The Characteristics and Processes of a Derivation of Citizenship


When citizenship of the United States is acquired through naturalization, children are automatically converted into American citizens by the process known as derivation of citizenship, provided that the children are under 18 at the time of application and other requirements are also met. The purpose of this article is to inform readers the conditions for making a request, what to do if they are not met and what derivation of citizenship means.

Main requirements

First, all of the following requirements must be met; be under 18; the naturalization of the parents was after February 27, 2001; the child must have legal status in the United States through a Green Card or residence card; the child usually resides with the naturalized father and also have physical and legal custody of the child. If the aforementioned requirements are met in full, the minor will have derivation of citizenship without having to incur any cost or citizenship exams (English, American history, civic) or go through the process of swearing allegiance to the flag.

After the procedure

When you have citizenship by derivation you must request the certificate of citizenship also known as “Certificate of citizenship” through the N-600 form and the American passport, whatever the situation they will return to validate the conditions mentioned above and follow the usual application processes for the first time with the particular characteristics of each application.

Cut-off point 2001

Now, what happens in cases where naturalization takes place before 2001, does not mean that citizenship cannot be achieved by derivation of citizenship, what happens is that the set of restrictions becomes broader, making the process longer. The above is due to the fact that citizenship by derivation has had many changes over time, the main difference before 2001 is that both parents were asked to become naturalized if they wanted to refer a child under 18 years of age. thus acquire American citizenship automatically.

Cases children over 18 years

On the other hand, if the father obtains naturalization and when the child is over 18 years the child’s situation does not change, you can ask for citizenship by derivation but this citizenship It is not automatic, what should be done if the requirements are met is to request citizenship by referral through form N-400 and also pay the corresponding fees for the process, the mentioned procedure will last approximately six months. If the child does not live with the naturalized citizen, there are two cases, the child is a permanent resident, in this situation will not change the status until he acquires 21 years and he decides to apply for naturalization, and if the child is not a permanent resident Parents can apply for the following three categories:

  • Single children under 21 years of age. Known as immediate relatives.
  • Married children of any age. Category F3.
  • Children over 21 years old. Category F1.

Finally, if you are interested in this subject we recommended you research our other blog articles.

This article is informative but not legal advice, we invite you to contact our immigration law firm through Quiroga Law Office Contact Form.