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I was born Outside the U.S. to a Citizen Father and Alien Mother Out of Wedlock. Am I a Citizen?

Posted by attorney Jeffrey Devore

The answer to this question will depend upon the date you were born. If you were born abroad to a U.S. citizen father and alien mother out of wedlock, apply the chart below to determine whether you acquired U.S. citizenship at birth even though you were born outside the United States:

Date of Birth

Transmission Requirements

(Parents’ Residence) [1]

Retention Requirements [2]

BeforeMay 24, 1934

Legitimated under law of father’s U.S. or foreign domicile. Father resided in the U.S. prior to child’s birth.

None

On or after May 24, 1934 (noon EST)

but beforeJanuary 13, 1941

Legitimated under law of father’s U.S. or foreign domicile. Father resided in the U.S. prior to child’s birth.

1) 5 years or residence between the ages of 13-21 if begun before 12/24/1952; or

2) 2 years of continuous physical presence between ages 14-28; [3] or

3) 5 years continuous physical presence between ages 14-28 if begun before 10/27/1972. [4]

4) None if parent employed in certain occupation. [5]

5) None if alien parent naturalized and child began to reside permanently in the U.S. while under the age of 18.

On or afterJanuary 13, 1941,

but beforeDecember 24, 1952

1a) Father physically present in U.S. or possession 10 years prior to child’s birth, 5 of which must be after the age of 14. Honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. government or intergovernmental international organization, or as dependent unmarried son or daughter and member of household of a parent in such service or employment may be included; and

1b) Paternity established before age 21 by the legitimation law of father’s or child’s residence/domicile; or

2a) Father resided in U.S. or possession 10 years prior to child’s birth, 5 of which after the age of 16; and

2b) Paternity established during minority by legitimation or court adjudication before 12/24/1952.

1) 2 years of continuous physical presence between ages 14-28; [6] or

2) 5 years continuous physical presence between ages 14-28 if begun before 10/27/1972. [7]

3) None if parent employed in certain occupation. [8]

4) None if child born on or after 10/10/1952.

5) None if alien parent naturalized and child began to reside permanently in the U.S. while under the age of 18.

On or afterDecember 24, 1952,

throughNovember 14, 1968

1) Father physically present in U.S. or possession 10 years prior to child’s birth, 5 of which must be after the age of 14. Honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. government or intergovernmental international organization, or as dependent unmarried son or daughter and member of household of a parent in such service or employment may be included; and

2) Paternity established under age 21 by the legitimation law of father’s or child’s residence/domicile.

None

AfterNovember 14, 1968,

throughNovember 14, 1971

1) Father physically present in U.S. or possession 10 years prior to child’s birth, 5 of which must be after the age of 14. Honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. government or intergovernmental international organization, or as dependent unmarried son or daughter and member of household of a parent in such service or employment may be included; and

2a) Blood relationship established between father and child, father a U.S. citizen at time of child’s birth (father, unless deceased) agrees in writing to support child until 18 years, and while child is under 18 years: (i) child is legitimated; (ii) father acknowledges paternity, or (iii) paternity established by court adjudication, or

2b) Paternity established under age 21 by the legitimation law of father’s or child’s residence/domicile.

None

AfterNovember 11, 1971,

but beforeNovember 14, 1986

1) Father physically present in U.S. or possession 10 years prior to child’s birth, 5 of which must be after the age of 14. Honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. government or intergovernmental international organization, or as dependent unmarried son or daughter and member of household of a parent in such service or employment may be included; and

2) Blood relationship established between father and child, father a U.S. citizen at time of child’s birth (father, unless deceased) agrees in writing to support child until 18 years, and while child is under 18 years: (i) child is legitimated; (ii) father acknowledges paternity, or (iii) paternity established by court adjudication.

None

On or after November 14, 1986

1) Father physically present in U.S. or possession 5 years prior to child’s birth, 2 of which must be after the age of 14. Honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. government or intergovernmental international organization, or as dependent unmarried son or daughter and member of household of a parent in such service or employment may be included; and

2) Blood relationship established between father and child, father a U.S. citizen at time of child’s birth (father, unless deceased) agrees in writing to support child until 18 years, and while child is under 18 years: (i) child is legitimated; (ii) father acknowledges paternity, or (iii) paternity established by court adjudication.

None

[1] In all cases residence must take place prior to the child’s birth. The law does not define how long residence must be.

[2] Persons failing to fulfill below requirements may have U.S. citizenship restored upon taking oath of allegiance.

[3] Absences of less than 60 days in aggregate during the 2 year period do not beak continuity.

[4] Absences of less than one year in aggregate during the 5 year period do not break continuity.

[5] U.S. Government, American education, scientific, philanthropic, religious, commercial, or financial organization or an International agency in which the U.S. takes part.

[6] Absences of less than 60 days in aggregate during the 2 year period do not beak continuity.

[7] Absences of less than one year in aggregate during the 5 year period do not break continuity.

[8] U.S. Government, American education, scientific, philanthropic, religious, commercial, or financial organization or an International Agency in which the U.S. takes part.

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