The Child Citizenship Act of 2000

December 1, 2000

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000
On October 30, 2000, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 2883, the Child Citizenship
Act of 2000. The new law, Public Law 106-395, amends the Immigration and Nationality
Act (INA) to permit foreign-born children—including adopted children —to acquire
citizenship automatically if they meet certain requirements. It becomes effective on
February 27, 2001.
To implement the new law, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is currently
drafting interim regulations, which will be published in the Federal Register before the
law’s effective date.

Which Children Automatically Become Citizens Under the New Law?
Beginning February 27, 2001, certain foreign-born children—including adopted
children—currently residing permanently in the United States will acquire citizenship
automatically. The term “child” is defined differently under immigration law for purposes
of naturalization than for other immigration purposes, including adoption. To be eligible,
a child must meet the definition of “child” for naturalization purposes under immigration
law and must also meet the following requirements:

ƒ The child has at least one United States citizen parent (by birth or
naturalization);
ƒ The child is under 18 years of age;
ƒ The child is currently residing permanently in the United States in the legal
and physical custody of the United States citizen parent;
ƒ The child is a lawful permanent resident;
ƒ An adopted child meets the requirements applicable to adopted children under
immigration law.

Acquiring citizenship automatically means citizenship acquired by law without the need
to apply for citizenship. A child who is currently under the age of 18 and has already met
all of the above requirements will acquire citizenship automatically on February 27,
2001. Otherwise, a child will acquire citizenship automatically on the date the child
meets all of the above requirements.

Is the Law Retroactive? Is Automatic Citizenship Provided for Those Who Are 18
Years of Age or Older?
No. The new law is not retroactive. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older on
February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under Public Law 106-395, even if they
meet all other criteria. If they choose to become U.S. citizens, they must apply for
naturalization and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful
permanent residents.

Will Eligible Children Automatically Receive Proof of Citizenship—Such As
Citizenship Certificates and Passports?
No. Proof of citizenship will not be automatically issued to eligible children. However, if
proof of citizenship is desired, beginning February 27, 2001, parents of children who
meet the conditions of the new law may apply for a certificate of citizenship for their
child with INS and/or for a passport for their child with the Department of State.

What Will INS Do With Currently Pending Applications for Certificates of
Citizenship?
For pending applications filed to recognize citizenship status already acquired, INS will
continue to adjudicate such applications under the relevant law applicable to the case. For
applications that required INS approval before an individual could be deemed a U.S.
citizen, INS will adjudicate those cases under current law until February 27, 2001. On
February 27, 2001, INS will adjudicate those cases under the new law and for applicants
who automatically acquire citizenship as of the effective date, INS will issue certificates
of citizenship reflecting the person’s citizenship as of that date.

Is Automatic Citizenship Provided for Children (Including Adopted Children) Born
and Residing Outside the United States?
No. In order for a child born and residing outside the United States to acquire citizenship,
the United States citizen parent must apply for naturalization on behalf of the child. The
naturalization process for such a child cannot take place overseas. The child will need to
be in the United States temporarily to complete naturalization processing and take the
oath of allegiance.
To be eligible, a child must meet the definition of “child” for naturalization purposes
under immigration law, and must also meet the following requirements:

ƒ The child has at least one U.S. citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);
ƒ The U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the United States for at
least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14—or the United
States citizen parent has a citizen parent who has been physically present in
the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the
age of 14;
ƒ The child is under 18 years of age;
ƒ The child is residing outside the United States in the legal and physical
custody of the United States citizen parent;
ƒ The child is temporarily present in the United States—having entered the
United States lawfully and maintaining lawful status in the United States;
ƒ An adopted child meets the requirements applicable to adopted children under
immigration law4;
ƒ If the naturalization application is approved, the child must take the same oath
of allegiance administered to adult naturalization applicants. If the child is too
young to understand the oath, INS may waive the oath requirement.

For full FACT sheet visit here.

The new bill: HR5233

BILL

1. H.R.5233 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)To provide for automatic acquisition of United States citizenship for certain internationally adopted individuals, and for other purposes.Sponsor: Rep. Smith, Adam [D-WA-9] (Introduced 03/08/2018) Cosponsors: (5)Committees: House – Judiciary