Do you qualify to pass on citizenship?

Children born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent(s) (under the age of 18) may have a claim to U.S. citizenship. The following is a brief description of the various circumstances under which a child born abroad may acquire U.S. citizenship.  For further information please select the description below that best fits your family circumstances.

NOTE:  All periods of residence or physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child

Children under 18, born to U.S. citizens who are not eligible for U.S. citizenship as described above may be eligible under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.  Further information is available from the Department of State’s website.

If you are over 18 and believe you have a claim to U.S. citizenship, please review our citizenship information page.

A child born outside of the United States and in wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother and U.S. citizen father, acquires U.S. citizenship at birth if one of the parents has been resident in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth.

NOTE – MEANING OF “IN WEDLOCK”: A child is considered to be born in wedlock for the purpose of citizenship acquisition when the genetic and/or gestational parents are legally married to each other at the time of the child’s conception or birth, or within 300 days of termination of the marriage by death or divorce, and both parents are the legal parents of the child under local law at the time and place of birth.

A child born outside of the United States and in wedlock to a U.S. citizen parent and a non U.S. citizen parent, may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a period of five years, two of which were after the age of fourteen.  The U.S. citizen parent must be the genetic or the gestational parent, and the legal parent of the child under local law at the time and place of the child’s birth.

A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother, on or before June 11, 2017, may acquire U.S. citizenship if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth and, if the mother was physically present in the United States for a continuous period of one year (365 days) prior to the birth of the child.

(NOTE: Periods spent overseas with the U.S. government/military dependent are NOT considered as physical presence in the U.S. for transmission under this category)

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sessions v. Morales-Santana, 582 U.S.____, 137 S. Ct. 1678 (2017), a child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother on or after June 12, 2017, may acquire U.S. citizenship if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth, and was physically present in the United States for a period of five years, two of which were after the age of fourteen.

In both cases, the U.S. citizen mother must be the genetic or gestational mother and the legal parent of the child under local law at the time and place of the child’s birth in order to transmit U.S. citizenship.

A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father, may acquire U.S. citizenship if the father was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth and, if the father was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, two of which were after the age of fourteen.  In addition, the U.S. citizen father must acknowledge paternity and agree in writing to provide financial support for the child until he/she reaches the age of 18 years old.