If a biological or adopted unmarried child of a U.S. citizen under the age of 18 did not acquire U.S. citizenship at birth and lives abroad, then the child may be eligible for the naturalization process under Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) using the form N-600K Section 322 Citizenship and Certification Statement.
Under this law, there are exceptions to several naturalization requirements for a child who was born in another country and did not become an American at birth, but meets the following requirements:
• The child is unmarried and under 18 years of age.
• At least one parent is a US citizen, or the parent was a US citizen at the time of death.
• The child must be in the physical custody of a US citizen parent (or, if the citizen parent is deceased, the child must be in the custody of a person who does not object to the application).
• The child is temporarily in the US and must be legally admitted and maintain their legal status in order to apply for naturalization.
• The American parent was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of fourteen. If the US citizen parent does not meet the physical presence requirements, the applicant may rely on the physical presence of the US citizen grandparents.
• If a child is born to unmarried parents at the time of birth, then the child must be “legitimized” before the age of 16 and while in the legal custody of the legal parent to be eligible.
This section 322 naturalization process does not apply to adopted children, adopted children must complete all of the normal requirements for green card holders before being eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
To obtain citizenship under section 322, an application must be made, approved, and the child must take an oath of allegiance, if required, before the child reaches the age of 18. See the N-600K Application Instructions for more information.
• Download Section 322 Citizenship Application and Certificate Form N-600K: https://www.usaimmigrationforms.org/n-600k