In certain instances, children may automatically derive U.S. citizenship or acquire U.S. citizenship.  The two terms are different.  It is important to understand which situation may pertain to the particular circumstance of you or a loved one.  

Generally speaking, a child born outside the United states to one or both parents who are U.S. citizens may acquire U.S. citizen at birth.  This is called acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth.  There are various requirements that can be complicated, including physical presence requirements of the parent and whether the parents were married at the time of the child's birth.  

In other instances, a child born outside the United States may become at U.S. citizen by his or her parent or parents' birth or naturalization.  This is called derivation of U.S. citizenship.  

Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, certain foreign born children may derive U.S. citizenship in the following circumstances: 

 • one parent is a citizen by birth or naturalization; 
 • the child was under 18 at the time of the parent's naturalization;
 • the child is residing in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident; and,
 • the child is residing in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent.  

An adopted child can also derive U.S. citizenship if he or she meets the necessary requirements.  

Contact Wilson Law Group today to discover if acquisition or derivation of U.S. citizenship is an option for you or a loved one.