USCIS Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
An official website of the United States government    
Here's how you know
Español
I am the Child of a U.S. Citizen
Citizenship Through U.S. Parents
There are two general ways to obtain citizenship through U.S. citizen parents: at birth, and after birth but before the age of 18. Congress has enacted laws that determine how citizenship is conveyed by a U.S. citizen parent (or parents) to children born outside of the United States.
Who May Qualify for Acquisition of Citizenship
The law in effect at the time of birth determines whether someone born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent (or parents) is a U.S. citizen at birth. In general, these laws require that at least one parent was a U.S. citizen, and the U.S. citizen parent had lived in the United States for a period of time.
In addition, children born abroad may become U.S. citizens after birth. For information and eligibility requirements for specific time periods, see the USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 12, Part H, Children of U.S. Citizens.
Close All
Open All
Definition of Child
Children of U.S. Citizens Residing in the United States
Children of U.S. Citizens Residing Outside the United States
Close All
Open All
Last Reviewed/Updated:
07/05/2020
Return to top
Contact USCIS
USCIS.gov
An official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
About USCIS
Accessibility
Budget and Performance
DHS Components
Freedom of Information Act
No FEAR Act Data
Privacy and Legal Disclaimers
Site Map
Office of the Inspector General
The White House
USA.gov
Skip to main contentCitizenship Resource CenterInteragency Strategy for Promoting NaturalizationNew U.S. CitizensLearn About CitizenshipShould I Consider U.S. Citizenship?Naturalization Eligibility ToolCitizenship and NaturalizationI am a Lawful Permanent Resident of 5 YearsI am Married to a U.S. CitizenI am the Child of a U.S. Citizen10 Steps to NaturalizationThe Naturalization Interview and TestNaturalization CeremoniesCommonly Asked QuestionsApply for CitizenshipExceptions and AccommodationsFree Naturalization Information SessionsFind Help in Your CommunityThe 2020 Version of the Civics TestStudy for the Test (2020 version)Find Study Materials and ResourcesStudy for the Test (2008 version)Test Yourself! 2008 Civics Practice TestCheck for Test UpdatesCitizenship Multilingual ResourcesResources for Educational ProgramsEducational Products for Educators and Program AdministratorsRegister for Teacher TrainingCivic IntegrationLearn About the Citizenship and Integration Grant ProgramSuccess Stories from Grant RecipientsFiscal Year 2021 Citizenship and Integration Grant ProgramSettling in the U.S.Support Your CommunityOutstanding Americans by ChoiceOutreach ToolsCitizenship Public Education and Awareness CampaignLearn About the Civics and Citizenship ToolkitRegister for a Civics and Citizenship ToolkitSet Up a Citizenship CornerLibrariesMuseumsCommunity-Based OrganizationsLocal GovernmentsEmployersNaturalization Statistics
HomeCitizenship Resource CenterLearn About CitizenshipCitizenship and Naturalization
TopicsFormsNewsroomCitizenshipGreen CardLawsTools