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Attention: Grandparents With Grandkids Born Outside the USA

The Best Gift for a Lifetime is the protections of the USA’s  Constitution!

By Varvara M. Gokea, Esq.

A little-known section of the Immigration and Naturalization Act allows US grandparents to step in and assist their minor born overseas grandchildren to obtain the USA citizenship.

A growing number of Americans presently reside in foreign countries, by some accounts over 10 million Americans are living and working abroad. “Every year about 40,000 children are born overseas to a US citizen parent. Of these, 90% acquire US citizenship at birth while 10% do not.” (See: www.americansabroad.org).

All of the above numbers are guesstimates. There are no official statistics about how many Americans reside overseas and how many of their children receive the USA citizenship and the protections of the USA Constitution.  Nobody can attest to the number of children born overseas who are entitled to the US citizenship and the protections of the US Constitution and nobody knows how many Americans are precluded of their birth right to the US citizenship due to life circumstances.

Many articles were written about the income tax obligation of Americans living abroad and their responsibility to declare their foreign bank accounts; however, there is limited information available to US parents and grandparents about the steps necessary to gift a child born overseas with the coveted US Citizenship.

The US citizenship can be transmitted to a born overseas child by an American citizen parent who satisfies certain conditions of USA residency and takes the steps to register the birth at the US Consulate or Embassy.  In addition, Section 322 of Immigration and Naturalization Act allows an US citizen grandparent to obtain the naturalization of the child by applying to the USCIS for a Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-600).  The process is rather straightforward and explained clearly at: https://www.uscis.gov.

In any case, the best approach of any US parent when their child is born in a foreign country is to access the US Embassy in the country of child’s birth, schedule an interview and appear to declare the birth by presenting all required documents listed on the website of the US Embassy.

When the US parent is not available due to death or unable to pass the US citizenship to the child due to short residency in the USA, then, the US grandparent can step in and sponsor that foreign born child via INA Section 322.

For more information you may contact our office either via e-mail or phone.

I could tell you some amazing stories of grandparents with grandkids born in other countries and their struggle to connect with those far away grandchildren. (Of course respecting their attorney-client privilege – and without disclosing their identity unless they would permit it).

For more information contact:

Varvara M. Gokea, Esq.

VM Gokea Law Group, PLLC.
575 Madison Avenue
10 Floor
New York, NY 10022
Telephone: (212) 937-8420
E-mail: Varv@VMGokeaLaw.com


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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