Paths to Citizenship

How can a child under the age of 18 become a U.S citizen?

Because the process of naturalization requires the applicant to be 18 years of age or older, minor children cannot apply for citizenship like their parents. However, in most cases, children under age 18 are not required to apply for citizenship, instead it will be granted to them automatically when one of their parents becomes a citizen or if specific requirements are met.

The laws that concerned acquiring derivative citizenship by children under age 18 were expanded and the requirements relaxed in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. This law states that if a child under the age of 18 meets the following three requirements, they will be granted citizenship. The requirements are as follows:

  1. At least one of the child's parent must be a citizen of the U.S. by naturalization or birth.
  2. The minor child must be a green card holder.
  3. The minor child must be living in the United States in the custody of a parent that is a U.S. citizen.

After all the requirements have been met, the child will automatically become a U.S. citizen, without the need to file any applications.

Obtaining U.S. Citizenship Through Marriage

In the United States, under U.S. immigration laws, green card holders can apply for citizenship through marriage to become citizens after three years in the U.S. rather than having to live in the United States for fives years before applying, like most permanent residents. There are requirements that you must meet, before your spouse, who must be a U.S. citizen, can file for your naturalization. The requirements are as follows:

  1. You must be a green card holder.
  2. You must be over the age of 18.
  3. You must be living with your spouse for at least 3 years before filing for citizenship.
  4. You must stay married to your spouse up until you have taken your Oath of Allegiance at your citizenship ceremony.
  5. You must have been continuously living in the United States as a green card holder for three years or more, before filing for citizenship. For those three years you must have been physically in the United States for 18 months or more.
  6. You must be able to speak, read, and write in English.
  7. You must show that you have knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government.
  8. You must show that you have filed and are current on your taxes for the past 3 years.
  9. You must show that you have good moral character for the three years before filing for citizenship.
    • What is good moral character?
      • A person with good moral character is a law-abiding person who respects and follows the laws and rules of their community and country.

With recent developments, like the Trump administration's new rule regarding grounds of inadmissibility, making it more difficult for low-income immigrants to legally immigrate to the United States, obtaining citizenship is becoming more and more difficult. However, with the help of an experienced immigration attorney the path to citizenship can be made much more manageable.

It is advisable to seek legal guidance from our office today as we strive to help guide you with your specific case. 

Attorney Ramona Kennedy cares about your case and will fight for you.

You can contact attorney Ramona Kennedy Law Offices (Kennedy Law LC) for an initial consultation and case evaluation. The first consultation is free of charge. 

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