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N-600 or N-400? What do I file to obtain citizenship.

Discussion in 'US Citizenship' started by TNM99, May 21, 2007.

  1. TNM99

    TNM99 Registered Users (C)

    I'm a permanent resident who immigrated to the US at age 6. Both my parents became US citizens in my teens before 2001 and 18th B-day. I am now in my 30s. I've been a permanent resident for over 20 years and am ready to become a citizen.

    I've spoke to USCIS customer representatives (on the phone) who insist that I file a N-400. OTOH some immigration experts state that I can tag onto my parents' citizenship so I should file a N-600 (I believe a simpler, less expensive and time-consuming process). What should I do (file a N-600 or N-400)?

    Please help me! Thanks in advance!
  2. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)

    Please, help us help you. You'll probably need to be more specific about what was your age when your parents naturalized (became U.S. citizens). I can guess that if you're in your thirties, and they naturalized before your 18 birthday, that they naturalized well before the year 2000. I haven't checked the child citizenship act now, but if my memory serves me well it was not retroactive, so it is likely that you need to naturalize using N-400, and you're not a U.S. citizen yet.

    PS: I checked the child citizenship act of 2000 and my interpretation is that it is not retroactive, i.e. if you were 18 or older on February 27, 2001, which according to your information you were, you didn't derive citizenship through this act. I don't know if there is any other law that might have applied to your case.

    In some places N-600 is more time consuming than N-400, anyway, the most important consideration is to use the appropriate form for your case.
  3. Flydog

    Flydog Registered Users (C)

    Huracan is right, it all depends on when your parents naturalized and what age you were on the day the Child Citizenship Act came into force.

    If you were under 18, had a green card, and at least one of your parents was a US Citizen (and you resided with that parent) anytime after the Act came into force, you are a US citizen. The easiest route to prove your citizenship is to apply for a passport (you will need your parent's naturalization certificate).

    You can also submit an N-600 - but I'd recommend doing that after you get the passport, it is a slower process. If you get the passport first, slow really doesn't matter.

    If you didn't meet all the qualifications, you are not a citizen, and going the N-400 route is the right thing to do.
  4. Fresno

    Fresno Registered Users (C)

    No you can not file N-600. Only the children under 18 can file it. As you are over 18, even though your parents are US citizens you should file N-400.
  5. 1caliN400

    1caliN400 Registered Users (C)

    That's not entirely accurate. If an applicant is over 18, but was under 18, living with naturalized parent, admitted as lawful permanent resident and was under 18 as for February 18, 2001, that applicant may still file an N600 and receive a certificate of citizenship.

    Being over 18 does not disqualify a potential applicant as long as the applicant was under 18 and would have qualified otherwise.

    However, as to the OP's question, I'd imagine you can't file the N600 because you were not under 18 as of Feb 18, 2001.

    One thing you could consider trying is taking your parents' naturalization certificate along with your birth certificate to apply for a US passport and see what happens. If you get a passport, you're good to go. If not, you can file the N400.
  6. TNM99

    TNM99 Registered Users (C)

    N600 or N400?

    Thanks for all your helpful responses! I'm new here and it's such a relief to receive expert advice going through this complicated process. Thanks so much for your time.

    To be more specific, I am 34 years old now. Both my parents became citizens when I was 14-16 years old (I'm not sure of the exact year). I was obviously over 18 years old on February 2001. I've actually read the N600 filing instructions, and I thought was I fell under this condition:

    You may file for a certificate of citizenship if all of the following actions occurred before your 18th birthday and prior to February 27, 2001:

    1) You regularly resided in US after admission as a lawful permanent resident; and
    2) Both of your parents....naturalized as US citizens.

    I'm not sure if I've read this properly, but it does seem that I can file under N600, or does it? Both filings have it's plus and minuses. I think the N600 is more complicated in terms of documentation you need and N400 is much more simpler--I've already completed the paperwork--all I have to do is mail it. So I don't have a preference of filing one or the other. Although I've heard that it only takes 45 days to receive your citizenship papers with an N600, which is a definite plus but if I don't fulfill the conditions then so I be it; I wouldn't mind filing the N400.

    Interesting, 1 caliN400. I suppose I will try to get the US passport on my own. Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2007
  7. 1caliN400

    1caliN400 Registered Users (C)


    You read the conditions correctly, but you seemed to have missed one of the conditions listed on the N600.

    Read the bottom of the left hand column on the first page of the instructions. It has several condtions followed by:

    "...and you were under the age of 18 on February 27, 2001 (the date the law took effect..."

    Based on that, it seems that you're ineligible
  8. TNM99

    TNM99 Registered Users (C)

    Yes. Thank you. I've noticed that. But I thought that paragraph referred to everything prior to it. And the condition that applied to me was a separate second condition, not having anything to do with the first column---as exemplified by the phrase "You may also--then laying out the different conditions from the first column. Does that make sense?

    Oh well. I am seeing an immigration expert tommorow to shed more light on the issue.
  9. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)


    Hey, I think you're right. This is what I meant you could qualify under another scenario different from the child citizenship act. I have read the N-600 instructions now and it seems you qualify under the conditions you posted above that both parents naturalized before your 18th birthday and you regularly resided in the U.S. after obtaining your Green Card.

    The point is that if you are already a citizen, then N-600 is the right way to go, even if it needs more documents. Most people in the board are familiar with the child citizenship act provisions, but not the older provisions for citizenship, as we're mostly new immigrants. We almost sent you the wrong way :( I know that with the child citizenship act the citizenship occurs automatically, perhaps it is also the same in your case and you're already a citizen.
  10. 1caliN400

    1caliN400 Registered Users (C)

    I most certainly stand corrected :)

    Sorry about that TNM. What you say certainly makes sense and seems to be the right way to go about it.

    As Huracan said, that would mean you are already a US citizen. Good luck with your legal consult and the process overall!! Hopefully you're able to get a certificate or passport soon.
  11. boatbod

    boatbod Registered Users (C)

    Don't bet your paycheck on that happening! Ask Flydog how long he's been waiting for his daughter's N-600.

    Since it seems you might already be a US citizen, the fastest route would be to simply apply for a passport. I'm not exactly sure of all the documents you'll need, but likely need both your parents (original) natz certs and your GC.

    Good luck.
  12. Aibolit

    Aibolit Registered Users (C)

    This seems the way to go. It is the fastest and cheapest way to proceed: you pay $97 for passport, or/and $255 for N600, or $400 for N400. You pick.
  13. Flydog

    Flydog Registered Users (C)

    Yes, my daughter's N-600 application hits 11 months old this week! But, she's had a passport since mid-June 2006.

    You might try calling the Dept. of State's Passport 800 number, they might be able to help. Or, if you live in one of the 14 cities with a passport agency, take an appointment. Talking to a real person (as opposed to trying to figure out the instructions on a form) might be useful.
  14. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)

    I am not sure if it is that easy in this case. We're used to the child citizenship act, which is pretty clear and makes applying for a U.S. passport really easy. However, his case is a bit less straightforward (from the point of view of passport). It seems the rule that applies here is to have a green card and having regularly resided. I believe this makes applying for a passport under this rule tougher or impossible. I don't even see this case in the passport application (which on the other hand covers the child citizenship act alright). Actually, the instructions on the passport are not clear, as they don't specify the time when the CCA (child citizenship act) was applicable, and they just asked for certificates of naturalization and green card.

    My gut feeling is that TNM99 needs to apply for N-600 first, before trying to apply for a passport, if this is possible. I think TNM99 can have a reasonable belief and certainty in being a citizen, but the certificate of citizenship will be a real proof.

    I believe it all hangs on that little condition (which I guess TNM99 complies, but USCIS needs to document and verify) that he needed to regularly reside in the U.S. after obtaining the Green Card.

    PS: Please let me point out that TNM99 seems to qualify to apply with N-600, that doesn't mean that he is an automatic citizen. I keep claiming that I am a bit ignorant about what happened before the child citizenship act. I am not sure whether citizenship was granted automatically or not when the parents naturalized. I really believe that N-600 is probably the best route, but if N-600 is taking a long time at TNM99's local USCIS office, perhaps N-400 could be good. These things get so complicated that I doubt many people at USCIS can keep things straight either. It would have been good that the N-600 instructions pointed to the applicable law. I haven't been able to find information about people whose parents naturalized when they were minors and before the CCA. By the way, I think I've seen the "magic" number 16 years a few times, I am not sure if it applies to pre-CCA cases.

    Probably one of these cases mentioned here is the one that applies to TNM99:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2007
  15. TNM99

    TNM99 Registered Users (C)

    Thanks for all your replies. I just spoke with an immigration law expert and it seems I became a US citizen when my parents became citizens before my 18th birthday under the pre-2001 law as well. The 2001 law is virtually the same as the old law except that the 2001 law limits the rights of divorced and separated parents. She advised me to apply for a passport and said that the certificate of citizenship was not really necessary since a U.S. passport serves the same function. I will probably apply for both and keep my fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong since my case seems a bit complicated.
  16. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)


    I don't mean to scare you, but if you follow this path, you might find yourself proven by USCIS to not be a citizen, and possibly with a passport that says otherwise. That will complicate any effort to file N-400. Please read this page which seems to say that you might not be a citizen after all. For now, we know it seems to be ok for you to file N-600, but remember that that doesn't mean that you are a citizen. Please check for yourself, I believe your case falls under your parents naturalized between 1978 and 2001.

  17. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)

    Well, I might have to stand corrected myself. I found this additional info:

    "5. Parents Naturalized Between
    October 5, 1978, and
    February 26, 2001

    You derived U.S. citizenship if one of
    your parents was a U.S. citizen when
    you were born and never ceased to be a
    citizen, and your other parent was naturalized
    prior to your 18th birthday, or the
    naturalization of both parents occurred
    before your 18th birthday. In either case,
    you need to have been unmarried at the
    time, and have been lawfully admitted to
    the U.S as a permanent resident (have a
    green card).
    This applies to all children,
    including those who are illegitimate
    (born while their parents weren’t married)
    and those who were adopted (so
    long as the adoption took place before
    you turned 18, and the naturalization(s)
    took place while you were living in the
    U.S. in the legal custody of your adoptive
    parent(s).). However, adopted children"
  18. Flydog

    Flydog Registered Users (C)

    If you can get a passport, get it first. The Dept of State can process things *much* faster (and cheaper) than the USCIS.

    The rationale for doing an N-600 application is that you get a non-expiring "root" proof of citizenship. Should you let your passport expire for long enough that it can't be renewed, you will not have to go through all the rigamorole of getting your parents' natz certs, proving you were a permanent resident at the time, etc.
  19. Huracan

    Huracan Registered Users (C)

    Sorry for all the back and forth. Some of the links I found didn't seem to have all the information. Please see my last post which seems to indicate you are probably indeed an automatic citizen. Don't you love all this back and forth? ;) I'm just kidding, as mentioned earlier, this pre-2001 thing is a bit outside of my regular field of knowledge. It's your choice, it seems you have consulted the right people, and perhaps the passport route is the right one. If it had been my case, I would have preferred to apply for N-600 long ago to have that additional proof. However, it is very likely that the department of state has their own capabilities to determine citizenship according to the documentation provided.
  20. C R S

    C R S Registered Users (C)

    Refer to #7 in http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1fb596981298d010VgnVCM10000048f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=d6f4194d3e88d010VgnVCM10000048f3d6a1RCRD that I have included below:

    The above statement jibes with my own reading of the CCA.

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