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Lewis Kapell

Citizenship obtained by minor child at time of naturalization

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Hi,

My wife came to the U.S. after we were married, bringing her 3-year old daughter. My wife has now obtained her citizenship and we were informed that her minor child would automatically become a citizen at the same time. However we don't have any documentation that the child is a citizen. Currently her only legal documentation of status is her visa, which expires in about two years.

What do we need to do to obtain documentation of the child's citizenship? At a minimum I assume we need to obtain a Social Security card for her. But I don't know what forms or procedures we need to use.

Many thanks to any who can help.

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I was in a similar situation, I came to the US with my son when he was 4, currently awaiting my citizenship. I am not sure how it works with a visa as I did not have one for my son and I, but for me, I had to adjust my sons status and get him a greencard. If I am wrong hopefully someone can correct me, but I am almost positive you have to adjust her status for a legal immigration status, Best of luck!

Edited to add: Once she gets a legal status then she will automatically gain citizenship through her mom, if mom became a citizen before daughter turned 18.

Edited by MiaPA




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Hi,

My wife came to the U.S. after we were married, bringing her 3-year old daughter. My wife has now obtained her citizenship and we were informed that her minor child would automatically become a citizen at the same time. However we don't have any documentation that the child is a citizen. Currently her only legal documentation of status is her visa, which expires in about two years.

What do we need to do to obtain documentation of the child's citizenship? At a minimum I assume we need to obtain a Social Security card for her. But I don't know what forms or procedures we need to use.

Many thanks to any who can help.

You said the child has a visa... that's a little confusing because she should have a green card if she immigrated with her mother.

Does the child have a green card?

She should have got one when her mother got one.

(A) If she has a green card then she is already a citizen (she became one when her mother took the oath of citizenship). You have two choices:

1- You can file an N600 application to get a certificate of citizenship (different from the N400 and the certificate of naturalization).

2- You can skip the first step and apply for a passport directly. The passport will act as proof of citizenship.

In both cases you'll need the child's birth certificate, the mother's naturalization certificate, and the child's green card.

(B) If she does not have a green card, then she did not automatically become a citizen when her mother was naturalized. You will need to apply for the child's green card with the mother as the petitioner. The day that the child gets her green card, she will automatically become a citizen and part A above will then apply.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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I was in a similar situation, I came to the US with my son when he was 4, currently awaiting my citizenship. I am not sure how it works with a visa as I did not have one for my son and I, but for me, I had to adjust my sons status and get him a greencard. If I am wrong hopefully someone can correct me, but I am almost positive you have to adjust her status for a legal immigration status, Best of luck!

Edited to add: Once she gets a legal status then she will automatically gain citizenship through her mom, if mom became a citizen before daughter turned 18.

You are correct. The child has to obtain legal status first. In the case of the OP, if the child arrived here on a non-immigrant visa, then she is out of legal status and needs to apply for a green card before gaining citizenship.


For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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You said the child has a visa... that's a little confusing because she should have a green card if she immigrated with her mother.

Does the child have a green card?

She should have got one when her mother got one.

(A) If she has a green card then she is already a citizen (she became one when her mother took the oath of citizenship). You have two choices:

1- You can file an N600 application to get a certificate of citizenship (different from the N400 and the certificate of naturalization).

2- You can skip the first step and apply for a passport directly. The passport will act as proof of citizenship.

In both cases you'll need the child's birth certificate, the mother's naturalization certificate, and the child's green card.

(B) If she does not have a green card, then she did not automatically become a citizen when her mother was naturalized. You will need to apply for the child's green card with the mother as the petitioner. The day that the child gets her green card, she will automatically become a citizen and part A above will then apply.

When I became a citizen we did exactly what is explained here to have my daughter become a citizen. She had a green card which of course was surrendered.

Edited by Ning

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You said the child has a visa... that's a little confusing because she should have a green card if she immigrated with her mother.

Does the child have a green card?

She should have got one when her mother got one.

(A) If she has a green card then she is already a citizen (she became one when her mother took the oath of citizenship). You have two choices:

1- You can file an N600 application to get a certificate of citizenship (different from the N400 and the certificate of naturalization).

2- You can skip the first step and apply for a passport directly. The passport will act as proof of citizenship.

Yes - I'm sorry - you're right. The child obtained a green card when her mother did. It's been a while since I have dealt with these things (it was actually a few years ago that my wife obtained her citizenship).

We have already tried to get a passport for the child, but could not get consent from her natural father (both parents need to give approval for a minor to travel abroad). I knew there must be another way to get documentation of citizenship without a passport, but I had no idea what that process would be. Now I know... thank you!!

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You are looking to obtain the N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. Most people skip getting their minor child's citizenship cert and just get the passport, but since you're having difficulties with the other bio parent you can obtain this - yes, there is a fee

http://www.uscis.gov/n-600


Wiz(USC) and Udella(Cdn & USC!)

Naturalization

02/22/11 - Filed

02/28/11 - NOA

03/28/11 - FP

06/17/11 - status change - scheduled for interview

06/20?/11 - received physical interview letter

07/13/11 - Interview in Fairfax,VA - easiest 10 minutes of my life

07/19/11 - Oath ceremony in Fairfax, VA

******************

Removal of Conditions

12/1/09 - received at VSC

12/2/09 - NOA's for self and daughter

01/12/10 - Biometrics completed

03/15/10 - 10 Green Card Received - self and daughter

******************

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Yes - I'm sorry - you're right. The child obtained a green card when her mother did. It's been a while since I have dealt with these things (it was actually a few years ago that my wife obtained her citizenship).

We have already tried to get a passport for the child, but could not get consent from her natural father (both parents need to give approval for a minor to travel abroad). I knew there must be another way to get documentation of citizenship without a passport, but I had no idea what that process would be. Now I know... thank you!!

Glad I could help.

Note:

1- I don't know if you need the father's consent to get a certificate of citizenship. You'll have to read up on the N600 process. It takes between 6 and 12 months to process.

2- Even with the N600 the child will need the father's consent (or a court order) to obtain a passport. She will need a US passport to travel abroad as US citizens have to enter and leave the country using an American passport. So if there's going to be any international travel while she's a minor. You'll have to sort out the consent issue first. If you just want proof of citizenship and don't care about travel, go for the N600.

Edited by JimmyHou

For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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Glad I could help.

Note:

1- I don't know if you need the father's consent to get a certificate of citizenship. You'll have to read up on the N600 process. It takes between 6 and 12 months to process.

2- Even with the N600 the child will need the father's consent (or a court order) to obtain a passport. She will need a US passport to travel abroad as US citizens have to enter and leave the country using an American passport. So if there's going to be any international travel while she's a minor. You'll have to sort out the consent issue first. If you just want proof of citizenship and don't care about travel, go for the N600.

We didn't need the bio father consent to be granted citizenship for my daughter by using the passport method.

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We didn't need the bio father consent to be granted citizenship for my daughter by using the passport method.

Thanks for the feedback!

I think you mean you didn't need consent for the passport, not the citizenship.

There's no such thing as citizenship by the passport method. Once you are a citizen you can apply for a passport.

To get a passport you need the consent of both biological parents

There are some exceptions, so maybe your case is one of these.

You won't need consent if you have evidence that one parent cannot be reached.

or

If you have a court order terminating one parent's parental rights.

or

If the birth certificate does not list the father... in this case then they would probably not ask for his consent.

In any other circumstances, they should not have issued the passport without consent.

If they did it was a mistake, but mistakes happen.

This is part of a law enacted to prevent parental kidnapping. Otherwise, the biological father could show up, get the child a passport and leave the country.

In fact (separate issue), most airlines recommend that you carry a letter of consent when traveling abroad with only one parent. There are very rare cases of this being a problem while boarding (most airlines don't enforce it)

Here are the guidelines. See part 4.

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/under-16.html

So those are the rules... But I don't know how often they are enforced... in our case you didn't need consent. There are a couple of cases on the passport forum where passport applications were not accepted without the consent letter.

If I'm misreading the rules, please correct me.

Edited by JimmyHou

For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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Hi,

Under the Child Citizenship Act, a child meeting the 4 conditions automatically (nothing needs to be filed for) gains US citizenship;

1. Have a USC parent; &

2. Life's with a USC parent; &

3. Is under age 18; &

4. Been admitted as an LPR.

Getting a U.S. Passport or N-600 Certificate of Citizenship is merely documentation of the automatic citizenship.

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The OP's original post was exactly that:

"What do we need to do to obtain documentation of the child's citizenship?"

Hi,

Under the Child Citizenship Act, a child meeting the 4 conditions automatically (nothing needs to be filed for) gains US citizenship;

1. Have a USC parent; &
2. Life's with a USC parent; &
3. Is under age 18; &
4. Been admitted as an LPR.

Getting a U.S. Passport or N-600 Certificate of Citizenship is merely documentation of the automatic citizenship.


Wiz(USC) and Udella(Cdn & USC!)

Naturalization

02/22/11 - Filed

02/28/11 - NOA

03/28/11 - FP

06/17/11 - status change - scheduled for interview

06/20?/11 - received physical interview letter

07/13/11 - Interview in Fairfax,VA - easiest 10 minutes of my life

07/19/11 - Oath ceremony in Fairfax, VA

******************

Removal of Conditions

12/1/09 - received at VSC

12/2/09 - NOA's for self and daughter

01/12/10 - Biometrics completed

03/15/10 - 10 Green Card Received - self and daughter

******************

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Thanks for the feedback!

I think you mean you didn't need consent for the passport, not the citizenship.

There's no such thing as citizenship by the passport method. Once you are a citizen you can apply for a passport.

To get a passport you need the consent of both biological parents

There are some exceptions, so maybe your case is one of these.

You won't need consent if you have evidence that one parent cannot be reached.

or

If you have a court order terminating one parent's parental rights.

or

If the birth certificate does not list the father... in this case then they would probably not ask for his consent.

In any other circumstances, they should not have issued the passport without consent.

If they did it was a mistake, but mistakes happen.

This is part of a law enacted to prevent parental kidnapping. Otherwise, the biological father could show up, get the child a passport and leave the country.

In fact (separate issue), most airlines recommend that you carry a letter of consent when traveling abroad with only one parent. There are very rare cases of this being a problem while boarding (most airlines don't enforce it)

Here are the guidelines. See part 4.

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/under-16.html

So those are the rules... But I don't know how often they are enforced... in our case you didn't need consent. There are a couple of cases on the passport forum where passport applications were not accepted without the consent letter.

If I'm misreading the rules, please correct me.

No I mean I never needed the bio fathers permission for anything during this entire many year process that ended with her being a U S citizen reflected by her U S passport.

To be clear for others that may have interest my husband had me get a Thai passport for myself in my married name. We then applied for my daughters Thai passport which was sent to us a few weeks later. Her bio father wasn't mentioned.

We submitted her Thai B C as part of the passport application. It indicates her bio father but we were never asked about him in any way.

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No I mean I never needed the bio fathers permission for anything during this entire many year process that ended with her being a U S citizen reflected by her U S passport.

To be clear for others that may have interest my husband had me get a Thai passport for myself in my married name. We then applied for my daughters Thai passport which was sent to us a few weeks later. Her bio father wasn't mentioned.

We submitted her Thai B C as part of the passport application. It indicates her bio father but we were never asked about him in any way.

Thanks again for sharing.

Strange case, because what happened seems to go against State Department rules as you can see on the link above and by the stories here on VJ. Maybe it happens often.

If anyone is interseted, there are a couple of recent cases on this thread: http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/530717-minor-child-and-us-passport-question-split/

I'm glad you didn't have any problems!

Edited by JimmyHou

For a review of each step of my N-400 naturalization process, from application to oath ceremony, please click here.

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I know several people in similar situations who had no problems getting U.S. passports for their step children, without parental consent from the foreign biological parent in a foreign country. I will be going through this same process in July for my stepson. His biological father has been MIA for 11 out of 12 years and has never once supported his son, actually I take that back, he is my son now.

If you think about it, why would a foreign parent in a foreign country, be able or even want to stop a U.S. citizen child from obtaining a U.S. passport to travel? If the foreign parent isn't in the U.S. and isn't a Green Card or visa holder, then that parent couldn't travel to the U.S. anyway. The time for that foreign parent to prevent his/her child from immigrating to the U.S., ended when the child stepped foot on U.S. soil. Would they prefer the child stays in the U.S. without the ability to ever travel and visit them? I'm sure there are parents who don't bother renewing their child's foreign passport or even care about obtaining or keeping dual-citizenship for them. Certainly the foreign parent has no authority to force the U.S. parent to renew the foreign passport or file for dual-citizenship for the child - who knows if a foreign court could do that though, I doubt it.

I haven't read about any cases where the biological mother marries a U.S. citizen, obtains a green card for her and her biological child (U.S. citizen's step-child), travels to the U.S. where both she had her biological child become U.S. citizens, only to have the foreign biological parent object to that child getting a U.S. passport. I'll have to search some more on VJ for anything similar type cases, maybe they exist.

I would suggest submitting a DS-5525: Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances with the passport application. You don't need to show years' worth of no contact, but simply recent attempts to contact the other parent. This should be fairly straight forward if the other parent is the citizen of and resides in a foreign country.

The DS-5525 instructions also state, " Your request may qualify as a special family circumstance if the minor's family situation makes it exceptionally difficult or impossible for one or both of the minor's custodial parents/legal guardians to provide the notarized, written consent." So the U.S. parent, despite having constant contact with the foreign parent, can submit the DS-5525 and document that it would be difficult for the foreign parent to obtain the proper notarized seals on the DS-3053 Parental Consent Form.


 

 

Click Spoiler for signature timeline.

 

3/10/2013 - Married

Green Card Process Summary
3/25/2013 - Submitted I-130's
01/13/2014 - Embassy Interview - Approved!
05/28/2014 - POE (U.S. Customs and Immigration Overseas Preclearance Facility - Abu Dhabi)
08/20/2014 - Green Card received.

Naturalization Process

01/20/2015 - Submitted N-400 for immediate naturalization under INA 319b.

02/10/2015 - Check cashed.

02/14/2015 - NOA

04/07/2015 - Case shipped to local field office.

04/08/2015 - Interview scheduled for July 6, 2015.

04/08/2015 - Wifey better be studying her butt off for the citizenship test!

07/08/2015 - Wifey was studying her butt off and passed the test easily. Oath ceremony completed on same day! We are done with our journey!

 

 

 

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