FAQs About Children Born Abroad to a
U.S. Citizen Parent or Grandparent
Your child may be a U.S. citizen if you meet the
requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act to transmit
citizenship. Please consult our
citizenship chart for a
simplified version of these requirements.
If the child’s parents are both U.S. citizens, a
foreign-born child would be a U.S. citizen if:
- at least one of the parents resided in the
United States or a U.S. possession prior to the child's birth; and,
- the child was born in wedlock.
If one parent is not a U.S. citizen, the U.S.
citizen parent must have lived in the United States for a specific
period of time before the child was born to transmit citizenship. For
children born on or after November 14, 1986, the U.S. citizen parent
must have lived in the United States or an outlying possession for five
years, of which two years had to be after the age of 14, prior to the
birth of the child. For children born before that date, please consult
our citizenship chart for the transmission requirements.
A change in the law in 1994 enabled a
U.S. citizen parent to apply for “expeditious naturalization” for a
If the parent and child are living in the United
States and the child entered the United States with a U.S. immigrant
visa as a permanent resident, you can apply at the
USCIS district office with
jurisdiction over your place of residence in the United States.
If the parent and child are residing abroad, the
child may be eligible for expeditious naturalization if the child's U.S.
citizen grandparent was physically present in the United States for a
period totaling five years, and at least two years after the age of 14.
The grandparent can be living or deceased at the time of the
application. If deceased, the grandparent must have been a citizen prior
to the child's birth and at the time of the grandparent's death.
Yes. You must file an application with a
USCIS field office in the United States.
The USCIS will determine whether your child is eligible. If the child
is eligible, the USCIS will approve the application and forward you a
letter and naturalization appointment date. You can present the USCIS
approval and appointment letter to the U.S. embassy or consulate where
you are living. The U.S. embassy or consulate will issue the child a
B‑2 visitor visa. This process allows parents to visit the United States
to naturalize their child as a U.S. citizen.
naturalization benefit to be granted, the application must be filed,
adjudicated and approved by USCIS, with the oath of allegiance
administered, before the child's 18th birthday.