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DERIVATIVE CITIZENSHIP

derivative citizenship

Generally, people are born U.S. citizens if they are born in the United States or
if they are born to U.S. citizens:


(1) By being born in the United States

If you were born in the United States (including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are an American citizen at birth (unless you were born to a foreign diplomat). Your birth certificate is proof of your citizenship.

(2) Through birth abroad to TWO US citizens

In most cases, you are a U.S. citizen if ALL of the following are true:
bullet Both your parents were U.S. citizens when you were born; and

At least one of your parents lived in the United States at some point in their life.

Your record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of your citizenship.

You may also apply for a passport to have your citizenship recognized. If you need additional proof of your citizenship, you may file an "Application for Certificate of Citizenship" (Form N-600) with USCIS to get a Certificate of Citizenship.


(3) Through birth abroad to ONE United States citizen

In most cases, you are a U.S. citizen if ALL of the following are true:

  • One of your parents was a U.S. citizen when you were born; and
  • Your citizen parent lived at least 5 years in the United States before you were born; and
  • At least 2 of these 5 years in the United States were after your citizen parent's 14th birthday*.


Your record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of your citizenship.


*If you were born before November 14, 1986, you are a citizen if your U.S. citizen parent lived in the United States for at least 10 years and 5 of those years in the United States were after your citizen parent's 14th birthday.

(4) By Qualifying under the Child Citizenship Act 2000

On October 30, 2000, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 2883, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. Read more about this.


Articles related to this topic

  • Birthright Citizenship - Jus soli & Jus Sanguinis
  • Child Citizenship Act - How to Get a Certificate of Citizenship for Your Child
  • What is Dual Nationality or Dual Citizenship?
  • How to Replace your certificate of citizenship or naturalization - includes forms and instructions
  • Child Citizenship Act - How to Get a Certificate of Citizenship for Your Child
  • Child Citizenship Act of 2000 - Automatic Citizenship for Children of U.S. Citizens born abroad.
  • I Am a U.S. Citizen How Do I Get Proof of My U.S. Citizenship?
  • The New Citizenship Test
  • Try The Naturalization Self Test - The Best Way to Prepare for the CItizenship Test
  • Citizenship In Other Countries - Dual Citizenship
  • Obtaining U.S. Citizenship Through a Grandparent

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