In many cases, you are a U.S. citizen if you were born abroad to at least one parent that was a U.S. citizen. If you were born abroad to TWO U.S. citizens and at least one of your parents lived in the United States at some point in his or her life, then in most cases you are a U.S. citizen. If you were born abroad to ONE U.S. citizen, in most cases, you are a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true:
- One of your parents was a U.S. citizen when you were born;
- Your citizen parent lived at least 5 years in the United States before you were born; and
- At least 2 of those 5 years in the United States were after your citizen parent’s 14th birthday.
Your record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of your citizenship. You may also apply for a passport to have your citizenship recognized.
Obtaining U.S. citizenship based on the described circumstances is known as "acquisition of citizenship." If you believe that you may be a U.S. citizen through acquisition, do not file N-400, Application for Naturalization. Rather, you may be able to file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, to obtain proof of your citizenship. Because the laws governing citizenship through acquisition have changed several times and the applicable law depends on the date of the child's birth, this can be a complicated process. Therefore, CitizenPath recommends that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney before filing Form N-600 on your own.