With the immigration talk in Washington at an all-time high, we've decided to take a look at the status of one of the most innocent victims of the war on illegal immigration—the kids. Specifically, we're talking about the children of a parent who gained citizenship via marriage.
But what would happen if the parents of the children got divorced? Unless they are over 18 or married, the actions of the parents have no effect on the citizenship status of a minor. They will remain citizens.
If the child has reached 18, it really has to do with when they did: specifically in 2001, when certain laws were enacted. One set applies to a child who was not yet 18 on Feb. 27, 2001, or who were born after that date. A second, less generous set of rules applies to a child age 18 or over on Feb. 27, 2001.
Children not yet 18 on Feb. 27, 2001, derive U.S. citizenship if they meet the following conditions:
—At least one parent is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization.
—The child is unmarried and not yet age 18.
—The child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent
—The child is a permanent resident. The two changes from prior law are that only one parent need naturalize and the rules apply to permanent resident children of natural-born U.S. citizens.
A child already age 18 on Feb. 18, 2001, derived U.S. citizenship upon the naturalization of a parent if:
—The other parent was or became a U.S. citizen before the child turned 18.
—The child was born illegitimate and the parent naturalized was the mother.
—The child's other parent was deceased.
—The parents were divorced or separated and the parent being naturalized had legal custody of the child following the divorce or separation.
Read more: Divorce will have no effect on son's citizenship