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Immigration Law Blog

Exploring the ins and outs of immigration.

Giving Your Child U.S. Citizenship: The N-600K Process

child citizenship


In today’s blog post, we will cover the N-600K application process. This is a great immigration benefit available to some children that leads to U.S. citizenship. It can help children who were born overseas but do not meet the requirements for automatic U.S. citizenship. Read on to learn how to help your child become a U.S. citizen.

Background

U.S. law generally says that someone is a U.S. citizen through right of birthplace or through blood (“parents”). The N-600K process applies to a child who will claim U.S. citizenship through their parent. One tricky thing to understand is that there is more than one way to claim U.S. citizenship through a parent. The N-600K is special because it helps children who would otherwise have to first apply for a green card and then become citizens. The N-600K lets children and their parents skip this step.

Parents should not use the N-600K process if their child became a citizen at birth. The correct form for those children is N-600. You can read more about that process here. Also, it should not be used if their child already has a green card or if you plan to apply for a green card. If you are not clear on the differences between the N-600K and the N-600 applications, please talk to an attorney, The filing fees for these forms are above $1000. If you chose the wrong form, you do not get your money back.

One other factor to consider is where parent and child intend to live. The benefit of the N-600K application is that you and your child are not required to live in the U.S. after approval. Once your child has their U.S. citizenship, you are both are free to return to your home aboard. When you apply for a green card for your child, you have to show you intend to live in the U.S.

How to Apply

Before we cover the requirements, there is one main point that needs to be true. Otherwise, the N-600K will be denied. This point is that you (the parent) and  your child must be living outside of the U.S. If you live in the U.S. with your child, this is not the application for you. If you live outside the U.S. and can prove that you have the legal and physical custody of your child, then the following must also be true:

  • First, one parent of the child has to be a U.S. citizen. If the parent is a U.S. citizen but does not meet the physical presence requirements discussed below, a U.S. citizen grandparent can be used as a substitute. If the child’s U.S. citizen parent is dead, a U.S. citizen grandparent can also file an N-600K.
  • Next, the parent has to have physically been in the U.S. or its outlying possessions for at least 5 years (and 2 of those years have to be after turning 14).
  • Third, the child must be under 18.
  • Lastly, your child will need to have a way to enter the U.S. legally to attend the N-600K interview. This is usually done through applying for a B2 visitor visa. This can be tricky and the procedure seems to vary from consulate to consulate.

Once you have gathered all the required documents to prove these points, the N-600K application is available for download here. Do not forget to include the required filing fee and use the correct address.

Additional Tips

There are few common issues we see with these types of cases so we’ve assembled the following tips:

  • The legal definition of “child” also includes certain adopted children (but not step-children). There are also some positive developments that allow some children born through artificial reproductive technology (ART) to be eligible for the N-600K process.  However, adopted children and children born through ART are slightly complicated cases. We strongly recommend speaking with an attorney before filing any application for these children.
  • If your child was born out of wedlock, you have to prove they were “legitimated” under the birth country’s laws.
  • If you (the parent) are in the military, there are some exceptions to the general requirements. You can read about them here.
  • When it comes to the 5 years of physical presence, parents can count time in the U.S. even before they became citizens.
  • If your child is close to turning 18, there are ways to ask for the application to be expedited. Even if you file the N-600K before your child turns 18, it will not be approved if your child turns 18 while you are waiting for a decision.
  • Be prepared to make a trip to the U.S. with your child. There is an interview that is required (even if you have a young child). The N-600K application allows you to select a preferred USCIS interview location. Unfortunately, USCIS does not post their normal processing times for these types of cases.
  • Once the N-600K is approved and your child has their new citizenship certificate, apply for a U.S. passport for them.

USCIS also created a handy tip sheet which you can find here.

Conclusion 

If you are like most parents, you want to give your child every opportunity possible. For some children, that means benefiting from your U.S. citizenship. If you think your child may be eligible for U.S. citizenship but want to be sure, we invite you to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. You can provide us your contact information through the following contact form: