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Child Citizenship Act Program

The USCIS has reengineered its processing in order to streamline the production of Certificates of Citizenship for certain children adopted abroad.

Streamlined processes have been developed for newly entering IR-3 children who are automatically U.S. Citizens when they arrive.

These newly entering IR-3 children will receive Certificates of Citizenship within 45 days of their arrival instead of receiving a Permanent Resident Card and then filing the

N-600 for a Certificate. (Please see our Fact Sheet for additional information)

The Child Citizenship Act, which became effective on February 27, 2001,amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to provide U.S. citizenship to certain foreign-born children-including adopted children-of U.S. citizens. Specifically, these children include:

  • Orphans with a full and final adoption abroad or adoption finalized in the U.S.,
  • Biological or legitimated children,
  • Certain children born out of wedlock to a mother who naturalizes, and
  • Adopted children meeting the two-year custody requirement.

This legislation represents a significant and important change in the nationality laws of the United States. The changes made by the CCA authorize the automatic acquisition of citizenship and permanently protect the adopted children of U.S. citizens from deportation.

In general, children who are younger than 18 years of age and have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen whether by birth or naturalization will benefit from this new law. Under the CCA, qualifying children who immigrate to the United States with a U.S. citizen parent automatically acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry; children who live abroad acquire citizenship on approval of an application and the taking of the oath of allegiance.

Frequently Asked Questions about the CCA

1) Does my child qualify for automatic citizenship under the CCA?

Under CCA, your child will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship on the date that all of the following requirements are satisfied:

  • At least one adoptive parent is a U.S. citizen,
  • The child is under 18 years of age,
  • If the child is adopted, a full and final adoption of the child, and
  • The child is admitted to the United States as an immigrant

2) Do I have to apply to USCIS for my child's citizenship?

No. If your child satisfies the requirements listed above, he or she automatically acquires U.S. citizenship by operation of law on the day he or she is admitted to the United States as an immigrant. Your child’s citizenship status is no longer dependent on USCIS approving a naturalization application.

3) What documentation can I get of my child's citizenship?

If your child permanently resides in the U.S, you can obtain evidence of your child’s citizenship by applying for a Certificate of Citizenship. You will need to file form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship) and submit it to the local USCIS District Office or Sub-Office that holds jurisdiction over your permanent residence. You can also apply for a U.S. passport from the Department of State.

If your child permanently resides abroad, your child does not qualify for automatic citizenship under the CCA. However, you can apply for citizenship for your child by filing form N-600K (Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322). You can submit this form to any USCIS District Office or Sub-Office in the United States.

4) Will USCIS automatically provide me with documentation of my child's citizenship?

At the present time, USCIS is not able to automatically provide most parents with documentation of their foreign-born child’s citizenship. However, USCIS has implemented a streamlined process for newly entering IR-3 children and their families that will ensure they receive a Certificate of Citizenship within 45 days of entering the United States. Additionally, USCIS has implemented procedures to expedite processing of pending N-643 cases. If you previously filed an N-643 application and have not received your child’s Certificate of Citizenship please contact the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. Please have the following information when you call: your child’s A-number and the location and date you filed the application.

5) What forms do I file and what are the fees?

If your child permanently resides in the U.S., you can apply for evidence of citizenship by filing form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship). If you are filing on behalf of an adopted minor child, the fee is $215 (all other applicants must pay $255).

If your child permanently resides abroad, you can apply for citizenship by filing form N-600K (Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322). If you are filing on behalf of an adopted minor child, the fee is $215 (all other applicants must pay $255).

6) Where should I file the forms?

If your child permanently resides in the U.S., you can file form N-600 (Application for Certificate of Citizenship) at the USCIS District Office or Sub-Office that that holds jurisdiction over your permanent residence.

If your child permanently resides abroad, you can apply for citizenship by filing form N-600K (Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322) at any USCIS District Office or Sub-Office in the United States. You and your child will need to travel to the United States to complete the application process

7) Is automatic citizenship provided for those who are 18 years of age or older?

No. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under the CCA, even if they meet all other criteria. If they wish to become U.S. citizens, they must apply for naturalization and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful permanent residents.

8) Will USCIS publish regulations on the CCA procedures?

The USCIS published interim regulations specific to the CCA in the Federal Register on June 13, 2001. The USCIS is reviewing comments received from individuals and organizations and is in the process of drafting the final regulation.

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