Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. – Andrew Jackson
In today’s difficult immigration times, it is crucial that anyone eligible for U.S. citizenship apply as soon as possible. An individual can become a U.S. citizen either by birth or through naturalization. A naturalized person is an individual who is not born in the U.S. but acquires citizenship through the application. In American society, being a U.S. citizen provides some benefits. As a U.S. citizen, a person can vote, sponsor relatives, and be entitled to social security and welfare benefits; also, unlike permanent residents, citizens cannot be deported, even if he or she is charged with a serious crime, under most circumstances.
WHO IS CONSIDERED AS A “BORN” UNITED STATES CITIZEN?
Generally, people are born U.S. citizens if they are born in the U.S. or if they are born to U.S. citizen parents:
- By being born in the U.S. if you were born in the U.S.(including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are an American citizen at birth (unless you were born to a foreign diplomat). Your birth certificate is proof of your citizenship;
- Through birth abroad to TWO U.S.citizen parents: in most cases, you are aU.S.citizen if ALL of the following are true:
- Both your parents were U.S. citizens when you were born;
- At least one of your parents lived in the U.S. at some point in their life;
- 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. If you need additional proof of your citizenship, you may file an Application for a Certificate of Citizenship or Form N-600, to get a Certificate of Citizenship.
- Through birth abroad to ONE U.S.citizen parent: 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 in the U.S. for at least 5 years before you were born and at least 2 of those 5 years in the U.S. 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. If you need additional proof of your citizenship, you may file an Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to get a Certificate of Citizenship.