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Obtaining U.S. Citizenship Through a Grandparent

Citizenship through grandfather

If a parent is a US citizen "at birth," but unable to "transmit" citizenship to a child because the parent  did not live in the US before the child’s birth for the required period of time, under current U.S. immigration laws, Section 322 of the ACT, the only possibility of obtaining (transmitting)  U.S. Citizenship through American grandparents is as follows:


  1. the child is under 18 , and in the legal custody of the US citizen parent; 
  2. The child’s parent is a US citizen, by either birth or naturalization.
  3. The child’s US citizen grandparent lived in the US (or US possession), for at least five years, two of which were after the grandparent’s 14th birthday.

The child must  temporarily enters the US pursuant to a lawful admission. The child does not have to be a green card holder. It is only required that the child  entered the US legally, and is still in proper status. ( a  visitor’s visa for this purpose is available.)

This  "grandparent citizenship" procedure is processed  in the United States, not at a US Embassy . It applies even if the grandparent is deceased.

Understand that this must be done before the child's 18th birthday.

N-600Ks should be filed by the U.S. citizen parent unless the parent has died within the preceding five years. In those cases, a U.S. citizen legal guardian or U.S. citizen grandparent may file the N-600KThe procedure requires the completion of a form through the USCIS and a scheduled appointment in the United States that the child must be present at.

Download, print and complete form N-600K . The form must be completed and signed by the minor's parent (not grandparent) or legal guardian in the case of a parent's death.
Compile the supporting documentation.  These are listed in the downloadable instructions on this page.    ◦   

Where to File :
Submit this application to any USCIS Field Office.
Filing Fee : $600. ($550 if filing for an adopted child, see the form instructions for full payment information.)

Special Instructions :
Please consult the "Paying Fees" section of your local office site to learn which forms of payment will be accepted. Acceptable forms of payment may vary by office. Checks should be made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Note on Filing Fees: The fee for Form N-600K is $600. Except for a person who is requesting a Certificate of Citizenship for an adopted child, (checking Part 2, Box A or C on the form), all applicants must pay the fee for filing Form N-600K, under section 322 of the INA. For U.S. citizen parents, or a U.S. citizen grandparent or U.S. citizen legal guardian filing in lieu of a deceased U.S. citizen parent, filing on behalf of an adopted minor child under section 322 of the INA (checking Part 2, Box B on the form), the fee for this is $550.

Wait for approval. The USCIS will notify you of your temporary approval, and you will be invited to schedule an interview appoint to which you (the grandparent or parent) and the child must be present.

The appointment must be conducted at a USCIS office within the United States. If everything is in order, the child will take the oath of U.S. citizenship and will be presented a certificate of citizenship.

Additional information:

The Yates Memo:

Introducing Revised Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and New Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322 ( PDF)
William R. Yates /s/ Janis Sposato HQOPS

Effect of Grandparent’s Death on Naturalization under INA Section 322 (4-17-03) (USCIS) 

Eligibility of Children Born out of Wedlock for Derivative Citizenship (9-26-03) (USCIS)

Forms & Instructions

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