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Ask the Consul

I am an American citizen with a child born in the Dominican Republic – should I file for my child as an IR2 or go to American Citizen Services? What is the difference?

December 5,2011

This will primarily depend upon one question – did you naturalize before or after the birth of your child? If it was after, even by a day, you will need to file a petition with USCIS to bring your child to the US as an IR2 – child of an American citizen. Note that if the child is your biological or adopted child and under 18 years of age at the time of travel, he or she will immediately receive their citizenship upon entry to the US under the Child Citizenship Act. If you naturalized prior to the birth of your child, you will need to consider the amount of time you have spent in the US PRIOR to the birth of your child. This can vary from 1 day to 5 years and can depend on how many of those years were after the age of 14 – check the website to view requirements:  http://santodomingo.usembassy.gov/crba_requirement-e.html

If you file for your child as an IR2 and the child appears to have been a citizen from birth, the officer will have to send you to ACS for a determination prior to issuing a visa. This is because we cannot by law issue an immigrant visa to a person who is already a US citizen. It is therefore important to review the process for citizenship BEFORE filing for your child with USCIS if you were a citizen prior to your child’s birth.