Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Legal Resources > U.S. Citizenship Laws and Policy > FAQ: Child Citizenship Act of 2000
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows foreign-born, biological, and adopted children of U.S. citizens to acquire U.S. citizenship if they satisfy certain requirements before age 18. The Act applies to children who did not acquire U.S. citizenship at birth.
Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA 320) provides that children acquire U.S. citizenship if they satisfy certain requirements before age 18 which include:
If you and your child reside outside the United States, your child may apply for a certificate of citizenship through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under Section 322 of INA 322 and take an oath of naturalization to complete the child's citizenship acquisition. This includes children of U.S. government employees and members of the armed forces who live abroad with parents stationed outside of the United States. To acquire U.S. citizenship under INA 322, you must demonstrate to USCIS your child meets certain requirements before age 18 which include:
The effective date of the Child Citizenship Act is February 27, 2001. Children who were under the age of 18 on February 27, 2001 (i.e. born on or after February 28, 1983) may automatically acquire U.S. citizenship from their U.S. citizen parent(s) if they satisfied the statute's requirement before their 18th birthday.
Children who were age 18 or older on February 27, 2001 (i.e. children born on or before February 27, 1983) are not eligible to acquire U.S. citizenship from their parents pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. A child may be eligible to automatically derive U.S. citizenship on another basis. You may also wish to contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to apply for the child's naturalization.
A child who enters the United States on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa (to be adopted in the United States) will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship when the adoption occurs in the United States. The adoption must happen before the child’s 18th birthday and the child must meet the other requirements of Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Applicants may submit one of the following documents as evidence the adoption was finalized in the United States:
A child who has lawful permanent residence (LPR status) will have a permanent resident card (green card). Another way to show LPR status is the I-551 stamp in the child's passport. This stamp shows the child has entered the United States on an immigrant visa and has been admitted as a lawful permanent resident.
If your child acquired citizenship under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, you do not have to apply for a certificate of citizenship for your child before applying for your child’s U.S. passport.
If you and your child reside abroad, you will need to contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to apply for a certificate of citizenship under Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Your child may apply for a U.S. passport once your child receives a certificate of citizenship from USCIS.
Only children residing in the United States are eligible to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If your child automatically acquired U.S. citizenship, you may apply for the child's certificate of citizenship from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or apply for a U.S. passport. If your child has not obtained a certificate of citizenship, you will need to present the following when applying for your child's U.S. passport:
If your child obtained a certificate of citizenship from USCIS, you must submit it with your child’s passport application as proof of citizenship.
No. Children who acquired U.S. citizenship under INA 320 or 322 are not eligible to receive a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). Only a child who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth may obtain a CRBA from a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Your residence is the primary place in which you live. Entering the United States or temporarily visiting the country – even if on an immigrant visa – usually does not meet the requirement to reside in the United States. As such, legal permanent residence cards are not evidence of residing in the United States.
You may provide any documents which show you reside in the United States such as school or day care records, utility bills, employment records, automobile registrations, deeds or property rental leases, medical records, or passport stamps.