Child Citizenship Act of 2000
The Child Citizenship Act (CCA) of 2000, states that certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of U.S. citizens are able to obtain U.S. citizenship automatically. These children did not obtain U.S. citizenship at birth, but are granted U.S. citizenship when they enter the U.S. as lawful permanent residents.

This law went into effect on February 27, 2001. On that date, children who met the eligibility requirements automatically obtained U.S. citizenship. This law does not apply to children who were 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001. Therefore, they 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.

Eligibility
The child will automatically acquire U.S. citizenshp on the date all of the following requirements are met:
  • At least one 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 U.S. as an immigrant.
As long as your child satisfieds the requirements listed above, he/she automatically receives U.S. citizenship by operation of law on the day he/she is admitted to the U.S. as an immigrant. Your child's citizenship status is no longer dependent on USCIS approving a naturalization application.

Proof of citizenship
At the present time, USCIS is not able to automatically provide biological parents with documentation of their child's citizenship. USCIS will continue to implement programs that streamline processes to more rapidly issue Certificates of Citizenship to qualifying children.

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 a U.S. Passport from the Department of State. In order to obtain a passport for a child who became a U.S. citizern under CCA, following documents are required:
  • Evidence of the child's relationship to a U.S. citizen parent (a certified copy of the final adoption decree for an adopted child, birth certificate for natural child);

  • The child's foreign passport with USCIS's foreign I-551 stamp or the child's resident alien card; and

  • The parent's valid identification.

Children Residing Abroad
Some adopted and biological children do not qualify for automatic citizenship as stated under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, U.S. citizen parents may still apply for U.S. citizenship for their adopted children who permanently reside abroad.

Automatic citizenship is not provided for children living outside the United States.

In order for a foreign-born child living outside the United States to acquire citizenship, the U.S. citizen parent must still apply for naturalization on behalf of the child. The naturalization process for such a child cannot take place overseas. The child will need to be in the United States temporarily to complete naturalization processing and take the oath of allegiance.

To be eligible, a child must meet the following requirements:
  • The child has at least one U.S. citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);
  • The U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14-or the U.S. citizen parent has a citizen parent who has been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14;
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent or, the U.S. citizen grandparent or legal guardian, if the U.S. citizen parent died.
  • The child is temporarily present in the United States-having entered the United States lawfully and maintaining lawful status in the United States; and
  • The child must meet the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law
If the U.S. citizen parent of the child has died, a U.S. citizen grandparent or legal guardian may apply on behalf of the child within 5 years of the parent's death. (Note: For further information, please see Addition of Citizen Grandparents and Citizen Legal Guardians as Eligible Applicants pursuant to INA 322)

If the naturalization application is approved, the child must take the same oath of allegiance administered to adult naturalization applicants. If the child is too young to understand the oath, USCIS may waive the oath requirement.

If your child has not immigrated to the United States (does not have a "green card"), and lives abroad, you should submit:
  • Photographs of your child,
  • Fee,
  • Your child's birth certificate,
  • Your birth certificate or naturalization certificate,
  • Your marriage certificate (if applicable),
  • Evidence of termination of previous marriages (if applicable),
  • Evidence of a full and final adoption (if applicable),
  • Evidence of all legal name changes (if applicable), and
  • Form N-600K.
You can apply for evidence of citizenship by filing form 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. If you are filing on behalf of an adopted minor child, the fee is $145 (all other applicants must pay $185).

If filing for a child who lives abroad, you may file the Form N-600K 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 this application process.

FAQ
Q: What if I live abroad and have no address in the United States? Can my adopted child become a U.S. citizen?
A:
Yes. Adoptive parents who wish to naturalize their children but who will continue to reside abroad may enter their adoptive children with a B-2 visa and complete the expeditious naturalization process. This requires that they coordinate with the USCIS office which has jurisdiction over their case and which will set an appointment for the procedure. To obtain a B-2 visa, adoptive parents must demonstrate that the child qualifies either under the two-year physical/legal custody rule or present an approved I-600. When applying for a nonimmigrant visa, the adoptive parents must also prove that they have made all the necessary arrangements with the USCIS office and that they intend to depart the U.S. to continue their residence abroad. Adoptive parents can show proof of arrangements made with the USCIS by presenting an USCIS General Call-in Letter (Form G-56). Note that parents who qualify under the two-year legal/physical custody rule and who will continue to reside abroad can avoid the cost and paperwork of both the I-130 and the I-600 by using this procedure. Expeditious naturalization in all cases must be complete before the child turns 18.