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Susan Pai is admitted to the Washington State Bar, not the Florida Bar Attorney Pai's Florida legal practice is limited exclusively to Immigration & Nationality law

Derivative US Citizenship

If One of Your Parents is/was a U.S. Citizen, You Could Be a U.S. Citizen!

These are the questions a qualified immigration attorney will ask you to determine whether you are able to prove derivative citizenship:

1. Were your parents married either before your birth or afterwards?
2. Is your father’s name on your birth certificate?
3. What is your date of birth?
4. Did your mother ever become a U.S. Citizen?
5. Did your U.S. Citizen parent/s live in the United States for at least 10 years or 5 years (depending upon how old you are), and how many of those years living in the U.S. were between the ages of 14/16-28 years? How many after 14/16?
6. Was either parent in the U.S. military?
7. Did your U.S. Citizen parent/s ever take action to claim any rights or obligations to you? If yes, what?
8. Was there ever a court order regarding your U.S. Citizen parent’s relationship to you?
9. Did your U.S. Citizen parent/s ever agree to financially support you in writing or by court order?
10.Was the court ever involved in the relationship or support of your U.S. Citizen parent to you?

Applicants 18 years old and over, born outside the United States, may claim U.S. citizenship from a parent who at the time of the applicant’s birth was a United States citizen.  Once the citizenship claim is established, the applicant qualifies for a first-time U.S. passport.  Applicants 18 years old and over are not eligible for Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issuance.

In order for an adult applicant to claim U.S. citizenship, the applicant must fulfill all of the following three requirements:

1)   Transmission – The U.S. citizen parent(s) must have been a U.S. citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth and have sufficient physical presence in the U.S. to transmit citizenship.  The transmission requirements depend on the date of birth of the applicant and the legal relationship between the parents at the time of the birth of the applicant.  See the Transmission Requirements for Citizenship.

2)   Legitimation – The child/applicant must meet the legal requirements pertaining to legitimation.  A child born to a female U.S. citizen (and a non-U.S. citizen father) is automatically legitimated.  Proof of legitimation is, however, required for a child born to a male U.S. citizen.  Persons born to an in-wedlock U.S. citizen father and non-U.S. citizen mother are legitimated by virtue of the marriage.  Persons born to an out-of-wedlock U.S. citizen father and non-U.S. citizen mother, and not legitimated by the natural parents’ subsequent marriage can be legitimated by the following procedures:

  • While the person is under the age of 18 years old, the father acknowledged paternity of the person in writing under oath or the paternity of the person was established by adjudication of a competent court,  and
  • Before the applicant reached the age of 18, the father (unless deceased before the applicant’s 18th birthday) agreed in writing and under oath to provide financial support for the applicant until the applicant reaches the age of 18 years old.  (NOTE: The father should complete the form “Affidavit of Parentage, Physical Presence and Support” (DS-5507) (PDF 81KB), in conjunction with a CRBA application, to satisfy these requirements.

3)   Filiation – The applicant must establish a biological and legal relationship with the claimed U.S. citizen parent.

Requirements for Derivative Citizenship for Adults

You will be asked to present the following documents at the time of the interview for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. 

  • Photos of applicant.  You will need two (2) identical passport photographs, 2in x 2in (5cm x 5cm) in dimension, set against a white background.  Click here for photo instructions.
  • Unsigned, completed Application for a U.S. Passport (DS-11).  Do not sign this form until so instructed by a Consular Officer.  The form must be completed electronically and printed.  A form completed by hand cannot be accepted.
  • Original birth certificate and one photocopy of the same.  For an applicant born in a country other than the Marshall Islands, please bring the birth certificate issued by the government in the country of birth.
  • Passport/Identification of the applicant.  The applicant must bring his/her passport.  In the absence of a passport, we will accept two other forms of government-issued photo identification. Please bring the original ID and one photocopy of each.
  • Photographs of the applicant at different ages.  These photos should be a sampling that represents the applicant’s physical evolution from infancy to current age.  If possible, the photos should show the applicant and the U.S. citizen parent together.
  • Evidence of parents U.S. citizenship.  The applicant must present proof of citizenship of the U.S. citizen parent.  Possible evidence includes current and expired U.S. passports and Certificates of Naturalization.  Please bring the original, if obtainable, and photocopies of each.
  • Parents’ marriage certificate, if applicable.  Please bring the original Marriage Certificate and one photocopy.
  • If the parents were not married at the time of the birth of the applicant, evidence of Legitimation must be submitted.  Please review the legitimation requirements above for additional details.
  • Divorce and annulment decrees/death certificates, if applicable, and one photocopy of same.  The applicant must show termination of all prior marriages of his/her mother and/or father.  If the U.S. citizen parent is deceased, please provide an original death certificate.  Please bring certified translations if the decrees or certificates are not in English.
  • Death certificate of the U.S. citizen parent, if applicable.  Please bring the original Death Certificate of the applicant’s U.S. citizen parent and one photocopy.
  • Documentary Evidence (original and one photocopy) of U.S. citizen parent’s physical presence in the U.S. The law requires the derivative applicant to present proof that his/her U.S. citizen parent(s) resided physically in the United States for a defined period of time.  Regularly available documents that may establish physical presence in the U.S. before the child’s birth include: Transcripts from High School and/or College, Income Tax Returns and W2s, old passports, and a DD-214 Separation Statement (Military Members only).  There are many other documents that may be submitted to demonstrate previous physical presence in the U.S., and the Consular Officer will evaluate any of these.  Please bring one photocopy of each document to be presented.  See the Transmission Requirements for Citizenship.
  • Evidence of couple’s relationship prior to the conception of the applicant.  The burden of proving a claim to U.S. citizenship, including blood relationship, is on the person making such claim.  Photos prior to the time of conception, letters, and other correspondence, may help to establish the parents’ relationship prior to the conception of the applicant.  Genetic testing is a useful tool for verifying a stated biological relationship when no other form of credible evidence is available in conjunction with a citizenship application.  Note: Do not initiate a DNA Test unless it was recommended by the Embassy for your pending CRBA or Passport application.  A DNA Test that was done independently and not according to Department of State procedures will not be accepted to support a CRBA or Passport application.
  • Receipt of payment of passport application fee (non-refundable).  The fee for an adult passport is $135, and will be paid at the Consular Section on the day of the appointment, in cash.

Florida Legislature Passes SB1718, anti-immigrant legislation