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Definition of child and residence for citizenship

“Even though your child was born outside the U.S.,
It might be possible for your child to automatically apply for a U.S. Passport.”

— Brian D. Lerner

General Requirements under the CCA or Child Citizenship Act


  1. The child has at least one United States citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);

    Note that the parent could have been born outside the U.S.

  2. The child is under 18 years of age;

    This will not work if the child is not a child.

  3. The child is currently residing permanently in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parent;

    If the child is attempting this through a parent he or she had no contact, it will not work.

  4. The child is a lawful permanent resident;

    Child must have a Green Card

  5. An adopted child meets the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law

    This entire law will apply to adopted children

  6. Acquiring citizenship automatically means citizenship acquired by law without the need to apply for citizenship. Firstly, a child who is currently under the age of 18 and has already met all of the above requirements will acquire citizenship automatically on February 27, 2001.
    Otherwise, a child will acquire citizenship automatically on the date the child meets all of the above requirements

    This means the moment it occurs, the child can get a U.S. Passport or Certificate of Citizenship


Beginning February 27, 2001, certain foreign-born children—including adopted children—currently residing permanently in the United States will acquire citizenship automatically.
Firstly, the term “child” is defined differently under immigration law for purposes of naturalization than for other immigration purposes, including adoption.
To be eligible, a child must meet the definition of “child” for naturalization purposes under immigration law 

US citizenship

On October 30, 2000, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 2883, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
More ever, the new law permits foreign-born children—including adopted children —to acquire citizenship automatically if they meet certain requirements.
It becomes effective on February 27, 2001.
This is citizenship immigration, not naturalization.

Retroactivity of the Child Citizenship Act

child citizenship

Is the Law Retroactive? Is Automatic Citizenship Provided for Those Who Are 18 Years of Age or Older?No.
The new law is not retroactive.
Individuals who are 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under this law, even if they meet all other criteria.
Moreover, if they choose to become U.S. citizens, they must apply for naturalization and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful permanent residents.


Will Eligible Children Automatically Receive Proof of Citizenship—Such As Citizenship Certificates and Passports?
No. Proof of citizenship will not be automatically issued to eligible children.
However, if proof of citizenship is desired, beginning February 27, 2001, parents of children who meet the conditions of the new law may apply for a certificate of citizenship for their child with INS and/or for a passport for their child with the Department of State.

Your child will be a green card Holder for only moments before becoming a U.S. citizen

Citizenship is Automatic for qualifying Children

citizenship for children

THE CCA is a great piece of Immigration Law helping children become U.S. Citizens

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