What Is the Child Citizenship Act?
The Child Citizenship Act was established in 2000 and provides children born outside of the U.S. with citizenship when they meet specific requirements. Known as the CCA and part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a child that is not naturalized at birth can obtain naturalization automatically if they do so before they are 18 years old.
Reviewing Section 320
Under INA Section 320, any child born outside of the United States, but now residing in the country, can qualify for automatic naturalization.
Qualifications for Section 320
- One of your parents must be a citizen by birth or through naturalization at the time you were born;
- You must be under 18 years;
- You must reside in the United States and be in the physical and legal custody of a parent in the United States.
Receiving Your Certificate of Citizenship
If you qualify for naturalization or citizenship through Section 320, you do not have to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship, but you should. An immigration attorney from Udall Shumway, PLC can help you file N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship with the Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security.
To receive a Certificate of Citizenship, parents are required to submit their child’s birth certificate, their marriage certificate, and evidence of their citizenship to the USCIS officers.
Understanding the Legal and Physical Custody Requirement
Legal custody, per the USCIS guidelines, is when a parent has the responsibility and authority over the child. If a United States citizen has legal custody of a minor, the biological child or adopted child might qualify under Section 320. Even divorced parents with a custody arrangement might qualify for Section 320.
Requirements of Section 320
One catch to the CCA is that it only applies to children born on or following February 27, 2001, or a child that is 18 years or younger by that date. If a child were 18 years or older as of the deadline, they would not qualify for citizenship under Section 320.
Instead, children that do not meet the date cut-off must follow Section 321, which has more stringent requirements and age cutoffs.
Can an Attorney Help with CCA Naturalization?
Hiring an immigration attorney is best in these types of cases. An attorney can determine which section of the INA applies, and assist with the certification process.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Child Citizenship Act, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.