In most cases, parents who are U.S. citizens can pass citizenship to their children who were born outside of the country. But this is not true in every case. If only one parent is a U.S. citizen and the child does not live in the United States, the child may not be able to automatically become a citizen. Also, if the parent has not lived in the U.S. for at least five years, two of which were after the age of 14, the child will not be eligible to acquire citizenship.
But with a little help from grandparents, the child can become eligible to apply for citizenship. As a grandparent, you can help your grandchild become a citizen if you:
- Are a U.S. citizen
- Lived in the United States for at least five years, two of which were after the age of 14
If the grandparent satisfies these two criteria, then a child of a U.S. citizen who was born outside of the country can apply for citizenship.
The typical case where this happens is when the grandparents moved from the United States many years ago. If the family left before the parent was 16 years old, the parent may not meet the residency requirements to make the grandchild eligible. But grandparents can pass on the privilege of citizenship if they meet the residency requirement.
If you want to assist your grandchild in becoming a U.S. citizen you will have to present proof of your residency in the United States. Many types of documents can prove that you lived in the U.S. for the required period. An experienced immigration lawyer can assist you in gathering the documents for a successful citizenship application.