Acquisition of American Citizenship at Birth Outside of US

PUBLIC CHARGE
February 20, 2021

Acquisition of American Citizenship at Birth Outside of US

United States is one of the very few countries that recognize citizenship through both jus soli (nationality determined by place of birth) and jus sanguinis (the right of blood or parentage).

U.S. citizenship is acquired at birth where both parents are U.S. citizens and one of the parents has resided in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth.25

U.S. citizenship is acquired at birth where one of the parents is a U.S. citizen who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of at least one year before the child’s birth, and the other parent is a noncitizen national of the United States.

U.S. citizenship is acquired at birth where one of the parents is a noncitizen and the other parent is a U.S. citizen who, before the child’s birth, was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen. The citizen parent’s presence abroad while performing military or civilian service for the U.S. government or while employed by an international organization, or as a dependent child in the household of a person engaged in the foregoing occupations may be included in computing the requisite requirements of prior physical presence by the citizen parent for a child born on or after December 24, 1952. Between 1934 and 1978, citizenship acquired under this paragraph was subject to loss unless the child established residence in the United States for a prescribed period. However, this condition subsequent was prospectively repealed in 1978, and citizenship now acquired at birth aboard to a citizen parent is unqualified.

U.S. citizenship is acquired at birth in the Republic of Panama where one parent is a U.S. citizen employed by the U.S. government or by the Panama Railroad Company. In such cases no prior residence in the United States by the citizen parent is required, and there is no requirement that the child establish residence in the United States to retain his or her U.S. citizenship.

Noncitizen nationality is acquired at birth where both parents are noncitizen nationals who have resided in the United States or one of its outlying possessions before the child’s birth. No condition subsequent for the retention of noncitizen nationality by the child is prescribed in such cases. A child born out of wedlock whose paternity is established by legitimation before he reaches the age of twenty-one is entitled to the applicable benefits set forth in any of the foregoing five paragraphs as of the date of birth.32 Such a child, whether or not legitimated, also may acquire at birth the mother’s nationality status, if the mother was then a national of the United States and had previously been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year.

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