Derivative Citizenship

A child born outside the U.S. to derive or claim U.S. citizenship through his/her parent’s birth or the parent’s naturalization.

  • Birth outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent
    Certain children automatically acquire U.S. citizenship from the moment of their birth if one or both of the parents were citizens at birth. However, there are many variables to take into account in determining whether or not an individual has been granted U.S. citizenship through his or her parents at birth. Some of the variables to take into account are the individual’s date of birth, whether one or both parents were United States citizens at the individual’s birth, and the prior United States residency status of the U.S. parent/s before the individual’s birth.
  • Derivation of U.S. citzenship through naturalization of a parent
    A child born outside the U.S. may automatically become a U.S. citizen if 1) the child is a lawful permanent resident, 2) one of the parents becomes a U.S. citizen prior to the child’s 18th birthday and 3) the child is residing in the U.S. in the legal custody of the U.S. citizen parent. This method of obtaining U.S. citizenship is automatic and is often referred to as “automatic naturalization” since the benefiting child does not have to participate in any sort of naturalization ceremony. However, the rules vary for derivation of United States citizenship through the naturalization of one’s parents. When evaluating whether or not “automatic naturalization” occurred, one must take into consideration various circumstances and all  aspects of the situation need to be carefully evaluated.
  • Adoption by U.S. citizen parents
    Certain children formally and legally adopted and in the physical custody of their U.S. citizen parents for at least two years may acquire U.S. citizenship. The child must be under the age of 16 at the time of the adoption.Children who meet these requirements can apply for a U.S. passport and/or Certificate of Citizenship.