Transmitting Citizenship

  1. Transmitting Citizenship
  2. Proof of Physical Presence

1Children 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

Child born in wedlock to two U.S. citizens: 

A child born outside of the United States or its outlying possessions to two U.S. citizen parents is entitled to citizenship, provided one of the parents had, prior to the birth of the child, been resident in the United States or one of its outlying possessions. (No specific period of time is required.)

Birth abroad to one citizen and one alien parent in wedlock

A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) INA provided that the citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child’s birth.

  • For births on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years of physical presence in the U.S., two after the age of fourteen, is required.
  • For births between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years of physical presence in the U.S., five after the age of fourteen is for a parent to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother:

A child born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 301(g) INA, as made applicable by Section 309(c) INA if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth. , and if the mother had previously been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years of which two years are after the age of fourteen.

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father: 

A child born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen father and a foreign national mother may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 301(g) INA, as made applicable by Section 309(a) INA provided that: the citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child’s birth. For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence in the U.S., two after the age of fourteen is required. For births between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years physical presence in the U.S., five after the age of fourteen, is required for a parent to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child. In addition the applicant must document the following:

  • A blood relationship between the applicant and the father established by clear and convincing evidence;
  • The father had the nationality of the United States at the time of the applicant’s birth;
  • The father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the applicant reaches the age of 18 years, and
  • While the claimant is under the age of 18 years:
    • Applicant is legitimated under the law of their country of residence or domicile,
    • Father acknowledges paternity of the person in writing and under oath, or
    • The paternity of the applicant is established by the adjudication of a court

Are you unable to meet the citizenship transmission requirements?

If the US citizen parent does not meet the citizenship transmission requirements and the child is under 18 years of age, the child may be eligible for expeditious naturalization under the Child Citizenship Act 2000. (PDF 197 KB)