How People Born Outside of the U.S. to U.S. Citizen Parents Can Get a Certificate of U.S. Citizenship

Individuals born outside of the United States to American parents need to file for a Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (an N-560 or N-651). If you are not sure which application form you want to file, talk to an immigration attorney to help you.

Even though the most common way that people become U.S. citizens is by being born in the U.S. A few people who were born outside the U.S. are also considered U.S. citizens by virtue of one or both of their parents being U.S. citizens (either native-born or through naturalization). In practical terms, the person has either “obtained” or “derived” U.S. citizenship.

Separate Procedure From Applying for U.S. Citizenship Through Naturalization

Do not mistake the document at issue and application process with the one used by U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents (green card beneficiaries) who have completed the required number of years in the U.S. (generally five years) and are ready to apply for naturalization. This is a separate path to U.S. citizenship, requiring a different USCIS Form N400 and a different process which includes an interview and a test of the immigrant’s English language abilities and knowledge of U.S. history and government. If successful, such applicants will be issued a Certificate of Naturalization, which is different from the certificate obtained when being born to U.S. citizen parents.

Any applicant who seeks U.S. citizenship through naturalization but requests a Certificate of Citizenship instead of a naturalization certificate will automatically be denied. Ask an immigration attorney about knowing the difference between both procedures.

How U.S. Citizen Parents Document U.S. Citizenship Status Received Overseas For Their Child

In certain instances, the U.S. citizen parents of someone born outside the U.S. might have gone to a U.S. consulate in the country where they are residing and obtained confirmation of their child’s birth and U.S. citizenship, but this does not always happen.

To be able to prove their child’s U.S. citizenship, such people can apply to U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a Certificate of Citizenship. Once the application process is completed the U.S. government will issue the certificate and number it either N-560 or N-561. Using that certificate, the applicant will be able to obtain a U.S. passport, Social Security number, and other U.S. government benefits.

Applying For a Certificate of Citizenship

When petitioning for a Certificate of U.S. Citizenship, you have to fill out either USCIS Form N-600 along with supporting evidence such as your birth certificate amongst other documents, or an N-600K, depending on whether you are filing on your behalf or on behalf of a child whom you are adopting from another country. Check with an immigration law firm before requesting a Certificate of Citizenship.

Get Help If You Don’t Know Where to Start When Applying for a Certificate of Citizenship

If you need help figuring out whether you are eligible for U.S. citizenship based on the citizenship of your parent(s), or in filing your forms or applying for a certificate of U.S. citizenship, call a seasoned U.S. immigration attorney. Do not hesitate to contact Gambacorta Law Office at 847 443 9303.