroad, you can apply for citizenship by filing form N-600K (Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322). If you are filing on behalf of an adopted minor child, the fee is $420 (all other applicants must pay $460).
6) Where should I file the forms?
If your child permanently resides in the U.S., you can file form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship) at the USCIS District Office or Sub-Office that that holds jurisdiction over your permanent residence.
If your child permanently resides abroad, you can apply for citizenship by filing form N-600K (Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322) at any USCIS District Office or Sub-Office in the United States. You and your child will need to travel to the United States to complete the application process
7) Is automatic citizenship provided for those who are 18 years of age or older?
No. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under the CCA, even if they meet all other criteria. If they wish to become U.S. citizens, they must apply for naturalization and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful permanent residents.
8) Will USCIS publish regulations on the CCA procedures?
The USCIS published interim regulations specific to the CCA in the Federal Register on June 13, 2001. The USCIS is reviewing comments received from individuals and organizations and is in the process of drafting the final regulation.
9) What resources are available to answer questions about the Child Citizenship Act?
For more information about the CCA application procedures and forms, you may contact the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.