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Can I get passports for my children if they are not U.S. citizens but I am?

by Veronica
(Bronx, New York)

Question: I am their mother and a U.S. citizen. The kids were born in Canada. Can I still apply for a passport for them?


Answer: First of all, United States passports are only issued to U.S. citizens. You cannot apply for U.S. passports for your children if they are not American citizens.

If you are a U.S. citizen, then it is possible that they either acquired citizenship at birth or are eligible to acquire United States citizenship. Since I do not have more details concerning your situation, I will provide a list of the various possibilities.

A child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen when all of the following conditions have been met under section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Child Citizenship Act (CCA):

* At least one parent of the child is a U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization.
* The child is under the age of 18 years.
* The child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent based on a lawful admission for permanent residence.
* An adopted child may automatically become a citizen under section 320 of the INA if the child satisfies the requirements applicable to adopted children under sections 101(b)(1)(E), (F) or (G) of the INA. See the “INA” link to the right.

A person who satisfies the requirements of section 320 of the INA before turning 18 automatically obtains citizenship without having to file an application. However, in order to obtain a certificate of citizenship from USCIS, an individual must file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.

Birth Abroad to Two U.S. Citizen Parents in Wedlock

A child born abroad to two U.S. citizen parents acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provided that one of the parents had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth. The child is considered to be born in wedlock if the child is the genetic issue of the married couple.

Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock

A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the INA provided the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child's birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen, is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen, is required for physical presence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.) The U.S. citizen parent must be genetically related to the child to transmit U.S. citizenship.

Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Mother:

A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 309(c) of the INA if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and if the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person’s birth. The mother must be genetically related to the person in order to transmit U.S. citizenship.

For information on getting a passport for a minor, click the link below.

Child Passport Requirements

Sources:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Department of State

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