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Who is a Citizen of the United States from Birth
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution defines provides a framework for determining who is a citizen of the United States. This amendment states: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." This page discusses who is a U.S. citizen at birth.
If a child is born in the United States, that child is a citizen of the United States. Even if the child's parent does not have legal status in the United States, the child is a U.S. citizen. The only exception is for children born of foreign diplomats, who are not considered citizens of the United States even if born in the country.
If a child is born outside of the United States to one or more U.S. citizen parents, that child may be a U.S. citizen at birth. The rules depend on the following:
The following chart describes the rules for a U.S. citizen parent transmitting citizenship to a child born in a foreign country:
If a child is born in a foreign country and the parents do not meet these requirements, there are some special provisions for “expeditious naturalization” if a grandparent was a U.S. citizen, and had resided in the United States for at least 5 years, at least 2 years after the age of 14. This expedited naturalization process must be completed before the child turns 18.