Who Can file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship?

The N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship is for the following people:

  1. You were born outside of the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent, and you acquired US citizenship at birth (called acquisition of citizenship); OR
  2. You automatically became a citizen of the U.S., after birth, but before you turned 18 years of age (called derivation of citizenship).

The person who became a citizen can file Form N-600, or a parent or legal guardian can file Form N-600 for a minor child.

You can file the N-600 online. Typically, you must live in the U.S. to file Form N-600.

  1. Who qualifies as a child of a U.S. Citizen parent?
  • A Biological child of a U.S. parent;
  • The adopted child of a U.S. citizen parent;
  • Child of a gestational U.S. citizen parent (parent carried you and gave birth to you, but is not your genetic parent), who is your ‘legal’ parent.
  • The child of a U.S. citizen parent who was married to your gestational parent, and both parents are your ‘legal’ parents.

Citizenship laws are complex and have changed over the years.  Whether you automatically became a US citizen at birth will depend on the law in effect on the date of your birth. Additionally, different rules apply if your parents were married, or unmarried, and whether your US citizen parent was your mother or father.

  1. Who Automatically became a US Citizen after birth, but before they turned 18?

Derivation of Citizenship is an extremely complicated area of immigration law.  The law that applies to you is the law in effect when the last qualifying condition was met. The qualifying conditions are as follows, and must all have been met before you turned 18 years old:

  • Your parent is a U.S. citizen;
  • You have established a requisite parent-child relationship (see #1 above);
  • You were a lawful permanent resident of the United States; AND
  • You are living in the United States in the legal and physical custody of your U.S. citizen parent.

If you became a US citizen at birth, or after birth but before you turned 18 then you are already a citizen.  Filing N-600 is not a request to become a citizen, nor does not make you a citizen, it’s simply a document to prove that you are a citizen (like a passport), and when you became a citizen.

You can file Form N-600 at any time, even after you have already turned 18, so long as you met all the requirements prior to turning 18.  This includes if you acquired your US citizenship at birth.

Do not file Form N-600 if:

If you are currently living abroad, typically you should not file Form N-600.  Instead, you can file for:

  • A Consular Report of Birth Abroad; or
  • A US Passport.

If you think that your child acquired or 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 acquisition and derivation cases. Please feel free to call us at 510-488-1020 to see how we can help!