Search articles:
Schedule an appointment

DERIVATIVE CITIZENSHIP

 

derivative citizenship FORM N-600

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

 

For more than 30 years our immigration law office has been providing assistance for people desiring to become US citizens.  This article explains how and when a person is automatically a US citizen.  This is called derivative citizenship as opposed to becoming a US citizen through naturalization.


(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.

CHART TO DETERMINE CITIZENSHIP RULES

The following chart describes the rules for a U.S. citizen parent transmitting citizenship to a child born in a foreign country:

Birth Date of Child

Parent’s Residence Requirement to Transmit Citizenship

Child’s Residence Requirement to Retain Citizenship

Before 5/24/1934

Parent is a citizen who resided in the U.S. before the child’s birth

None.

Between 5/24/1934 and 1/13/1941

If both parents are U.S. citizens, at least one resided in the U.S. before the child’s birth.

None.

If one parent is a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen parent must have resided in the U.S. before the child’s birth.

None.

Between 1/13/41 and 12/24/1952

If both parents are U.S. citizens, at least one resided in the U.S. before the child’s birth.

If both parents are U.S. citizens, no retention requirement.

If one parent is a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen parent must have resided in the U.S. for 10 years, at least 5 of which were after age 16.

2 years continuous presence in the United States between the ages of 14 and 28.  However, there is no retention requirement if born on or after 10/10/1952.

Between 12/24/1952 and 11/13/1986

If both parents are U.S. citizens, at least one resided in the U.S. before the child’s birth.

None.

If one parent is a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen parent must have resided in the U.S. for 10 years, at least 5 of which were after age 14.

None.

After 11/13/1986

If both parents are U.S. citizens, at least one resided in the U.S. before the child’s birth.

None.

If one parent is a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen parent must have resided in the U.S. for 5 years, at least 2 of which were after age 14.

None.

Expedited Naturalization if Grandparent was U.S. Citizen

If a child is born in a foreign country and the parents do not meet these requirements, there are some special provisions for “expeditious naturalization” if a grandparent was a U.S. citizen, and had resided in the United States for at least 5 years, at least 2 years after the age of 14.  This expedited naturalization process must be completed before the child turns 18.

 


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 USA?
  • 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

  • Videos related
    Author
    Moses Apsan and his staff, based in New York City and Newark, NJ provide exceptional legal services throughout the world, in all aspects of immigration to the United States, including non-immigrant (temporary visas), immigrant visa (Green Card) and deportation defense. In addition Mr. Apsan, has been practicing Bankruptcy law and Divorce laws for over 30 years, He was the President of the Federal Bar Association, New Jersey Chapter (1997-2002). He speaks Portuguese and Spanish..
    Click-to-Call us

    Use our automated
    Click-to-call to contact Apsan Law Offices, LLC. or
    call directly at
    1(877) 873-8510

    Click to call immigration lawyers


    nj immigration lawyers
    Sign up

    Immigration news
    The Greek philosopher of Ephesus ( 500 BCE), is best known for his doctrines that “there is nothing permanent except change.” Not so with the Republican Party. As the world transforms, an...
    Donald Trump has been very vocal with his opinions about the H-1B visa program. He has not been clear in terms of what his actual plan for the program is, but earlier this year he was quoted...
    WASHINGTON— The intense political fight that would    affect millions of people who are in the United States illegally arrives to the Supreme Court on Monday. The court will decide th...