When a child under the age of 18 comes to the United States, he or she may automatically become a United States citizen when both parents become citizens. However, for those who were 18 prior to February 2001, they may become citizens if their only naturalized parent was their mother or their other parent was deceased. In the event that a child's parents got divorced, a child could be automatically naturalized if the parent with legal custody becomes naturalized.
However, depending on when the child is born, it may also be possible that he or she could become a citizen if even one parent was born or naturalized in the United States. In addition, the child would have to become a permanent resident prior to turning 18 and cannot be married. The law does not specify whether permanent residency or the parent's naturalization comes first as long as both criteria are satisfied.
Those who are looking to prove that they are in the United States legally as citizens may wish to apply for a United States passport. It may also be possible to verify citizenship by obtaining Form N-600, which is a certificate of citizenship. That form may be obtained through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Anyone who is looking to become a U.S. citizen can do so if they meet the residency and other requirements. To make it easier to complete the process, it may be worthwhile to talk to an immigration and naturalization attorney. An attorney may be able to review the case and answer any questions that an individual may have. For those who don't speak English or speak it well, an attorney may act as a helpful liaison while filling out paperwork or while conducting interviews with government officials.