Do You Qualify as a Citizen of the United States through Your Parents?

In the citizenship context, the term “parent” means, the “genetic father, the genetic mother, and the non-genetic gestational mother, if she is the legal parent at the time of birth” under Texas Law.

According to Chapter 3 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a person born in the United States, who is subject to United States jurisdiction, is a U.S. citizen at birth.

A child born outside of the U.S. may acquire citizenship at birth if he or she has at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen and the citizen-parent meets specific residence and physical presence requirements in the U.S. or an outlying possession before the child’s birth.

When a child is born outside of the United States, the process for naturalization through parentage is different for the children of married parents and those born out of wedlock.

A child born to two U.S. parents who are not married is considered a U.S. citizen based on the U.S. citizenship status of either the mother or the father. If the child has a U.S. citizen father, then he or she must show the following:

  • that a blood relationship exists, by clear and convincing evidence;
  • that the child’s father was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth;
  • that the child’s father agreed to provide financial support for the child until he or she reached 18 years old; and
  • that the child was acknowledged or legitimized.

The standard is slightly different when the U.S. citizen parent is the mother. A child born out of wedlock acquires citizenship under the following circumstances:

  • the child was born after December 23, 1952;
  • the child’s mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth; and
  • the child’s U.S. citizen mother was physically present in the U.S. or a U.S. territory for one continuous year before the child’s birth.

If you need help understanding how naturalization through parentage works, reach out to our The Woodlands attorney for naturalization.

Click here to learn more about the naturalization process.