Rules for Deriving Citizenship

Rules for Deriving Citizenship

What is Derivation of Citizenship?

Derivation of citizenship applies to children who are lawful permanent residents, who are under the statutory age, and whose parent(s) naturalizes. It does not matter when each event occurs (so long as they all occur under the age of 18). The child will derive citizenship when the last event occurs. You determine which rules apply by determining the period in which the last event occurred. Stepchildren cannot derive citizenship (unless adopted).

The last event occurred On or After February 27, 2001

  • The child is a lawful permanent resident;
  • Someone becomes a lawful permanent resident when USCIS approves their I-485, OR when the applicant enters the United States with an Immigrant Visa.
  • The child is under 18 years old;
  • At least one parent is a United States Citizen (by birth or naturalization);
  • The child resides in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent.
  • The child is not married

On or After October 5, 1978-Before February 27, 2001

  • The child is a lawful permanent resident;
  • The child is under 18 years old;
  • Both parents naturalized, meaning one of the following:
  • Surviving parent if one parent dies;
  • The naturalized parent has legal custody;
  • Mother of a child born out of wedlock, so long as the child had not been ‘legitimated’ prior to the age of 16. If the child has been ‘legitimated,’ then both parents must naturalize.
  • The alien parent naturalizes if the other parent has been a citizen since the child’s birth.
  • The child is not married at the time of the naturalization.
  • Includes children adopted before the age of 16, who were residing with the naturalizing parent at the time of naturalization.

On or After December 24, 1952-Before October 5, 1978

  • The child is a lawful permanent resident;
  • The child is under 18 years old;
  • Both parents naturalized, meaning one of the following:
  • Same definition as above.
  • The child is not married at the time of naturalization.

Please note that there are additional rules for children born prior to May 24, 1934, from May 24, 1934-January 13, 1941, and from January 13, 1941-December 24, 1952.

If your child is a lawful permanent resident and you believe that your child has derived citizenship, please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy and knowledgeable! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC, have experience processing both simple and complex derivation cases. Please feel free to call us at 510-488-1020 to see how we can help!

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