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Eligibility for Citizenship

Transmission Requirements for U.S. Citizenship

Children born abroad to U.S. citizen parents may have a claim to U.S. citizenship. The following is a brief description of the various circumstances under which a child born abroad acquires American citizenship.

Child born in wedlock to two U.S. citizens: A child born outside of the United States or its outlying possessions to two U.S. citizen parents is entitled to citizenship, provided one of the parents had, prior to the birth of the child, been resident in the United States or one of its outlying possessions. (No specific period of time is required.)

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non U.S. citizen parent on or after November 14, 1986: A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. citizen parent may be entitled to citizenship providing the U.S. citizen parent had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for five years, at least two years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen. This period of physical presence must have taken place prior to the birth of the child.

Child born in wedlock to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986: A child born outside of the United States to one U.S. Citizen parent and one non-U.S. Citizen parent, may be entitled to citizenship providing the U.S. Citizen parent had, prior to the birth of the child, been physically present in the United States for a period of ten years, at least five years of which were after s/he reached the age of fourteen.


Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. Citizen mother: A child born outside of the United States and out of wedlock to a U.S. Citizen mother is entitled to U.S. citizenship providing the U.S. Citizen mother had been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least one year at some time prior to the birth of her child. (NOTE: The U.S. citizen mother must have lived continuously for 1 year IN THE UNITED STATES OR ITS OUTLYING POSSESSIONS. Periods spent overseas with the U.S. government/military or as a government/military dependent, may NOT be computed as physical presence in the U.S.).

Child born out of wedlock to a U.S. Citizen father: A child born outside of the United States to an U.S. Citizen father where there is no marriage to the non-American mother is entitled to U.S. Citizenship providing the American citizen father had been physically present in the United States for the period of time as specified in previous paragraphs for children born in wedlock to one U.S. Citizen and one non-U.S. Citizen parent, either before or after November 14, 1986; and

  • the alien mother completes an "Affidavit to establish paternity of child" at this office before a consular officer; and
  • the father signs a sworn statement agreeing to provide financial support for the child until s/he reaches the age of 18 years; and
  • the father provides a written statement acknowledging paternity.

I believe that my child has claim to U.S. Citizenship. What next?

If you believe that your child has a claim to U.S. Citizenship, you may apply to execute an application for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and a passport for your child(ren). This is arranged by appointment only.  It will be necessary for both parents and the child(ren) to appear in person at this office if applying for a CRBA and a passport before a consular officer.  

What if I do not meet the requirements for transmission of citizenship to my child?

It may be possible for your child to apply for expeditious naturalization or an immigrant visa.

I am over the age of 18 and I believe I have a claim to U.S. citizenship. What next?

Please follow link to First-Time Applicants - Over the age of 18 for further instructions.

Physical Presence

  • Physical presence is counted as the time the U.S. citizen parent was actually physically within the borders of the United States or its outlying possessions prior to the birth of the child. If the U.S. citizen parent had residence in the U.S. but spent most of his/her time traveling or living abroad, only the time actually spent in the U.S. counts as physical presence. Return visits of any length to the U.S. count towards calculating physical presence requirements.  However, any periods spent outside the U.S. even for short periods, must not be included when listing physical presence.

    Maintaining a residence in the U.S. does not, in itself, constitute physical presence.  The parent must have been physically present in the U.S. for the required amount of time to fulfil the requirements for transmission of citizenship purposes.

    As evidence you may submit your school/college transcripts, tax returns - W2s, bank statements, your expired passport/s, employment records, etc. 

    Note: Any periods of time spent overseas with the United States Military/Government or qualifying international organization (such as the United Nations) may be computed as physical presence in the United States for transmission of citizenship purposes. In certain circumstances, time spent as a dependent of such person may also be computed as physical presence. Military records or other proof may be requested.

    However, these provisions do not apply in the case of a child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother.  The continuous year (at some time prior to the birth of her child) must be in the United States and may not be satisfied through time as a United States Government employee or dependent overseas.