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Citizenship after Birth Outside the United States

Acquiring Citizenship after birth requires at least one parent to be a U.S. citizen and that the U.S. citizen parent had at one point lived in the United States for a certain period of time which is determined based on the law in effect at the time of birth. 

Happy Little Girl

Child of U.S. Citizen Residing in the United States

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000, current section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

A child that was born to a U.S. citizen that is residing in the United States acquires U.S. citizenship after birth upon meeting the following conditions on or after February 27, 2001:

·       The child is born or was adopted by one parent who is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization;

·       The child was under 18 years of age;

·       The child is a legal permanent resident of the United States;

·       The child is residing in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent within the United States. 

Before the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, Former INA section 321 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Pursuant to former section 321, a child born outside the United States to two noncitizen parents or to one U.S. citizen parent who loses U.S. citizenship can still acquire U.S. citizen if : 

·       Both parents naturalize;

·       One surviving parent naturalizes if the other parent is deceased; 

·       The parent who naturalizes has the legal custody of the child if there is a legal separation of the two parents;

·       Child's mother is the parent who naturalizes if the child was born out of wedlock and the father has not established paternity by legitimation;

·       The child is younger than 18 years old when his parent naturalizes; 

·       The child is residing in the United States as a legal permanent resident at the time the parent naturalizes or at some time after resides permanently in the United States. 

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Child of U.S. Citizen Residing outside the United States

Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act:

If the child cannot acquire citizenship after birth pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act, a child who regularly resides outside the United States can still acquire citizenship after birth through naturalization if after birth and before turning 18 years of age: 

·       The child has a parent who is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization which includes an adoptive parent;

·       The child's U.S. citizen parent or grandparent can demonstrate being physically present in the United States or its outlying possession for at least five years and the parent or grandparent met such physical presence for at least two years after he reached 14 years of age. 

·       The child is residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. parent or of a person who does not object to the application of if the U.S. parent is deceased;

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