The United States of America is known as the land of the free and home of the brave. It’s a country that many immigrants wish to become part of. Thankfully, there are several paths to citizenship. Many may be wondering the type of American citizenship they should get, the different types of American citizenship, or thinking to themselves, “how do I become an American citizen?”
First off, you can be born in the United States or one of its territories, and it will automatically make you one. Second off, if your parents are U.S. citizens, then that could potentially make you a U.S. citizen as well. Third, through the naturalization process one can become a citizen, which includes applying for and passing a U.S. citizenship test; or, you may be a citizen if one or both of your parents have been naturalized. Keep reading for more information on these different types of American citizenship.
Citizenship by Being Born in the United States
Most of the times, children who are born in the United States or in its territories will automatically receive American citizenship. However, according to Title 8 of the U.S. Code, those who are born to diplomats or other foreign government officials from do not receive U.S. citizenship regardless if they were born on American turf. Anyone born in the United States has a lifelong U.S. citizenship unless it is legally given up through affirmative action, such as an oath.
Citizenship by Being Born to U.S. Citizens
If someone has at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen when they were born, then they are automatically given the status of U.S. citizen due to the process of acquisition. Whether you were born in or out of the United States doesn’t matter. On top of this, if you have any children, they will have U.S. citizenship when they are born because of you. Any children born outside of the U.S. who are adopted by U.S. citizens can claim U.S. citizenship as well.
U.S. laws about citizenship that is received through acquisition are incredibly complex. Not only do they note things such as the citizenship of parents, but also if the child was born to a couple that was not married (wedlock). To see which laws will apply to you or your family, check out the different time frames below:
- 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.
Citizenship by the Process of Derivation and Naturalization of Parents
A child can become a U.S. citizen through the process of derivation. However, this is only if one of his/her parents is becoming a U.S. citizen through the process of naturalization. During this process of the parent(s) becoming naturalized, the child must already have a green card and be under 18 as well as be currently living with their naturalized parent(s) for them to be able to implement these laws.
On top of this, children who become American citizens through this process, do not have to bother applying for a naturalization test in the future. Similar to laws that apply to children who get their citizenship through having parents who are American citizens, there have been many changes to derivation laws over the years. The time period one’s parents were naturalized are crucial to know. These specific timeframes are:
- Before 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 October 5, 1978, and February 26, 2001
- After February 27, 2001
If you ever find yourself involved with immigration issues and need legal counsel that knows the intricacies of U.S. citizenship, put your trust in The Berman Law Group. The driven and experienced South Florida citizenship attorneys at The Berman Law Group are able to represent you if you are ever in legal trouble with immigration. Call us today at (800) 375-5555 for a free consultation.