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U.S. Citizenship at Birth outside the United States

Acquiring Citizenship at birth when the birth occurs outside the United States 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. 

Acquisition of Citizenship at Birth

A person born outside the United States acquired citizenship at birth if the child has at least one parent who is a United States Citizen where the qualifying parent meets certain residence or physical presence requirements in the United States or an outlying possession before the person's birth based on the applicable law at the time of birth. 

Child Born in Wedlock

To qualify for citizenship at birth, the child that is born outside the United States acquires U.S. citizenship at birth if at least one parent is a U.S. citizen, the child's parents married each other and at least one parent is the genetic or gestational parent of the child at the time of birth and the qualifying parent meets the applicable residence or physical presence requirements under the law in effect at the time of the child's birth. 

Child Born out of Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen father

To qualify for citizenship at birth, the same requirements for a child born in wedlock including the residence and physical presence requirements apply in addition to the following requirements:

  • Establishment of a blood relationship between the child and the father through clear and convincing evidence;

  • Establishment that the father was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child's birth;

  • Establishment that the child's father has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the child until the child reaches 18 years of age unless the father is deceased

  • Either the child is legitimated under the law of his residence or domicile, or the father acknowledges in writing and under oath the paternity of the child or paternity of the child is established by a competent court before the child reaches 18 years of age. 

Child Born out of Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen mother

The rules to determine acquisition of citizenship at birth to a mother out of wedlock will be based on when the child was born. 

Child born on or after December 23, 1952 and before June 12, 2017 acquires citizenship at birth: 

The child's mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child's birth and the child's U.S. citizen mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for one continuous year before the birth of the child. 

Child born on or after June 12, 2017 acquires citizenship at birth: 

The child's mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child's birth and the child's U.S. citizen mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for at least five years before the child's birth at least two years of which were after age 14.  

Residence and Physical Presence Requirements for USC parent

Child born prior to May 24, 1934: 

  • Born to either a father or mother U.S. citizen requires the citizen parent to have resided in the United States. 

  • Born to both parents who are U.S. citizens requires that either parent have resided in the United States. 

Child born on or after May 24, 1934 and prior to January 14, 1941:​

  • Born to both parents who are U.S. citizens requires that either parent have resided in the United States. 

  • Born to one citizen parent and one non citizen parent requires that the citizen parent to have resided in the United States. 

Child born on or after January 14, 1941 and prior to December 24, 1952:

  • Born to parents who are both U.S. citizens or one citizen and one national of the United States requires that either parent to have resided in the U.S. or its outlying possessions. 

  • Born to one U.S. citizen parent and one non citizen parent requires that the citizen parent to have resided in the U.S. or its outlying possessions 10 years, at least 5 of which were after age 16. If citizen parent served honorably in U.S. Armed Forces between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946, 5 of the required 10 years may have been after age 12. If the citizen parent served honorably in the U.S. armed Services between January 1, 1947 and December 24, 1952, the requirement consists of 10 years of physical presence, 5 of which may have been after age 15. 

Child born on or after December 24, 1952 and prior to November 14, 1986:​

  • Born to both parents who are U.S. citizens requires that either parent have resided in the United States or its outlying possessions. 

  • Born to one citizen and one national of the United States requires that the citizen parent to have been physically present in the U.S. or its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year. 

  • Born to one citizen parent and one non citizen parent requires that the citizen parent to have been physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions 10 years, at least 5 of which were after age 14. 

Child born on or after November 14, 1986-Current Requirements:​

  • Born to both parents who are U.S. citizens requires that either parent have resided in the United States or its outlying possessions. 

  • Born to one citizen and one national of the United States requires that the citizen parent to have been physically present in the U.S. or its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year. 

  • Born to one citizen parent and one non citizen parent requires that the citizen parent to have been physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions 5 years, at least 2 of which were after age 14. 

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