Law Offices of Jan Joseph Bejar A P.L.C.
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Citizenship and naturalization: What is derived citizenship?

Children of naturalized citizens may be granted automatic citizenship in the United States. This is known as derived citizenship. California residents who believe this applies to them may seek the assistance of an attorney with experience in citizenship and naturalization for the purpose of securing this status change. Of course, certain rules do apply.

When a permanent resident achieves citizenship, his or her children may be granted automatic citizenship as well if they meet all the necessary qualifications. These include that a child must have been under the age of 18 as of Feb. 2001 and that he or she was also a permanent resident at the time. To claim derived citizenship specifically through one's mother, a child must have been born out of wedlock, a child's parent's must be divorced or the father must be deceased at the time the mother is naturalized.

If parents are married, and a child is still under the age of 18 as of Feb. 2001, he or she may still be granted citizenship if at least one parent becomes naturalized. In this type of situation, there must be proof that the child resides in the United States and that the citizen parent has legal and physical custody. Whether filing for citizenship through one's mother or both parents, proof must be obtained to show that one meets all the necessary qualifications.

Citizenship and naturalization rules can be confusing, and obtaining proof that one qualifies for derived citizenship may not always be easy. However, it is worth the effort. An experienced immigrantion attorney can help individuals in California who believe that they qualify for derived citizenship obtain the appropriate documents needed to apply for and receive their citizenship certificates.

Source: New York Daily News, "Permanent residents who derive U.S. citizenship from parent's naturalization must get proof", Allan Wernick, Feb. 23, 2016

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