Applying for your Certificate of Citizenship on Form N-600 is a little known but highly useful way of turning around your immigration status in the U.S. Incredibly, some U.S citizens do not have proof of their citizenship. One client was about to be deported as an alien before we pointed out to him that he was, in fact, a U.S citizen and had been for a long time. Typically, you are a citizen if born on U.S. soil, and normally your birth certificate is proof of citizenship. If you become a citizen through naturalization, your Certificate of Naturalization is proof of citizenship. Sometimes, many are found in various situations where they may have no proof of citizenship despite being U.S Citizens. Such circumstances require one to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship to prove your citizenship. The biggest category of people who fall into this requirement are foreign-born children who came or followed their parents into the United States while still under 14 years of age. Such children are normally admitted into the U.S as LPRs or Legal Permanent Residents following a petition by their parents. The other common category are children born abroad of U.S parents.
Who is eligible?
The INA (Immigration and Naturalization Act) stipulates the following circumstances as being prima facially U.S Citizens where:
- Your parent must be a U.S. citizen;
- You must be the biological child of that U.S. citizen parent;
- You must be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence; and
- You must be living in the United States in the legal and physical custody of your U.S. citizen parent.
What are the requirements for filing?
The essential part to note here is that the documents to be submitted are for BOTH you and your U.S Citizen parent through you are claiming U.S citizenship. Other requirements include 2 recent passport photos, birth certificates, marriage certificates, proof of US Citizenship, copy of your permanent resident card, evidence of U.S physical presence and in some cases proof of legal custody and/or legitimation.
Should you or your parent not have access to some of the documentation –some secondary evidence is also accepted by the USCIS. Cases vary but do not ignore the need for some evidence as that may delay your application.
Common Issues with this Immigration Benefit?
Many clients consult with us inquiring on “how to become U.S citizens” which is not the case, in fact the N-600 Certificate of Citizenship is proof and physically recognizes that you became a citizen at one point in your life which is normally before you turned 18 years.
Many also fall afoul of the law that was in effect at the time of their birth because the Child Citizenship Act was first enacted on 11/14/1986 and was last amended on 02/27/2001. This law replaced older regulations that had several archaic criteria that disqualified many auto-citizens who otherwise failed to meet the precise criteria. This form is fairly easy to fill out but if you are having difficulty, please reach out to our competent staff at Musinguzi Law for more reliable assistance or a consultation.
What other relevant information to know?
Currently, an adopted child can acquire U.S. citizenship through his or her U.S. citizen parent. A copy of the Full and Final adoption decree must be submitted at the time of filing, and for those who have been re-adopted in the U.S – this would include evidence of a full and final foreign adoption whose validity is recognized in the applicant’s current location. However, step children do not acquire U.S. Citizenship under this provision.
Parents or legal guardians of minors under 14 can also file on behalf of such minors who qualify.
Where do you file the N-600
The Form N-600 Application for Citizenship Certificate is routinely filed with the USCIS by our firm for such persons to access the full benefits of their U.S citizenship including voting, opening up a business, traveling with a U.S passport, not being deportable, petitioning for siblings and their families as well as immediate family members, among others.
A filing fee is required for the USCIS to generate this certificate. This fee for most applicants is $600 with two exceptions:
- $550 if filing for an adopted child.
- There is no fee if filing for a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces – proof of service required. However, the fee for a child of a veteran or member of the U.S. Armed Forces is the normal $600 fee ($550 if child is adopted).
While USCIS allows you to file for yourself, a denial or rejection of filings is routine for the untrained applicant. Our firm has the expertise and experience to guide your efforts If you require further assistance, please contact Musinguzi Law. at 704-575-5225 or email us at email@example.com.
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