San Diego – US Citizenship Through Parents Lawyer
U.S. Citizenship through Parents
For those born on U.S. soil, who were born to U.S. citizen parents, or became a naturalized U.S. citizen and have been living in the United States, they clearly have U.S. citizenship. Citizenship through Parents, a type of derivative citizenship, is one of the most complex areas of immigration law. This is in part, due to Congress amending these laws multiple times. Therefore, it is necessary to look at the law that was in effect on the date of the applicants’s birth (and the parents’ birth, if grandparents were U.S. citizens) for guidance.
Born Outside of the U.S.
If you were born outside of the U.S., it is possible to acquire U.S. citizenship through your parents or grandparents. If you were born abroad to U.S. citizen parents, you probably are a U.S. citizen, but you need to gather specific paperwork to prove this. What if you were born abroad and only one of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time? This is a more complex question. You must determine if you “acquired” U.S. citizenship at birth through a parent, or if you obtained derivative citizenship as a minor through your parent(s). We understand the complex laws regarding acquisition and derivation of U.S. citizenship through parents and grandparents and make them understandable to our clients.
When a parent naturalizes or becomes a U.S. citizen, his or her children may “derive” U.S. citizenship automatically, provided that the parent has a green card and the child is under age 18 and living with the parent at the time. Becoming a U.S. citizen in this way has a special benefit: A child who gets U.S. citizenship through the naturalization of either or both parents does not have to participate in a naturalization ceremony. The laws on the automatic naturalization of children have varied over the years. Whether or not you are a U.S. citizen is determined by the laws that existed when your parent’s naturalization took place.
Proof of Citizenship
If you believe you are a U.S. citizen, you’ll want the documentation to prove it. If you were born on U.S. soil and there is a record of your birth, a standard U.S. birth certificate issued by a state government is your primary proof of U.S. citizenship. (Birth certificates issued by hospitals are not official records and do not serve as proof of citizenship.) If you were naturalized in the United States, you will have a naturalization certificate.
However, if your birth took place outside the territorial United States and you have a right to U.S. citizenship through your parents, you will not have either of these documents. In this case, you will have to apply for either a U.S. passport or a certificate of citizenship.
Parents & Grandparents
Our experience has proven invaluable in helping of clients obtain U.S. citizenship through their parents and grandparents. In some cases, people are U.S. citizens and don’t know it. As an example, you may be a U.S. citizen if you have direct ancestors who were U.S. citizens, even if you were born elsewhere, or if your parents became U.S. citizens when you were a minor. We can assist in determining those factors.
Children & Citizenship
U.S. Citizenship can be granted to a child born outside of the U.S. if one or both of the child’s parents were or are currently U.S. citizens. To prove that a person born outside of the U.S. is eligible to acquire citizenship requires extensive proof be shown. That proof will also need to be in accordance to the law in effect at the time of birth. To acquire citizenship in this way it’s advised that a person applies for both (though only one is required) a Certificate of Citizenship and a U.S. passport.
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