Under certain circumstances, children born to at least one U.S. citizen parent outside of the United States are also U.S. citizens. At least one parent must have been a U.S. Citizen at the time the child was born.
If you became a U.S. Citizen AFTER your child’s birth, you must apply for your child to become a citizen through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (http://uscis.gov/).
Below are some of the most common ways to transmit U.S. citizenship to children born abroad. Requirements may differ if your child was born before November 14, 1986.
- Children born to two married U.S. citizens: The child is a U.S. citizen if at least one parent has resided in the United States at some time in his or her life prior to the birth of the child.
- Children born to a U.S. citizen married to a non-U.S. citizen:The child is a U.S. citizen if his/her U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for at least five years before his/her birth. Two of the five years must have been after the U.S. citizen parent’s 14th birthday.
- Children born to an unmarried U.S. citizen father and a non-citizen mother:The child may qualify for citizenship if the father was present in the United States before the child’s birth for at least five years, including two years after the age of 14. In addition, before the child’s 18th birthday, the father must sign a statement in front of a notary public or U.S. consular officer acknowledging paternity and agreeing to support the child until he or she turns 18.
- Children born to an unmarried U.S. citizen mother and a non-citizen father between 1986 and June 11, 2017:The child is a U.S. citizen if the mother was physically present in the United States for at least 365 continuous days before the child was born.
- Children born to an unmarried U.S. citizen mother and a non-citizen father after June 11, 2017:The child is a U.S. citizen if the mother was physically present in the United States for at least five years, including two years after the age of 14.
- Children born to two U.S. citizens, not married: Please email ACSBogota@state.gov for specific guidance, and provide the date of the child’s birth
In some cases, time spent overseas working for the U.S government and other organizations may count as physical presence in the U.S.. Other specific laws may also affect citizenship in particular cases.
For more information on these requirements, see Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by a Child Born Abroad. If you think your child may be a U.S. citizen but you are not sure, please contact the Embassy’s American Citizen Services office at ACSBogota@state.gov for guidance.