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https://www.americansabroad.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-us-citizenship/

Frequently Asked Questions about US Citizenship

Q: We are married and expecting a baby and we live outside the USA, will our child be an American citizen?

A: If both parents are American citizens, married to each other and at least one of the parents has resided in the USA sometime in their life prior to the child's birth, the child may have a claim to US citizenship. Be sure to register the birth and apply for a US passport at the nearest US consulate before the child's 18th birthday. The "Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)" or FS-240 is an important document as it proves that the child is a US citizen.

 

Q: I am an American woman and I gave birth outside the USA after receiving an implanted ovum. Is my child an American citizen?

A: In cases of assisted reproductive technology and same-sex marriages, the US State Department has recently (October 2014) changed its policy on this matter. It now recognizes that the "natural mother" and/or "natural father" can be either the genetic or the gestational parent. (Previously, it applied a strict basic rule of a blood relationship for recognizing US citizenship of children born abroad.) However, as this new interpretation has only recently come into force, it remains to be seen how it will be applied in individual cases.

 

Q: I am the American father of a child born out of wedlock outside the USA. Does my child have a claim to US citizenship?

A: Yes, if (1) you've been physically present in the US at least five years prior to the child's birth, two of which were after age 14. Honorable US military service, employment with the US Government or intergovernmental international organization or as the dependent unmarried son and member of the household of a parent in such service or employment, may be included AND (2) a blood relationship has been established between you the father and the child, and you agree to support the child until 18 years, and while the child is under 18 (i) the child is legitimated, (ii) you acknowledge paternity, or (iii) paternity is established by court adjudication.

 

Q: I am an unmarried mother. I am a US citizen. Does my child born abroad have a claim to US citizenship?

A: For births on or after June 12, 2017, your child may have a claim to US citizenship if you've been physically present in the US for an accumulated time of five years, at least two of which were after your 14th birthday, but before the birth of the child.  (Previously, before June 12, 2017, your child would have a claim to US citizenship if you had lived at least one entire uninterruped year in the USA.)

 

Q: I was born outside the USA. I believe I have a claim to US citizenship. How can I prove it?

A: If you have a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad FS-240" or "Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350)" that's all you need. You can apply for a US passport at any time, either in the USA or at a US consulate abroad. If you do not have one of these documents, you will have to get one from the US consulate in the area near where you were born if you are still under the age of 18. If you are an adult and your birth was registered at a US consulate but you have lost or misplaced the document, you can make a written request to the Vital Records Section in Washington DC. If your parents never requested a Report of Birth Abroad for you and you are over the age of 18, you can apply for a US passport directly at a US consulate and/or a Certificate of Citizenship (in the USA). A US passport is definitive proof of US citizenship.

 

Q: I was born in the USA to non-American parents from Canada. We moved back to Canada when I was two years old. Am I still a US citizen?

A: Yes. All persons born in the USA are American citizens for their whole life. (The only exception is the child of a foreign diplomat born during an official tour of duty in the USA.) You can apply for a US passport at any US consulate.

 

Q: I was born abroad. My American father was married to my German mother at the time I was born. Do I have a claim to US citizenship?

A: Yes, if your father was physically present in the US at least five years prior to your birth, at least two of which were after his 14th birthday (for births after 1986). Presence abroad in honorable US military service, employment with the US Government or intergovernmental international organization or as the dependent unmarried son and member of the household of a parent in such service or employment, may be included.

 

Q: I was born abroad. My American mother was married to my Spanish father when I was born. Do I have a claim to US citizenship?

A: Yes, if your mother was physically present in the US at least five years prior to your birth, at least two of which were after her 14th birthday (for births after 1986). Honorable US military service, employment with the US Government or intergovernmental international organization or as the dependent unmarried daughter and member of the household of a parent in such service or employment, may be included.

 

Q: I was born on an airplane while it was flying over the USA. Do I have a claim to US citizenship?

A: Probably, yes. Births on aircraft and vessels may confer US citizenship if the aircraft or vessel was within the territorial area of the US (land territory and 12 nautical mile limit). However, a US registered aircraft/vessel outside US airspace or territory is not considered to be part of the USA. A child born on such an aircraft/vessel outside US territory does not acquire US citizenship by reason of the place of birth. This area of the law is complex and depends on the citizenship status of the parents, aircraft/vessel country of registration, exact geographic position at the time of birth, and port of call immediately following the birth.

 

Q: I was born to non-American parents inside a US embassy compound where my parents took refuge during civil strife in my home country. Do I have a claim to US citizenship?

A: No. US diplomatic or consular facilities abroad and US military installations abroad are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. Contrary to popular belief, a child born on the premises of such a facility is not born in the United States and does not acquire US citizenship by reason of birth there.

 

Provided here is a Table of Transmission Requirements for children born abroad to an American mother and/or father (valid for births before June 11, 2017). For births aboard on or after June 12, 2017, new rules apply for unwed American mothers.

 

This ACA page updated November 23, 2017