How can I help my non-resident child become a U.S. citizen?

If you are an immigrant who has become a citizen of the United States, it is natural if you wonder how to make a son or daughter a citizen as well. While some families bring their children to the U.S., your child may still live in another country. If so, the U.S. government has certain requirements for your child to attain citizenship.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, both you and your child must meet standards set by the Immigration and Nationality Act. Here is a basic rundown of what the law expects of you and your offspring.

Requirements of the parent

To qualify your child, you must be physically present in either the U.S. or a possession of the country as required by law. Your son or daughter needs only one parent to be a U.S. citizen, so you should have no concerns if you have married a spouse that is not a citizen. You also need not worry if you are an adoptive parent instead of a blood relative, as the government may still qualify your child.

Requirements of the child

Your child will also need to fulfill some legal requirements for citizenship. The age of your child should be below 18 years old. Your son or daughter should also be in your custody. In the event you die before the U.S. government can fully process your citizenship application for your child, your child should not be in the custody of someone who would object to your child becoming a citizen.

The lawful admission of your child

At some point in the process, you will help your child enter the United States. This is critical since your loved one should be in the country through legal admission and maintain a legal status in order to finally acquire U.S. citizenship. Be aware of anything that might change your situation like being a member of the U.S. military. In this case, your child may become a citizen without having to come to the U.S.