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Foreign-born children may have a right to American citizenship

Some children come to the United States without citizenship. They may actually be American, born to American parents, but not yet be confirmed as citizens.

When children are born abroad, it's normal to have to apply for citizenship. You can obtain U.S. citizenship through your parents if you're born outside the country. You must seek citizenship before the age of 18; if you don't, then you may need to take other routes to citizenship in the future.

Children who are born in another country may need to seek citizenship by filling out an applications through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Enforcement (ICE). In some cases, people may be asked to give up citizenship in the other country if dual citizenship is not allowed. Sometimes, adopted children may obtain citizenship through stepparents or new adoptive parents as well.

Normally, those who have American parents are automatically assumed to be American, but legally, the paperwork has to be in order. You'll have to apply for citizenship with Form N-600, which is the Application for a Certificate of Citizenship. You'll also need to pay the fees, which were $1,170 in 2017.

Evidence must be submitted. This might be as simple as your birth records and your parents' birth certificates to prove citizenship. Finally, submit the document and await the written notice of decision. You may be asked to come to an interview while your request is being reviewed. If the child is too young to go through the interview, the parents may be asked to attend as well.

Finally, if your application is successful, you'll receive a certificate of citizenship. Our site has more on this important process.

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