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A Certificate of U.S. Citizenship can be obtained from US Citizenship and Immigration Services provided that the applicant is eligible. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, the requirements for a Certificate of U.S. Citizenship are the following:

(1) The child has at least one United States citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);

(2) The United States citizen parent has been physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for at least 5 years, at least 2 of which were after the age of 14, or the United States citizen parent has a United States citizen parent who has been physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for at least 5 years, at least 2 of which were after the age of 14;

(3) The child currently is under 18 years of age;

(4) The child currently is residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parent; and

(5) The child is temporarily present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission and is maintaining such lawful status in the United States.

There are additional requirements for children who were adopted and certain exceptions for children of military personnel. One of the most common questions are in regards to the supporting evidence. A general list of required supporting evidence includes:

(i) The child’s birth certificate or record;

(ii) Marriage certificate of child’s parents (if applicable);

(iii) If the child’s parents were married before their marriage to each other, proof of termination of any previous marriage of each parent (e.g., death certificate or divorce decree);

(iv) Evidence of U.S. citizenship of parent (i.e., birth certificate; naturalization certificate; FS-240, Report of Birth Abroad; a valid unexpired U.S. passport; or certificate of citizenship);

(v) If the child was born out of wedlock, documents verifying legitimation according to the laws of the child’s residence or domicile or father’s residence or domicile (if applicable);

(vi) In case of divorce, legal separation, or adoption, documentation of legal custody (if applicable);

(vii) Documentation establishing that the U.S. citizen parent or U.S. citizen grandparent meets the required physical presence requirements (e.g., school records, military records, utility bills, medical records, deeds, mortgages, contracts, insurance policies, receipts, or attestations by churches, unions, or other organizations);

(viii) Evidence that the child is present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission and is maintaining such lawful status, or evidence establishing that the child qualifies for an exception to these requirements as provided in 8 CFR 322.2(c) pursuant to section 322(d) of the Act. Such evidence may be presented at the time of interview when appropriate;

(ix) If adopted, a copy of a full, final adoption decree;

(x) For adopted children (not orphans) applying under section 322 of the Act, evidence that they satisfy the requirements of section 101(b)(1)(E);

(xi) For adopted orphans applying under section 322 of the Act, a copy of notice of approval of the orphan petition and supporting documentation for such petition (except the home study) or evidence that the child has been admitted for lawful permanent residence in the United States with the immigrant classification of IR-3 (Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen) or IR-4 (Orphan to be adopted by a U.S. citizen);

(xii) For a Hague Convention adoptee applying under section 322 of the Act, a copy of the notice of approval of the Convention adoptee petition and its supporting documentation, or evidence that the child has been admitted for lawful permanent residence in the United States with the immigrant classification of IH-3 (Hague Convention Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen) or IH-4 (Hague Convention Orphan to be adopted by a U.S. citizen); and

(xiii) Evidence of all legal name changes, if applicable, for the child, U.S. citizen parent, U.S. citizen grandparent, or U.S. citizen legal guardian.

In the event that the application is denied, USCIS will not process a refiled application. However, the applicant may file a motion to reopen or reconsider, or pursuant an alternative route to naturalization.

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