Obtaining Citizenship Through Parents in the United States

When an individual is born outside of the United States and wishes to come to the country, there are several ways this can be done. There are some cases in which a foreign child has parents that are United States citizens. Generally, there are two ways a person can obtain citizenship through their parents that are citizens. A child can acquire citizenship at birth or they can receive citizenship from their parents after they are born but before the age of 18.


Children who are born in a different country may be eligible to acquire citizenship through their parents that are already citizens in the United States. This can be done as long as the parents and the child meet certain requirements. These requirements may vary depending on various factors. This can include:

  • The child’s date of birth
  • The citizenship of the parents
  • The marital status of the parents
  • The parent’s physical presence and residence in the country before the child’s birth
  • If the child was born in or out of wedlock
  • If the child was legitimated by the parent under the correct laws
  • If the child is adopted

It is important to know that stepchildren of United States citizens are typically not able to acquire citizenship through their stepparent. Exceptions are made in the event that they are adopted and the adoption meets another set of requirements.

How to Apply

When a person wants to apply for citizenship through their parent, they can do so online. This can be done by following the following steps:

  • Create a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) account to access the online application
  • Complete the online Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600)
  • Upload all evidence, including initial evidence and any supporting documentation for the Form N-600
  • Review the application and digitally sign
  • Pay the $1170 form filing fee and submit the application

An applicant also has the option to file for citizenship by paper if they do not wish to do so online. This can be done through the following steps:

  • Request a certificate of citizenship from the USCIS (Form N-600)
  • Complete the Form N-600
  • Submit the filing fee of $1170
  • Submit all evidence, including initial evidence and any supporting documentation for the Form N-600
  • Sign and file the form at the correct filing location according to the form’s instructions

Once an application is submitted, it will be processed by the USCIS. The individual will be informed that the application was received and they will be notified if an interview is requested. A written notice of the decision will be sent and if the application is approved for a child over the age of 14, they must appear at a USCIS office to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Contact our Firm

John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding immigration law matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.

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