This page is intended for adults (over 18 years of age) who wish to make a claim of United States citizenship.
Persons born abroad (out of United States territory) to U.S. citizen parent/s may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth. This determination is based upon a variety of factors: the laws in effect at the time of birth, the amount of time the U.S. citizen parent/s have lived in the U.S. prior to the birth, and, in some cases, the marital status of the biological parents. Please review the links below and gather all required documentation. When ready, please use our ACS Navigator, select Adult Citizenship and follow the instructions to schedule a first-time adult passport appointment.
Provisions of U.S. law regarding transmission of United States citizenship
The acquisition of U.S. citizenship by birth outside the United States is governed by Federal statutes and is based on jus sanguinis, the right of blood. The laws on acquisition of U.S. citizenship through a U.S. citizen parent are based on the existence of a blood or gestational relationship between the child and at least one parent and vary depending on whether the applicant was born in wedlock or out-of-wedlock. The laws that apply to an applicant are determined by the law in effect at the time of applicant’s birth. Once the citizenship claim is established, the applicant qualifies for a first-time U.S. passport. Applicants 18 years old and over are not eligible for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
For an adult applicant to claim U.S. citizenship at birth, the applicant must fulfill all three of the following requirements:
1) Transmission – To transmit citizenship at birth, the U.S. citizen parent(s) must have been a U.S. citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth and have sufficient physical presence in the U.S. to transmit citizenship.
2) Legitimation and Support – The child/applicant must meet the legal requirements pertaining to legitimation. Legitimation is the giving, to a child born out of wedlock, of the legal status of a child born in wedlock, thus legitimacy is a legal status generally relevant primarily to the rights of the child in relation to their natural father.
- Legitimation is a concept that does not apply to U.S. citizen mothers.
- Children born in wedlock to parents married to each other are legitimate.
- Children born out of wedlock whose parents subsequently marry prior to the child’s 18th birthday are legitimate.
- Children born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father and a non-citizen mother in the Dominican Republic are considered legitimate under Dominican Republic law if both parents are identified on the child’s Acta Inextensa de Nacimiento.
- Legitimation may occur by court order.
If the applicant was born out of wedlock, before the applicant reached the age of 18, the U.S. citizen father (unless deceased before the applicant’s 18th birthday) must have agreed in writing and under oath to provide financial support for the applicant until the applicant reaches the age of 18 years old.
3) Filiation – The applicant must establish a biological and legal relationship with the claimed U.S. citizen parent.
The following is a brief description of the various circumstances under which a child born abroad may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. For further information please select the description below that best fits your family circumstances.
NOTE: All periods of physical presence or residence in the U.S. must have taken place prior to applicant’s birth.
Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother
For children born on or before June 11, 2017: A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may acquire U.S. citizenship if the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for one continuous year (365 days) prior to the birth of the child.
For children born on or after June 12, 2017: A child born outside of the United States out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if the mother was physically present in the United States, or one of its outlying possessions, for a period of five years, two of which were after the age of fourteen, prior to the birth of the child.
Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father
A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father, may acquire U.S. citizenship if the father was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth and, if the father was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, two of which were after the age of fourteen. In addition, the U.S. citizen father must acknowledge paternity and agree in writing to provide financial support for the child until he/she reaches the age of 18 years old.
Child born in wedlock to two U.S. citizens
A child born outside of the United States and in wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother and U.S. citizen father acquires U.S. citizenship at birth if one of the parents has been resident in the United States, or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the child’s birth.
NOTE: Meaning of “in wedlock”: A child is considered to be born in wedlock for the purpose of citizenship acquisition when the genetic and/or gestational parents are legally married to each other at the time of the child’s conception or birth, or within 300 days of termination of the marriage by death or divorce, and both parents are the legal parents of the child under local law at the time and place of birth.
Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen and one non-U.S. citizen
A person born abroad in wedlock to a U.S. citizen and an alien acquires U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the person’s birth for the period required by the statute in effect when the person was born (INA 301(g), formerly INA 301(a)(7)).
For birth on or after November 14, 1986, the U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years prior to the person’s birth, at least two of which were after the age of 14.
For birth between December 24, 1952, and November 13, 1986, the U.S. citizen parent must have been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for 10 years prior to the person’s birth, at least five of which were after the age of 14 for the person to acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. In these cases, either the U.S. citizen parent or their alien spouse must have a genetic or gestational connection to the child for the U.S. parent to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.
Options for Applicant Not Able to Acquire U.S. Citizenship at Birth
A consular officer will inform you, verbally and in writing, of the decision regarding your application. Children under 18, born to U.S. citizens who are not eligible for U.S. citizenship as described above may be eligible under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. Further information is available from the Department of State’s website.
Forms and Required Documentations
The completed forms and the following documentation need to be submitted to the U.S. Citizens Services Unit of the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo in order to determine if your application complies with all legal requirements:
- Applicant’s original foreign (in this case Dominican) legalized and in-extensa birth certificate.
Dominican birth certificates come in various formats: a half-sheet used for enrolling in school, an abstract (Extracto de Acta) of just the major points of information, and the complete, full-length format (Acta in Extensa). Only birth certificates in extensa will be accepted.
- Copy of Baptismal certificate.
- Copy of the parents’ legalized Dominican, official U.S. or other marriage certificate for current marriage (if applicable). Bring originals to interview.
- Documentary evidence of termination of any previous marriages of either parent (e.g. divorce decree, death certificate, etc.), if applicable.
- Copy of the applicant’s legalized Dominican or other marriage certificate for current marriage (if applicable). Bring originals to interview.
- Documentary evidence of termination of any previous marriages of applicant (e.g. divorce decree, death certificate, etc.), if applicable.
Dominican Civil Documents: In the Dominican Republic, birth, marriage, divorce and death records are obtained from the local registry office (Oficialia del Registro Civil) closest to the place where the event took place. However, such documents must be brought to the central registry office (Oficina Central del Registro Civil) at the electoral commission (Junta Central Electoral) in Santo Domingo to be legalized by verifying them against the duplicate records kept there. Only legalized Dominican civil documents-signed, stamped and sealed on both sides-will be accepted.
- Proof of parent’s or parents’ U.S. citizenship (e.g. certified copy of U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, etc.)
- Proof of parents’ (in case they are both U.S. citizens) or parent’s identity: Photo ID (drivers license, state ID, etc). In case U.S. citizen parents or parent are/is deceased, must bring the official death certificate/s.
- Any other original document from the United States, Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic establishing the identity of the applicant and its relationship with his/her U.S. citizen father/mother.
- Proof of applicant’s identity: Dominican cedula.
- Certificate from the Electoral Central Office (Junta Central Electoral) indicating the date in which applicant obtained his/her Dominican ID (Cedula) for the first time.
- Certificate from the office of Dominican Immigration Authorities (Migración Dominicana) indicating the date of arrival to the Dominican Republic of the U.S. citizen father/mother.
- Application form DS-11 completed ONLINE and printed. Hand-written filled application forms are NOT accepted. Applications are NOT to be signed until you are requested to do so by a Consular Officer.
- Two 2″ by 2″ (5 cm x 5 cm) color photos (front view, full face and plain white or off-white background).
- Fees: Persons over 18 years of age who are documented for the first time as having previously acquired U.S. citizenship pay $145.00 or the equivalent in pesos, in addition to the courier service that delivers the documents to any city within the Dominican Republic.
Note: Depending on the circumstances of your case, it is possible that you may be asked to present evidences of physical presence in the United States from your U. S. citizen father/mother.
Other: The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that both a blood and a legal relationship exist between the applicant and the U.S. citizen parent. The burden of proof is upon the applicant to establish a claim to U.S. citizenship. For example, if a child is born out-of-wedlock, the U.S. citizen father must provide proof of access to the mother at the probable time of conception. Similarly, in unusual circumstances, such as in vitro fertilization cases, surrogate mother cases, etc., additional evidence may be required.