Transmitting Citizenship

Transmission of U.S. citizenship depends on:

  1. At least one parent having the nationality of the United States at the time of the child’s birth;
  2. The existence of a blood relationship between the child and U.S. citizen parent(s);
  3. Documentary evidence demonstrating the U.S. citizen parent(s)’ presence in the United States prior to the child’s birth, as specified below.

Examples of Documentation

Some examples of documentary evidence which may be considered to demonstrate that physical presence requirements have been met may include (but are not limited to):
  • Wage and tax statements (W-2)
  • Academic transcripts
  • Employment records
  • Rental receipts
  • Records of honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. Government or certain intergovernmental international organizations; or as a dependent, unmarried child and member of the household of a parent in such service or employment (except where indicated).
  • U.S. passport stamps may be considered a part of the evidence submitted, but should not be the sole documentary evidence. Drivers’ licenses do not constitute evidence of physical presence.

If you have other children who have been issued with a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, this may be considered as supplemental evidence. Please also read important information regarding Supporting Documents.

Transmission Requirements

If parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, but only one is a U.S. Citizen, the U.S. Citizen parent must have had physical presence in the U.S. or its possessions for at least five years, two of which must be after the age of 14. (This is only for children born on or after November 14, 1986).

If parents are unmarried at time of child’s birth, the mother is a U.S. citizen and the father is a non-U.S. citizen, the mother must have had physical presence in the U.S. or its possession for one continuous year. (For Children born on or after December 24, 1952.).

For children born on or after June 12, 2017, if parents are unmarried at time of child’s birth, the mother is a U.S. citizen and the father is a non-U.S. citizen, the mother must have had physical presence in the U.S. or its possession for five years, two of which were after the age of 14.

For children born on or after November 14, 1986: If parents are unmarried at the time of the child’s birth, the father is a U.S. citizen and the mother is a non-U.S. citizen, the father must have had physical presence in the U.S. or its possessions for five years, two years of which were after the age of 14; and blood relationship established between father and child; and father (unless deceased) agrees in writing, prior to the child turning 18, to support child until age 18; and while child is under age 18:

  • Child is legitimated, or
  • Father acknowledges paternity under oath, or
  • Paternity established by court adjudication.

For information on Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by a Child Born Abroad, visit travel.state.gov.