My daughter has given birth to a child whose father is not American. My daughter lived only four years in the U.S. What can she do to make sure my grandchild has American citizenship?
Assuming the daughter is American, she can either 1) apply for an immigrant visa for her minor child at a US consulate abroad and travel with the child to the US where citizenship becomes effective upon entry as an immigrant or 2) apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, also listed under Citizenship and Immigration Service, for special naturalization for minor children, travel to the US with the child once the application is approved and be naturalized at a local CIS office.
Method number 2 would require that the American grandparent of the child have lived in the US a total of 5 years (2 after the age of 14), since the American mother did not. For more information about these two methods, see page 6 of the "Citizenship Fact-Sheet". There is a third way if the American mother is not married – a child born out of wedlock to a US citizen mother is a US citizen at birth if the mother had been physically present in the US for a continuous period of one year prior to the child's birth.