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.