Derivative Citizenship is United State citizenship that is granted to children of parents who are naturalized citizens or to children who are born in foreign countries and who are adopted by parents who are citizens of the United States. This citizenship through parents occurs automatically, meaning that the parents and the child are not required to fill out and submit a Naturalization application, take and pass a citizenship test, or file a USCIC Form N-600, the Application for Certificate of Citizenship; requirements for general Naturalization, which allows lawful permanent residents of the US (green card holders) to become US citizens. While applications are not required for Derivative Citizenship, there are intricate legalities involved and the laws have changed dramatically in recent years. Typically, in order to be eligible for Derivative Citizenship, at least one parent must be a US citizen, either by birth or by Naturalization; the child must be under the age of 18; the child must legally and physically live with the parent who is a US citizen, and the child must be a lawful permanent resident of the United States. If the child was adopted, the adoption must be finalized. Since Derivative of Citizenship happens automatically, children and their parents will not have proof of the child’s citizenship status unless an application for a citizenship certificate is filed.
The Difference Between Derivation of Citizenship and Acquisition of Citizenship
Acquisition of Citizenship is another process of citizenship for children who are born in foreign countries and have at least one parent who is a citizen of the United States. As long as children meet the legal criteria, the year they were born, they are considered citizens at birth; they do not need to have a green card when they enter the United States in order to become automatic citizens.
The Child Citizenship Act
Currently, the Child Citizenship Act (CCA) is the law that pertains to Derivation of Citizenship. The CCA became effective on February 27, 2001, and it applies to children who were born or adopted before February 28, 1983. Under the CCA, children who were born in another country and are the biological or adoptive children of at least one parent who is a legal US citizen when they enter the country as a legal permanent resident. The child must have at least one parent who is a legal US citizen, must be under 18 and unmarried, must live in the country with his or her parent who is a US citizen, and must have a green card.