There are various ways a person can prove they are a citizen of the United States. Should someone have parents who became naturalized while he/she was a child, that person may apply for a Certificate of Citizenship by filing Form N-600. There is no need to submit a full N-400 application for naturalization as submitted by people who received a status of a permanent resident when adults. Form N-600 can also be submitted if a person was born overseas, had one or both parents who were American citizens, but did not have their overseas birth properly registered prior to becoming 18 years old. An immigration lawyer can provide invaluable advice regarding this situation.
This is the form that must be completed to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. Once this is completed and approved, it will serve as evidence of a person being a citizen of the United States. A parent or legal guardian may complete Form N-600 on behalf of a minor child.
An immigration attorney can explain how a person may not need to complete Form N-600 if they have documents that prove they are a citizen of the United States. This could be a consular record of birth abroad or a U.S. passport.
Should a person receive a denial to the Form N-600, it means the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has determined they do not have a valid claim for U.S. citizenship. Should this person provide any subsequent applications, they will not be accepted. In this situation, a person needs to speak with an immigration attorney.
It's important the person is filling out Form N-600 realize they will only get one opportunity to get it right. Care needs to be taken when filling out the form to do it correctly and provide all requested documents. Should a person be denied, an appeal can be submitted using Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. This form must be filed within 30 days of the date of the denial decision by the USCIS. A person may need to consult an immigration lawyer if their parents tried to apply on their behalf when they were a child and were denied but did not file an appeal.
A divorce between a person's parents should not affect their application for a Certificate of Citizenship. This is a concern if one parent is a U.S. citizen and the other is not. Should such a person acquire U.S. citizenship prior to their parent's divorce, it is not a problem. Should the divorce occur prior to acquiring U.S. citizenship, they will need to show they resided physically and legally with the parent, who is a U.S. citizen prior, to reaching the age of 18. Should this not be the case, they will not automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.
Once a person's Form N-600 is approved, they will be issued a Certificate of Citizenship. Should they be over the age of 14, they will need to go to a USCIS office and take the Oath of Allegiance. This may not be required if the individual is less than 14 years old.