Provisions of U. S. law regarding transmission of United States citizenship

The following information summarizes key provisions of U.S. law regarding the transmission of citizenship by a U.S. citizen parent or parents to their child born in wedlock outside the United States (please note that separate transmission requirements apply for children born outside of wedlock):

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. These laws on acquisition of U.S. citizenship through a parent have always been based upon the existence of a blood relationship between the child and parent(s) through whom citizenship is claimed.

  • If BOTH your parents were U.S. citizens when you were born, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth, if one parent resided in the Unites States prior to your birth (applies to persons born anytime after 12 Noon Eastern Time, 5/24/34).
  • If you were born on or after 11/14/86, and ONE of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the USA for periods totaling 5 years prior to your birth, at least 2 of which were after their 14th birthday.
  • If you were born on or after 12/24/52 and before 11/14/86, and ONE of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for periods totaling 10 years prior to your birth, at least 5 of which were after their 14th birthday.
  • If you were born on or after 1/13/41 and before 12/24/52, and ONE of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent resided in the United States for periods totaling 10 years prior to your birth, at least 5 of which were after their 16th birthday.
  • If you were born after 12 Noon Eastern Time 5/24/34 and before 1/13/41, and ONE of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent resided in the United States prior to your birth.
  • If you were born before 12 Noon Eastern Time 5/24/34, and ONE of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, you may have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent resided in the United States prior to your birth.