US CITIZENSHIP THROUGH
PARENTS OR GRANDPARENTS
How can your acquire US citizenship through your parents or grandparents?
What if you were born abroad to a U.S. citizen parents? You probably are a U.S. citizen, but you need to get some paperwork to prove this. Or what if you were born abroad and only one of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time? That’s a little trickier. How do you determine if you “acquired” U.S. citizenship at birth through a parent, or if you “derived” U.S. citizenship as a minor through your parent(s)? We simplify the complex laws regarding acquisition and derivation of US citizenship through parents and grandparents so that they are understandable to non-lawyers.
There are 4 Nationality Charts that attorneys use to assist them in such cases. These charts are difficult to find on the USCIS website so we replicate them here so that you can use them to begin your research.
Derivative citizenship laws are one of the most complex areas of immigration law, and Congress has amended these laws multiple times. Fortunately, Attorney Shusterman spent several years as an INS Citizenship Attorney in the 1970s adjudicating N-600 derivative citizenship applications. This experience proven invaluable. Since he entered private practice in 1982, he has helped dozens of clients obtain U.S. citizenship through their parents and grandparents.
Some of these clients were in deportation proceedings, and would have been deported if Attorney Shusterman not been able to prove that they were U.S. citizens even though they were born abroad.
There are multiple strategies for proving that you are a U.S. citizen even though you were not born in the U.S. You may want to apply for a U.S. passport, or alternately, you can apply for a Certificate of Citizenship from the USCIS using form N-600.
US Citizenship Through Parents or Grandparents contains the following topics:
- Obtaining Citizenship Through Parents: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Acquisition of Citizenship for Children Born Overseas (State Department)
- Effect of Grandparent’s Death on Naturalization under INA Section 322 (USCIS) (4-17-03)
- Eligibility of Children Born out of Wedlock for Derivative Citizenship (USCIS) (9-26-03)
- Nationality Chart #1 (USCIS) – Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship of Children Born Abroad in Wedlock
- Nationality Chart #2 (USCIS) – Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship of Children Born Abroad Out of Wedlock
- Nationality Chart #3 (USCIS) – Derivative Citizenship of Children
- Nationality Chart #4 (USCIS) – Section 322 Natural or Adoptive Child of a U.S. Citizen
- Obtaining Citizenship Through Parents, Grandparents & Great-Grandparents (Part I)
- Obtaining Citizenship Through Parents, Grandparents & Great-Grandparents (Part II)
- U.S. Citizenship Based on Your Ancestors (June 2006)
- Citizenship and Nationality (State Department)
- Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (USCIS)
- The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 – How It Works (State Department)
- Nguyen vs. INS Supreme Court Upholds Gender-Based Distinctions In Derivative Citizenship Law (6-11-01)
- How to Obtain Citizenship Through Your Parents and Grandparents
This video explains how to obtain U.S. citizenship through your U.S. citizen parents or grandparents, known as derivative citizenship.
- How to Become a U.S. Citizen (Part 1)
This video explains the basics of applying for U.S. citizenship and answers questions such as: How long do you have to have a green card to apply? Do you qualify as a person of “good moral character”?
- How to Become a U.S. Citizen (Part 2)
In the second part of this video, Attorney Shusterman answers more questions, including: Can you become a dual citizen? Should you go to the interview alone or should you hire an attorney to come with you?