Acquisition Of U.S. Citizenship At Birth

U.S. Citizenship

Summary

A person can acquire U.S. citizenship at birth based on their parents’ citizenship. Even if you experienced birth abroad, U.S. citizenship is still your birthright if your mother or father is a U.S. citizen meeting certain requirements.

A person can acquire U.S. citizenship at birth based on their parents’ citizenship.

Even if you experienced birth abroad, U.S. citizenship is still your birthright if your mother or father is a U.S. citizen meeting certain requirements.

Am I Qualified for U.S. Citizenship Even if I Was Born Abroad?

If you were born outside the U.S., you might be eligible to gain U.S. citizenship at birth through “derivative citizenship” if one or both of your parents are U.S. citizens.

Take note that you and your family members must meet important requirements to prove this claim of “derivative citizenship.”

Which Factors Affect My Claim for U.S. Citizenship at Birth?

The following is a list of factors that impact your claim for U.S. citizenship at birth:

  • Your birth date
  • The marital status of your parents
  • The citizenship of your mother and father
  • The length of time that one or both of your parents lived in the U.S.

The laws that existed during the time you were born are also important in determining your eligibility. Keep in mind that some U.S. laws have changed drastically over time.

Consult with an experienced immigration lawyer to confirm if you are qualified for derived U.S. citizenship or not.

What Types of Birth Circumstances Make Me Eligible for U.S. Citizenship?

As stated on Travel.State.Gov under the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, you may be eligible for U.S. citizenship at birth if you fall under one of the categories in the list below.

In all of these cases, you must have a genetic or gestational relationship with both or either of your parents for their U.S. citizenship to pass on to you.

Also, a person who is born “in wedlock” is someone whose parents were legally married to each other when he or she was born. You may also fall under this description if you were conceived or born within 300 days before your parents’ marriage ended because of divorce or death.

You may be qualified for U.S. citizenship at birth if you belong to one of the following classifications:

Person Born Abroad in Wedlock to Two U.S. Citizen Parents

  • You were born in wedlock outside of the U.S.
  • Both your parents are U.S. citizens
  • At least one of your parents had lived in the U.S. or its outlying possessions before you were born

Person Born Abroad in Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Parent and an Alien Parent

  • You were born in wedlock outside of the U.S.
  • Either your father or mother is a U.S. citizen
  • If you were born on or after November 14, 1986: Your U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the U.S. or one of its outlying possessions for at least five years before your birth. He or she must have been over 14 years old for at least two of those years.
  • If you were born between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986: Your U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the U.S. or one of its outlying possessions for at least ten years before your birth. He or she must have been over 14 years old for at least five of these years.

Person Born Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to Two U.S. Citizens

  • You were born out of wedlock outside of the U.S.
  • Both of your parents are U.S. citizens
  • At least one of your parents had lived in the U.S. or its outlying possessions before you were born

Person Born Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father and an Alien Mother

  • You were born out of wedlock outside of the U.S.
  • A blood relationship between you and your U.S. citizen father has been firmly established
  • Your father was a U.S. citizen during the time you were born
  • Your father has agreed in writing to provide you with financial support until you reach the age of 18. This is only applicable if your father is still alive.
  • If you are below 18 years old, one of the following must have taken place:
    • You have been legitimated under law
    • Your father has acknowledged your paternity in writing and under oath
    • A legal court has established your paternity
  • If you were born on or after on or after November 14, 1986: Your U.S. citizen father must have been physically present in the U.S. or one of its outlying possessions for at least five years before your birth. He must have been over 14 years old for at least two of those years. Your father may consider his time abroad as the equivalent of physical presence in the U.S. under any of these circumstances:
    • If he was honorably serving in the U.S. military
    • If he was employed by the U.S. government
    • If he was a dependent unmarried son or daughter of U.S. military personnel or U.S. government staff

Person Born Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Mother and an Alien Father

  • In case you were born abroad out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother and an alien father between December 24, 1952 and June 11, 2017:
    • Your mother was a U.S. citizen during the time you were born
    • Your U.S. citizen mother must have been physically present in the U.S. or one of its outlying possessions for at least one continuous year before your birth.
  • In case you were born abroad out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother and an alien father on or after June 12, 2017:
    • Your mother was a U.S. citizen during the time you were born
    • Your U.S. citizen mother must have been physically present in the U.S. or one of its outlying possessions for at least five years. Your parent must have been over 14 years old for at least two of these years.

How Can I Apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)?

The U.S. government issues a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) as an official record of a child’s claim to U.S. citizenship.

If you are eligible for U.S. citizenship at birth, you can apply for a CRBA by completing Form DS-2029 if both of your parents are U.S. citizens.

As an alternative, you can complete Form DS-5507 if one of your parents is not a U.S. citizen or if your U.S. citizen parent is not present during the application process.

If you are a U.S. citizen who wishes to apply for a CRBA for your child, make sure to report your son or daughter’s birth at your local U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as possible.

Next Steps

If you or your child have experienced birth abroad, U.S. citizenship may be your birthright.

Contact us today if you would like to confirm that you did indeed acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. We have over 40 years of legal experience in U.S. immigration and nationality law.

Our expert team of immigration attorneys is more than qualified to help you apply for a CRBA and to answer your questions on U.S. citizenship at birth when born abroad.

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