Is your child a U.S. citizen if born abroad?

The Child Citizenship Act, 2001 sought to streamline the procedure for giving citizenship to children of American citizens who were born abroad.

Between 4 million and 10 million Americans are thought to reside overseas. Some of these Americans also have children living in their present country of residence.

Typically, an American citizen is granted to a kid born abroad to a parent who is a citizen of the United States. Naturally, Uncle Sam has put up greater barriers in certain circumstances than others. The best place to turn for information on this bureaucratic circus is your neighborhood embassy or consulate.

What is U.S. citizenship?

The “right of soil” principle from English common law is used in America. In a nutshell, a person’s location of birth determines their citizenship. Regardless of their parents’ nationality, those born in the United States or its territories (such as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam) are entitled to citizenship.

A citizen of the United States is someone who was born there or within 12 nautical miles of its borders. Even infants born on aircraft traveling over the United States or its territories become citizens of the country. The nation of origin of the ship or aircraft has no bearing on citizenship.

However, American sites abroad are not seen as being a part of the US. Therefore, giving birth at a U.S. naval installation or consulate abroad does not grant the baby to U.S. citizenship.

What is the Child Citizenship Act?

The February 2001 Child Citizenship Act (CCA) streamlined the procedure even if the “citizenship by birth” regulations had previously been complicated. Now, a minor who was born abroad and has at least one parent who is a citizen of the United States automatically becomes a citizen of the United States upon entering the nation as an immigrant. No further documentation is required. If the parent wants official documentation of the child’s citizenship, they can ask for a Certificate of Citizenship and a passport.

However, this procedure only applies to kids who live continuously in the United States. If the minor child was born outside of the country but is now living in another country under the physical and legal custody of a parent or grandparent who is a citizen of the United States, the parent or grandparent must petition for the child’s naturalization. There are more requirements as well.

  • The kid must be temporarily present in the United States for the naturalization procedure and to take the oath of allegiance.
  • The U.S. citizen parent or grandparent must have been physically present in the country for five years prior to the child’s birth, at least two of which were after the age of 14. Of course, this obligation may be removed if the kid is too young to comprehend the oath.

The newborns who were born abroad and are currently foreign residents get a citizenship certificate during this event, as well as admission to a select group. It appears that these new Americans won’t become president because the Constitution stipulates that only “natural born” citizens may occupy our highest office.

Citizenship rules change

The rules frequently change, just like they do in other aspects of immigration and citizenship. As a result, these guidelines only apply to kids who were born on or after the CCA’s effective date. Immigration is governed by the legislation in effect at the time of the child’s birth, so do your homework.

The most recent legislation may be found by consulting your local embassy if you are expecting a child overseas and want to be certain of your kid’s citizenship. In any event, the first step in proving your child’s claim to U.S. citizenship at birth is to register their birth with the embassy as soon as you can.