Q: Can children get U.S. citizenship through their U.S. citizen parents?

Full question: I heard that if I become a U.S. citizen before my kids turn 18 they’ll become citizens automatically. Is this true? What do I need to do?

Based on the law that is in effect at this time, if a parent becomes a U.S. citizen before his/her children turn eighteen (18), the children can acquire citizenship from that parent if:

  1. The child is a Lawful Permanent Resident (aka has a green card),
  2. The child is living in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen

Once the parent becomes a U.S. citizen, s/he can simply apply for a U.S. passport for the children before they turn 18. However, since U.S. passports expire every ten years, the parent should also consider obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship for the children, just in case.  

There are other situations in which children might gain U.S. citizenship through their parents. If you have questions about citizenship, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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