In general terms, a person can obtain U.S. citizenship through parents or by birth in one of four ways. In the first place is to be born in the United States or one of its territories. In the second place, if one’s parents are U.S. citizens, then one may be a U.S. citizen. This process is called “acquisition” of citizenship. In the third place, you can be a citizen through the naturalization process, which generally involves requesting and approving a citizenship test. Finally, you can become a citizen if one of your parents or both have been naturalized. This is called “derivation” of citizenship or U.S. citizenship Through Parents.
It may seem strange, but many people in the United States have already obtained their american citizenship without knowing it. These people can be grouped generally into three categories.
First, there are people who are born in the United States, but have lived most of his life outside the country. Some of these people mistakenly believe that you can lose your citizenship and naturalization by living outside of the country for a long period, but this is not so.
Then, there are people who are not considered citizens, even when they have ancestors who were U.S. citizens. It may be that, although that individual was born outside of the United States, is a citizen if their parents or grandparents were U.S. citizens.
Finally, some children minor children of naturalized U.S. citizens may incorrectly believe that they are not u.s. citizens. However, when parents become naturalized citizens, the children with green cards will also acquire american citizenship. This is because children under the age of 18 years normally may not apply for citizenship through the naturalization process.
Citizenship by Being Born in the United States
In most situations, any child that is born in the United States or one of its territories will automatically receive american citizenship. However, the children of diplomats and other foreign government officials recognized will not receive the United States citizenship if born in U.S. territory. You can get more information about it in the title 8 of the Code of the United States.
If you were born in the United States, your U.S. citizenship will last a lifetime, unless you waive this by using an affirmative action, such as when presenting an oath.
Citizenship by Being Born to U.S. Citizens
In certain situations, if at least one of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, you automatically get U.S. citizenship through the process of acquisition. It doesn’t matter if you were born in a U.S. territory or abroad. In the same way, if you have children, these would also acquire U.S. citizenship through you when you are born.
The laws pertaining to the citizenship by acquisition are some of the laws in matters of citizenship most complex of all and take into account aspects such as the citizenship of the parents and if the child was born or not in a legitimate marriage. This complexity has not diminished at all because Congress has considerably modified these laws throughout the history. To determine what laws apply in your case or in that of your child, you must first find out what time interval it belongs to:
- Born prior to may 24, 1934
- Born between may 25, 1934 and January 12, 1941
- Born between January 13, 1941 and December 23, 1952
- Born between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986
- Born after November 14, 1986
Derivation of citizenship and naturalization of parents
A child can become a U.S. citizen through the process of derivation if one of his parents becomes a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process. However, at the time of the parent’s naturalization, the child must have a green card, be at least 18 years old and living with the father naturalized to be able to take advantage of these laws. Also, a child who becomes a U.S. resident, by using this special process does not have to go through the process of requesting and approving a naturalization test.
The laws relating to the derivation have changed a lot with the time, such as the laws that govern in the case of children who acquire citizenship at birth of parents of U.S. residents. To find out what type of laws apply in your case, you must find the date your parents were naturalized. The dates are the following:
- Prior to May 24, 1934
- Between May 24, 1934 and January 12, 1941
- Between January 13, 1941 and December 23, 1952
- Between December 24, 1952 and October 4, 1978
- Between the 5 October 1978 and February 26, 2001
- After February 27, 2001
Obtaining proof of citizenship
If you think being a u.s. citizen, you must acquire some type of document check, such as a passport, to make sure you receive all the benefits of citizenship.