Children born outside the U.S. or its outlying possessions are Americans by law when:
- Both parents are Americans and one parent has resided in the U.S. or its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth.
- One parent is a citizen and the other an alien, if the citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for a period of five years, two of which occurred after the age of 14, and the child was born after 02.07 E.S.T. on November 14, 1986; or ten years, five of which occurred after the age of 14, if the child was born before 02.07 E.S.T., November 14, 1986.
- If the child’s father is American, the mother is an alien and the parents are not married the child must be legitimized by the biological father before the child’s 18th birthday. Documentation of this official and legal recognition must be provided, as well as an affidavit of paternity and a written agreement to provide financial support until the child’s 18th birthday. DNA testing may also be required, and all costs incurred are borne by the applicant. In such cases, we need all documents available in order to assist you.
- In all of these cases, the physical presence of the American parent(s) in the United States prior to the child’s birth MUST BE DOCUMENTED.
- If your child was born under the above circumstances, he or she may be eligible for registration. In certain cases when the U.S. citizen parent of a child born abroad does not satisfy the physical presence requirement to transmit citizenship, the child may benefit from the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. This law expedites U.S. citizenship for non-citizen children of Americans when they come to the United States with immigrant visas.