How To Obtain US Citizenship?
This may be obtained through birth, a child of a US citizen, or through naturalization.
Derived or Acquired Citizenship through Parents
Citizenship at Birth for Children Born Outside the U.S. and its Territories
- The parents were married at the time of birth and at least one parent lived in the U.S. or its territories prior to the birth; or
- The U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the U.S. or its territories for a period of at least five years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, of which at least two years were after his or her 14th birthday.
- If the U.S. citizen parent spent time abroad in any of the following three capacities, this can also be counted towards the physical presence requirement:
- Serving honorably in the US armed forces;
- Employed with the US government; or
- Employed with certain international organizations.
Birth out of wedlock prior to 1986:
- If you were born between January 13, 1941 and November 14, 1986, you must establish that your paternity was established by legitimation while you were under the age of 21.
Birth out of wedlock post 1986:
- Your father was physically present in the United States for 5 years, at least 2 of which were after 14 years of age;
- A blood relationship with your father by clear and convincing evidence;
- Your father was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth;
- Your father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for you until you reach 18 years of age; and
- While you are under 18 years of age:
- You are legitimated under the law of your residence or domicile;
- Your father acknowledges paternity of you in writing under oath; or
- Your paternity is established by a court.
NOTE: If you were at least 15 years of age but under 18 years of age on November 14, 1986, you could choose to have either of the requirements above apply to you.
Derived Citizenship under the age of 18 Requirements:
If the child was under 18 or not yet born on February 27, 2001:
- At least one parent is a U.S. citizen;
- The child is under 18; and
- The child is residing in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to lawful admission for permanent residence.
If the child was under 18 from December 24, 1952 to February 26, 2001:
- The child was residing as a Green Card holder in the U.S. and both parents naturalized before the child’s 18th birthday; OR
- If one parent died, the surviving parent naturalized prior to the child reaching 18;
- If the parents are legally separated, that the parent maintaining physical custody naturalized prior to the child turning 18;
- If the child was born out of wedlock and paternity has not been established by legitimation.
If the child was adopted by a US Citizen:
- The child resides legally in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent and meets the following conditions after February 27, 2001 but before his or her 18th birthday:
- The adoptive parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or, in some cases, 18th birthday) and had legal custody of the child and resided with the child for at least two years;
- The child was admitted to the United States as an orphan (IR-3) or Convention adoptee (IH-3) whose adoption by his or her U.S. citizen parent(s) was fully completed abroad; OR
- The child was admitted to the United States as an orphan (IR-4) or Convention adoptee (IH-4) who was coming to the United States to be adopted and the child's adoptive parent(s) completed the adoption before his or her 18th birthday.
Citizenship through Naturalization
- You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements;
- You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen;
- You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements; OR
- Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met.