If you are the parent of young children or teenagers, you may be concerned about their status as U.S. citizens as you complete the naturalization process. To become U.S. citizens, children must have U.S. citizen parents.
According to the USCIS, children do not have to be born in the U.S. to obtain citizenship and do not have to go through the same process as their adult parents.
What constitutes a child under the law?
Children born outside of the U.S. must have at least one parent who became a U.S. citizen while the children are under 18. Kids must also live in the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. If your children live in another country and you do not have physical or legal custody, they do not become a citizen if you become naturalized.
Children who live abroad may pursue naturalization if the children have biological grandparents who live as U.S. citizens or if a U.S. citizen stepparent adopts them despite their location.
How do children become citizens?
After going through the naturalization process, your children should become citizens automatically. Your children do not have to go through the same method you did or apply for naturalization. However, your kids can apply for a Certificate of Citizenship. To apply for the certificate, you have to provide all of the documentation to prove that your children live with you, are under 18 and that you are a U.S. citizen.
Regarding citizenship and naturalization, ensuring that your children have lawful status is essential but not as complex as you may think.