In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® answers the question of a reader who wishes to obtain U.S. citizenship after her father naturalized.
Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.
This is the column:
My father became a naturalized U.S. citizen when I was about 15 years old. At that time I was already a permanent resident of the United States and lived with my father. Now I am 22 years old and I want to apply for my citizenship, what steps do I have to take to get it? -Laura V.
Laura, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship automatically when your father became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Immigration law allows an unmarried child under the age of 18 of a permanent resident to acquire citizenship automatically when his or her parent naturalizes.
The child must meet several requirements, including being a permanent resident of the United States and living in the legal custody of the parent at the time he or she naturalized. Based on what you write, you may qualify for automatic U.S. citizenship.
You have two options for obtaining evidence of your U.S. citizenship. The first is apply for a U.S. passport at your local post office. You will need to submit several documents to the U.S. Department of State, including an application for a U.S. passport, your father's original naturalization certificate, your birth certificate with an English translation, your permanent resident card, and evidence that you lived with your father when he naturalized.
The second option is to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship. You will need to present several documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, including the Form N-600, Application for a Certificate of CitizenshipYou will need to submit a copy of your father's naturalization certificate, your birth certificate with an English translation, and your permanent resident card, and evidence that you were living with your father when he naturalized.
You are not required to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. However, it is recommended that you obtain one if you do not plan to obtain a U.S. passport and/or plan to apply for certain benefits in the future, including Social Security, financial aid for college and employment, as a Certificate of Citizenship may be required to verify your U.S. citizenship.