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The Child Citizenship Act

Transcript of the above video:

This video will discuss briefly the Child Citizenship Act. In another video on this channel, we discuss CRBAs also known as Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and for those who are interested in obtaining nationality for a US citizen child born overseas I strongly recommend that you view that video and also check the United States Embassy website in whatever jurisdiction you happen to be in.  Check out the United States Embassy website regarding Consular Reports of Birth Abroad as there's even more information on these matters contained in both those locations.

With respect to the Child Citizenship Act, the Child Citizenship Act could come up in the context of Consular report of birth abroad specifically in the case of a denial of the CRBA.  So in a situation where a Consular Report of Birth Abroad is denied by a US Embassy or Consular Officer of a US Embassy overseas, generally this will happen in those situations where the United States citizen cannot pass along the nationality automatically to a child when abroad due to the fact that that United States citizen has not spent the requisite amount of time in the United States prior to having that child or prior to that child being born I should say. So in the event off a CRBA  denial, the Child Citizenship Act may come up as a result of the fact that a United States citizen can petition for immigration benefits for a child born overseas and basically get that child a "green card", lawful permanent residence visa to the United States the IR-1, “Immediate Relative”. The immediate relative being this young child can then travel to the United States with the American citizen and upon entering into the United States, if that child enters the United States with immigrant visa status, IR-1 status, in the company of their United States citizen spouse, as soon as they are stamped into the United States and lawfully admitted into the United States by the United States Customs and Border Protection, that child becomes what's called a United States citizen by operation of law pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act; a statute which was enacted in 2001. Sort of a brief history as to why the Act exists. There was an interesting situation prior to the Act coming about which have to do with the fact that you had to various United States lawful permanent residents, in most cases they were stepchildren of Americans, in some cases step-children of American citizens, or simply naturalized American citizens had children who had yet to naturalize. So there were these situations where an American citizen could be caught abroad with their United States lawful permanent residence child and  that person may have been abroad for an extended  period of time which could have caused a presumption that the child’s lawful permanent residence had fallen away. In those situations, it led to a really weird situation where a naturalized citizen had to deal with the lawful permanent residence of their child perhaps being in doubt. Basically Congress got together and decided to sort of remedy this issue by creating the Child Citizenship Act and creating a statutory scheme whereby the lawful permanent resident child of an American citizen, upon being admitted lawfully by Customs and Border Protection, became a United States citizen by “Operation of Law”; statutorily.  Such individuals do not actually obtain a naturalization certificate nor, like most US citizens who are born in the United States, is their citizenship derived from their birth in the United States, specifically under the 14th Amendment or the older notions of citizenship which were in effect prior to the promulgation of the 14th Amendment. These children that come in under the child citizenship act, again by “Operation of Law”, they’re not issued a naturalization certificate and they don’t have an American birth certificate, nor do they have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, they actually have what is called a Certificate of Citizenship which is sort of a different document. Again, initially I think it was created to deal with, this statutory scheme was created to deal with a large number of situations that are kind of anomalies in the US Immigration system. They don’t come around every day but they can cause serious consternation for those who get sort of caught up in this legal web as it were. So they created the Child Citizenship Act and the Child Citizenship Act basically stipulates that, “if you enter prior to your 18th birthday in immigrant visa status with your US citizen parent, you become a United States citizen by operation of law”. So it was sort of “catch all” way of picking up those children who, by no fault of their own, because they couldn’t, they are not legally of the age of majority yet, by no fault of their own had ended up in this sort of nebulous nationality situation. So the Child Citizenship Act can sometimes come into play with respect to matters of Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, more specifically the denial thereof.