What is the problem?

Every year about 60,000 children are born overseas to a US citizen parent. Of these, 90% acquire US citizenship at birth while 10% do not. These are children born abroad who are not able to claim citizenship because their parent or parents have not met the “residence” and/or “presence” requirements. The right to a nationality at birth is one of the most fundamental of human rights, as it opens the door to membership in our society and all other related rights. It is obvious that 6,000 children each year deserve better treatment. ACA is continuing its support of revised legislation to make it easier to transmit US citizenship to children born or adopted abroad.

A brief historical look at US citizenship can be found here.

What are we doing about it?

Legislation has been introduced that would address the issues of citizenship passage for US citizens parents and help millions of families of U.S. citizens that have been separated or face separation by spousal immigration denials or deportations: the American Families United Act (H.R. 2920). ACA has lent its support to this legislation here

How can you help?

What has been achieved so far?

Citizenship rights were one of the first issues that ACA advocated for in Washington, DC. Through ACA’s advocacy changes in the residency requirements for US citizens born overseas and wishing to transmit their US citizenship for their children was reduced and simplified therefore allowing millions of children born overseas the ability to apply for US citizenship.

View our submissions to Congress on this issue and others here

How can I find out more?

In this Section

Determining and Transmitting US Citizenship and Citizenship Flowchart

Residency requirements for US citizenship

FAQs About US Citizenship

What Happens if My Child Has No Claim to US Citizenship at Birth?

Adopted Children

US Military Service