Green Card Petitions (Lawful Permanent Residence Status)
If you or anyone related to you are not a citizen of the United States, you may need to consult an immigration attorney. Here are some things to keep in mind, whether or not you decide to speak with an immigration attorney. First, anyone who is born in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands is a citizen of the United States.
Children born outside of the United States to U.S. citizen parents acquire citizenship automatically
Automatic citizenship is very important for many people born outside of the U.S. because if at the time of their birth, the father is in the United States, that child is a United States citizen and may not even know their status.
Children born outside of the United States to U.S. citizen parents need to either apply for certification of citizenship at the U.S. embassy in the country of their birth and provide proof of their parent’s U.S. citizenship. Once they have their certificate of citizenship, they should apply for a U.S. passport, which they can also do at the U.S. embassy wherever they are currently located. Documents are necessary to prove the parent’s citizenship (i.e., the parent’s birth certificate, if that parent is a U.S. citizen by birth, or naturalization certificate, or a passport, will do.
Other helpful documents
Other helpful documents include the child’s birth certificate and proof of the relationship between the parents before conception. Marriage between the parents at the time of birth is helpful, but it is not necessary that the parents be married at the time of birth.
Avoid the trauma of immigration removal proceedings or the deportation process
Most people in such circumstances only find out about their U.S. citizenship when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to remove or deport them from the United States, but no one needs to go through the trauma of immigration removal proceedings or the deportation process before they are confirmed to be United States citizens. By then, you may have missed out on too many rights and privileges of your citizenship.
The same is true for individuals who were children (under 18 years old) when their parents naturalized as United States citizens. If your parents became U.S. citizens when you were a minor (i.e., a child), you became a citizen the same day your parent(s) naturalized. You may want to apply for a certificate of citizenship for your child. Or if you are an adult and know that your parent became a citizen when you were a minor child, it will benefit you to consult with an immigration law attorney for advice about your citizenship rights and privileges.
If you need legal immigration advice, call our firm at (860) 218-2122 to schedule a consult.