Transmitting Citizenship

A child born abroad acquires U.S. citizenship at birth if the parent or parents of the child meet the conditions prescribed in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The U.S. Department of State interprets the INA to mean that a child born abroad must be genetically or gestationally related to a U.S. citizen parent or to a non-U.S. citizen parent who is married to a U.S. citizen parent at the time of the child’s birth. The parent must meet the following statutory transmission requirements of INA 301 or 309 in order for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship at birth:

  • At least one parent having the nationality of the United States at the time of the child’s birth;
  • The existence of a genetic or gestational relationship between the child and U.S. citizen parent(s), such as
      • A U.S. citizen father who is the genetic father of the child may transmit citizenship to the child if he meets all other statutory requirements in order to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child at birth.
      • A U.S. citizen mother who is the genetic or the gestational and legal mother of the child may transmit U.S. citizenship to the child if she meets all other statutory requirements in order to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child at birth. A gestational mother is the woman who carries and gives birth to the child.
      • A U.S. citizen parent who is not genetically or gestationally related to the child may transmit citizenship to the child if they are, at the time of the child’s birth, married to a parent who has a genetic or gestational connection to the child. They must also meet all other statutory requirements in order to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child at birth.
  • Documentary evidence demonstrating the U.S. citizen parent(s)’ presence in the United States prior to the child’s birth, as specified in the Transmission Requirements.

Examples of Documentation

Some examples of documentary evidence which may be considered to demonstrate that physical presence requirements have been met may include (but are not limited to):

  • Wage and tax statements (W-2)
  • Academic transcripts
  • Employment records
  • Rental receipts
  • Records of honorable U.S. military service, employment with U.S. Government or certain intergovernmental international organizations; or as a dependent, unmarried child and member of the household of a parent in such service or employment (except where indicated).
  • U.S. passport stamps may be considered a part of submitted evidence but should not be the sole documentary evidence.
  • Note: Drivers’ licenses do not constitute evidence of physical presence.

If you have other children who have been issued with a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, this may be considered as supplemental evidence. Please also read important information regarding Supporting Documents.