Proving Your Child is a US Citizen
As a parent, we know you want what is best for your children. And I am sure you are well aware of the many benefits that US citizens enjoy that others usually do not. In the following sections, I will elaborate on how you can prove your children are US citizens so you can extend these benefits to them.
1. Proving Your Child is a Citizen if Born Abroad
There are between 3 million and 8 million US citizens who live outside of the United States all over the world. This expatriate population is constantly growing, too. And that’s because many of these individuals move to different countries with their spouses and start families there.
A very pertinent question that a lot of my clients ask me pertains to the citizenship of the children of this vast American diaspora. Just last month, I had a couple come to our office before they transferred abroad. They asked me, “We are planning a family. What if we have one or more children abroad? How can we prove that they’re US citizens?”
This is a great question and thankfully, there is a simple solution. There is a form that the consul or the embassy produces if you apply for it. This form is called the Consular Report of Birth Abroad. CRBA. It is a fairly straightforward form. It is important to note that you will only be given one original form, and it can prove to be incredibly difficult to procure a replacement in the event you lose the original. So, hang on to it!
While the form is proof of identification and citizenship, it is cannot be not used for travel. It is very important that you get your child a US passport at the earliest. You can accomplish that at the same time at the US Embassy. I also recommend that anyone with a US citizen child born abroad applies for a Certificate of Citizenship. It is an excellent document. It looks rather like a naturalization certificate with a photo, and it can be used for I.D. It can also be used to obtain a passport.
However, a Certificate of Naturalization is different from a Certificate of Citizenship. A Naturalization Certificate shows that you were born abroad, not as a citizen, and you became a citizen later on. A Certificate of Citizenship shows that you were born as a US citizen or derived US citizenship. It is important to get that document as soon as you can.
- Apply for the Consular Report of Birth Abroad at your nearest consul or embassy.
- Also apply for a Certificate of Citizenship and a US passport.
2. Proving Your Child is a Citizen if You Have a Green Card
A lot of clients come into my office and ask me how they can prove that their children are citizens. Of these, there are some individuals who typically just became citizens and have minor children. These children are already green-card holders. It is rather simple, really. You see, if you become a citizen, and you have minor children who are not US citizens yet, they can automatically derive US citizenship through you.
I advise these clients to go and apply for citizenship for their children. In such situations, there is a very useful form supplied by the USCIS. It is called the N-600. That is the form that people use to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship. You will also need to prove that you are a citizen. This means that the application will require a copy of your naturalization document. You will additionally need to prove that your child is a minor. And finally, you will need to provide documentation to prove that the child(ren) is either your biological or adopted child. You can do so by providing the child’s birth certificate. In some situations, a translation may also be required.
It is important to note that a stepchild is not eligible to acquire citizenship through the parent when they become a US citizen. Only biological children or adopted children are eligible. This is because apart from requiring your Certificate of Citizenship, and your Certificate of Naturalization, you also require their birth certificate to prove they are your biological children or your adopted children. Also, while it is a fairly straightforward application, the process can take up to a year.
My advice is, as soon as you become a citizen, if you have minor children, file that Certificate of Citizenship for your children so that they will have the document that they need later on to prove that they are a US citizen. They will be able to obtain their US passports as well.
- All biological and adopted children of parents who acquired citizenship (through naturalization or birth) are eligible to derive US citizenship through their parents.
- Apply for a Certificate of Citizenship using the N-600 form supplied by the USCIS.