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Establishing U.S. citizenship at birth

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2020 | Immigration Law

Individuals born in Kentucky, as well as other parts of the United States, are citizens from birth. This standard for citizenship includes people born to indigenous tribes in the country.

Immigration law also provides a path to citizenship at birth for individuals born outside of the country to one or more parents who are citizens of the United States. The citizen parent needs only to meet the applicable physical presence requirements either within U.S. borders or outlying possession of the country before the birth of the child.

When children are born in wedlock

The least complicated path to citizenship at birth for children born outside of U.S. jurisdiction is when both parents are citizens, and one of them resides within the United States.

A child born in another country to one citizen parent and one naturalized parent can become a citizen at birth. The citizen parent only needs to show proof that they previously lived in the United States for at least one continuous year.

Children born abroad with one citizen parent and one parent alien to the country can also become a U.S. citizen at birth. In these cases, the citizen parent must show they maintained a past physical presence within a U.S. jurisdiction for no less than five years. Two of the five years must include time spent in the country after the citizen parent was 14 years of age.

When children are born out of wedlock

The same general requirements for a child born overseas to become a citizen at birth when parents are married apply to children born to unmarried parents. In cases where the citizen parent is the father, clear proof of paternity is necessary. The father of the child must also provide written notice of an intent to support the child until he or she reaches adulthood.

When a child is born overseas to a mother who is a U.S. citizen, the mother only needs to demonstrate they satisfy the physical presence requirements.

Immigration regulations in the United States represent a complex set of laws that can become difficult to navigate. Individuals and families may benefit from speaking to an immigration attorney.