United States nationality law

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This article is about laws regarding U.S. citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_0

For citizenship in general, see Citizenship of the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_1

The United States nationality law is set out in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) which contains a uniform rule of naturalization of the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_2

The 1952 Act sets out the legal requirements for the acquisition and divestiture of U.S. nationality. United States nationality law_sentence_3

The most recent changes to the law were made in 2001. United States nationality law_sentence_4

Constitutional foundation United States nationality law_section_0

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 was enacted pursuant to the power contained in Article 1, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution (also referred to as the Nationality Clause), which grants the Congress the power to "establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization..." United States nationality law_sentence_5

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, besides other things, inserted the Citizenship Clause. United States nationality law_sentence_6

Rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens United States nationality law_section_1

Rights of citizens United States nationality law_section_2

See also: Voting rights in the United States United States nationality law_sentence_7

Adult citizens of the United States who are residents of one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) have the right to participate in the political system of the United States, as well as their state and local governments, (with most states having restrictions on voting by persons convicted of felonies, and a federal constitutional prohibition on naturalized persons running for President and Vice President of the United States), to be represented and protected abroad by the United States (through U.S. embassies and consulates), and to live in the United States and certain territories without any immigration requirements. United States nationality law_sentence_8

Felons can vote in over 40 states, and in at least 2 while incarcerated. United States nationality law_sentence_9

Felons can also serve jury duty if approved. United States nationality law_sentence_10

Responsibilities of citizens United States nationality law_section_3

Some U.S. citizens have the obligation to serve in a jury, if selected and legally qualified. United States nationality law_sentence_11

Citizens are also required (under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code) to pay taxes on their total income from all sources worldwide, including income earned abroad while living abroad. United States nationality law_sentence_12

Under certain circumstances, however, U.S. citizens living and working abroad may be able to reduce or eliminate their U.S. federal income tax via the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion or the Foreign Tax Credit. United States nationality law_sentence_13

U.S. taxes payable may be alternatively reduced by credits for foreign income taxes regardless of the length of stay abroad. United States nationality law_sentence_14

The United States Government also insists that U.S. citizens travel into and out of the United States on a U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_15 passport, regardless of any other nationality they may possess. United States nationality law_sentence_16

Male U.S. citizens (including those living permanently abroad and those with multiple citizenships) from 18–25 years of age are required to register with the Selective Service System at age 18 for possible conscription into the armed forces. United States nationality law_sentence_17

Although no one has been drafted in the U.S. since 1973, draft registration continues in the case of a possible reinstatement on some future date. United States nationality law_sentence_18

In the Oath of Citizenship, immigrants becoming naturalized U.S. citizens swear that when required by law they will bear arms on behalf of the United States, will perform noncombatant service in the U.S. Armed Forces, and will perform work of national importance under civilian direction. United States nationality law_sentence_19

In some cases, the USCIS allows the oath to be taken without the clauses regarding the first two of these three sworn commitments. United States nationality law_sentence_20

Acquisition of citizenship United States nationality law_section_4

There are various ways a person can acquire United States citizenship, either at birth or later on in life. United States nationality law_sentence_21

Birth within the United States United States nationality law_section_5

Main articles: Citizenship Clause, Birthright citizenship in the United States, and Jus soli United States nationality law_sentence_22

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "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." United States nationality law_sentence_23

Because Native American tribes within the geographical boundaries of the U.S. held a special sovereignty status, the tribes were not "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" and thus Native Americans who were born into tribes were not considered citizens, even if they left the tribe and settled in white society, which the Supreme Court upheld in Elk v. Wilkins. United States nationality law_sentence_24

However, in 1924, Congress granted birthright citizenship to Native Americans through the Indian Citizenship Act. United States nationality law_sentence_25

Furthermore, under the Insular Cases, unincorporated U.S. territories and commonwealths are appurtenant to the United States rather than part of the United States, which limits applicability of the U.S. Constitution. United States nationality law_sentence_26

Congress has conferred birthright citizenship, through legislation, to persons born in all inhabited territories except American Samoa and Swains Island, who are granted the status of U.S. Nationals. United States nationality law_sentence_27

(See § Citizenship at birth on the U.S. territories and former U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_28

territories.) United States nationality law_sentence_29

In the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court ruled that a person becomes a citizen of the United States at the time of birth, by virtue of the first clause of the 14th Amendment, if at a minimum that person: United States nationality law_sentence_30

United States nationality law_unordered_list_0

  • Is born in the United StatesUnited States nationality law_item_0_0
  • Has parents that are subjects of a foreign power, but not in any diplomatic or official capacity of that foreign powerUnited States nationality law_item_0_1
  • Has parents that have permanent domicile and residence in the United StatesUnited States nationality law_item_0_2

The Supreme Court has not explicitly ruled whether children born in the United States to immigrants illegally present in the country are U.S. citizens from birth, but it is generally presumed they are. United States nationality law_sentence_31

The constitutional provision reads in pertinent part, "All persons born...in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens...". United States nationality law_sentence_32

Birth certificates from U.S. jurisdictions are therefore proof of citizenship, except where specified otherwise (e.g. in the case of children born to diplomats, who do not fall under United States jurisdiction pursuant to the Vienna Convention, unless one parent is a permanent resident or citizen). United States nationality law_sentence_33

Through birth abroad to United States citizens United States nationality law_section_6

See also: jus sanguinis and Birth certificate § Consular reports of birth for individuals born overseas United States nationality law_sentence_34

Birth abroad to two United States citizens United States nationality law_section_7

A child is automatically granted citizenship if: United States nationality law_sentence_35

United States nationality law_ordered_list_1

  1. Both parents were U.S. citizens at the time of the child's birth;United States nationality law_item_1_3
  2. The parents are married; andUnited States nationality law_item_1_4
  3. At least one parent lived in the United States prior to the child's birth. INA 301(c) and INA 301(a)(3) state, "and one of whom has had a residence."United States nationality law_item_1_5

The FAM (Foreign Affairs Manual) states "no amount of time specified." United States nationality law_sentence_36

Birth abroad to one United States citizen United States nationality law_section_8

A person born on or after November 14, 1986, is a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true: United States nationality law_sentence_37

United States nationality law_ordered_list_2

  1. The person's parents were married at time of birthUnited States nationality law_item_2_6
  2. One of the person's parents was a U.S. citizen when the person in question was bornUnited States nationality law_item_2_7
  3. The citizen parent lived at least five years in the United States before the child's birthUnited States nationality law_item_2_8
  4. A minimum of two of these five years in the United States were after the citizen parent's 14th birthday.United States nationality law_item_2_9

INA 301(g) makes additional provisions to satisfy the physical-presence requirements for periods citizens spent abroad in "honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or periods of employment with the United States Government or with an international organization." United States nationality law_sentence_38

Additionally citizens, who spent time living abroad as the "dependent unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person" in any of the previously mentioned organizations can also be counted. United States nationality law_sentence_39

A person's Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by a U.S. consulate or embassy is proof of citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_40

They may also apply for a passport or a Certificate of Citizenship as proof of citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_41

Different rules apply for persons born abroad to one U.S. citizen before November 14, 1986. United States nationality law_sentence_42

United States law on this subject changed multiple times throughout the twentieth century, and the law is applicable as it existed at the time of the individual's birth. United States nationality law_sentence_43

For persons born between December 24, 1952 and November 14, 1986, a person is a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true: United States nationality law_sentence_44

United States nationality law_ordered_list_3

  1. The person's parents were married at the time of birthUnited States nationality law_item_3_10
  2. One of the person's parents was a U.S. citizen when the person was bornUnited States nationality law_item_3_11
  3. The citizen parent lived at least ten years in the United States before the child's birth;United States nationality law_item_3_12
  4. A minimum of 5 of these 10 years in the United States were after the citizen parent's 14th birthday.United States nationality law_item_3_13

For persons born to two people who are not married to each other, the person is a U.S. citizen if all the following apply: United States nationality law_sentence_45

United States nationality law_ordered_list_4

  1. the mother (or the father, if child was born on or after June 12, 2017) was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person's birth, andUnited States nationality law_item_4_14
  2. the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person's birth. (For those born prior to June 11, 2017 to a U.S. father out of wedlock, see link.United States nationality law_item_4_15

Adoption United States nationality law_section_9

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), which went into effect on February 27, 2001, amends the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to provide U.S. citizenship to certain foreign-born children—including adopted children—of U.S. citizens. United States nationality law_sentence_46

Naturalization United States nationality law_section_10

A person who was not born a U.S. citizen may acquire U.S. citizenship through a process known as naturalization. United States nationality law_sentence_47

Eligibility for naturalization United States nationality law_section_11

See also: Ideological restrictions on naturalization in U.S. law United States nationality law_sentence_48

To become a naturalized United States citizen, one must be at least eighteen years of age at the time of filing, a legal permanent resident (or non-citizen national) of the United States, and have had a status of a legal permanent resident in the United States for five years before they apply. United States nationality law_sentence_49

(This 5-year requirement is reduced to three years if they (a) acquired legal permanent resident status, (b) have been married to and living with a citizen for the past three years and (c) the spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least three years prior to the applicant applying for naturalization.) United States nationality law_sentence_50

They must have been physically present for at least 30 months of 60 months prior to the date of filing their application. United States nationality law_sentence_51

Also during those 60 months if the legal permanent resident was outside of the U.S. for a continuous period of 6 months or more they are disqualified from naturalizing (certain exceptions apply for those continuous periods of six months to 1 year). United States nationality law_sentence_52

The territory of the United States, for the purposes of determining one's period of residence, includes the fifty states, District Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. United States nationality law_sentence_53

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has been added to this list effective November 28, 2009. United States nationality law_sentence_54

Prior to that date, residence in the CNMI normally did not count as residence in the United States for naturalization purposes. United States nationality law_sentence_55

American Samoa is not included into the territory of the United States for the purposes of determining one's period of residence (unless the person being naturalized is a US national, rather than a permanent resident alien; see below). United States nationality law_sentence_56

An applicant for citizenship must be a "person of good moral character", and must pass a test on United States history and government. United States nationality law_sentence_57

Most applicants must also have a working knowledge of the English language. United States nationality law_sentence_58

There are exceptions, introduced in 1990, for long-resident older applicants and those with mental or physical disabilities. United States nationality law_sentence_59

Some exemptions from permanent residency exist for certain qualifying naturalization applicants. United States nationality law_sentence_60

For example, an undocumented immigrant who served in the US military during a designated period of hostility may naturalize without having first been a permanent resident. United States nationality law_sentence_61

An immigrant who successfully completes the MAVNI program may naturalize in 10 weeks without first having been a permanent resident. United States nationality law_sentence_62

Similarly, an immigrant who has made extraordinary contributions can be exempted from residency as well as the physical presence requirement and prohibitions for support of totalitarianism and or communism. United States nationality law_sentence_63

Before 1906, all municipal courts, county courts, state courts, and federal courts in the U.S. had the authority to grant U.S. citizenship to an individual. United States nationality law_sentence_64

A non-citizen U.S. national (see below) is also eligible for naturalization after becoming a resident of any state. United States nationality law_sentence_65

For such persons (unlike most other applicants for naturalization), time spent in American Samoa counts as time spent in the United States for the purposes of determining residence and physical presence. United States nationality law_sentence_66

Citizenship test United States nationality law_section_12

The entire citizenship test is in the form of a one-on-one interview. United States nationality law_sentence_67

The citizenship test has four components: a speaking/comprehension test, a reading test, a writing test and a civics test. United States nationality law_sentence_68

For the civics test, applicants for citizenship are asked ten questions, and must answer at least six with the expected answers. United States nationality law_sentence_69

U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_70

Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a list of 100 sample questions (with the answers that should be given when taking the test), from which the questions asked are always drawn. United States nationality law_sentence_71

The full list of questions is in the document "A Guide to Naturalization", available for free from the USCIS. United States nationality law_sentence_72

The test examines the applicant's knowledge of American society and the English language. United States nationality law_sentence_73

Sample questions and answers are published by the USCIS in English, Spanish, and Chinese. United States nationality law_sentence_74

Besides passing the citizenship test, citizenship applicants must also satisfy other specific requirements of naturalization to successfully obtain U.S. citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_75

Eligibility for public office United States nationality law_section_13

A person who becomes a U.S. citizen through naturalization is not considered a natural born citizen. United States nationality law_sentence_76

Consequently, naturalized U.S. citizens are not eligible to become President of the United States or Vice President of the United States, which would ordinarily be the case as established by the Presidential Succession Act. United States nationality law_sentence_77

For example, though the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Labor are tenth and eleventh in the presidential line of succession, Elaine Chao and Carlos Gutierrez (respectively former U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_78

Secretaries of Labor and Commerce under President George W. Bush) would have been unable to succeed to the presidency because they became U.S. citizens through naturalization. United States nationality law_sentence_79

The highest-ranking naturalized citizens to have been excluded from the Presidential Line of Succession were Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, each of whom would have been fourth in line as Secretary of State had they been natural born citizens. United States nationality law_sentence_80

Whether this restriction applies to children born to non-U.S. citizens but adopted as minors by U.S. citizens is a matter of some debate, since the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 is ambiguous as to whether acquisition of citizenship by that route is to be regarded as naturalized or natural-born. United States nationality law_sentence_81

Those who argue that the restriction does not apply point out that the child automatically becomes a citizen even though violating every single requirement of eligibility for naturalization, and thus the case falls closer to the situation of birth abroad to U.S. citizens than to naturalization. United States nationality law_sentence_82

Some argue that the phrase "natural born citizen" describes a category of citizenship distinct from that described by the phrase "U.S. Citizen" in Article Two of the United States Constitution, and this was discussed during the constitutional convention of 1787. United States nationality law_sentence_83

While it is true that "natural born citizen" is not defined anywhere within the text of the Constitution and that the Constitution makes use of the phrase "citizen" and "natural born citizen", Supreme Court decisions from United States v. Wong Kim Ark to the present have considered the distinction to be between natural-born and naturalized citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_84

In her 1988 article in the Yale Law Journal, Jill Pryor wrote, "It is well settled that 'native-born' citizens, those born in the United States, qualify as natural born. United States nationality law_sentence_85

It is also clear that persons born abroad of alien parents, who later become citizens by naturalization, do not. United States nationality law_sentence_86

But whether a person born abroad of American parents, or of one American and one alien parent, qualifies as natural born has never been resolved." United States nationality law_sentence_87

An April 2000 CRS report by the Congressional Research Service, asserts that most constitutional scholars interpret the phrase "natural born citizen" as including citizens born outside the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens under the "natural born" requirement. United States nationality law_sentence_88

Several holders of the offices of President and Vice President have touched on questions of whether they were natural-born: United States nationality law_sentence_89

United States nationality law_unordered_list_5

  • Chester A. Arthur, President from 1881 to 1885, was born in the U.S. state of Vermont of an American mother and Irish father. His status as a natural-born citizen was challenged by a political opponent during the 1880 campaign, who claimed Arthur had been born in Canada or Ireland.United States nationality law_item_5_16
  • Charles Curtis, Vice President from 1929 to 1933, was born in Kansas Territory, which was not a US state.United States nationality law_item_5_17
  • Presidential candidates George W. Romney (born in Mexico), Ted Cruz (born in Canada), Barry Goldwater, and John McCain (born in U.S. territories), were not born within a US state but were born to US citizens. Their natural-born status was never seriously challenged.United States nationality law_item_5_18
  • Barack Obama, President from 2009 to 2017, was born in the U.S. state of Hawaii of an American mother and Kenyan father. He was the subject of several racist conspiracy theories that claimed he had been born in Kenya and was thus not natural-born.United States nationality law_item_5_19

Oath of allegiance United States nationality law_section_14

Main article: Oath of Allegiance (United States) United States nationality law_sentence_90

During the naturalization ceremony, the applications are required to swear the following Oath of Allegiance United States nationality law_sentence_91

Expeditious naturalization of children - INA § 322 United States nationality law_section_15

Effective February 27, 2001, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provided that a child born outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent, if not already a citizen by birth because the parent does not meet the residency requirement (see above), may qualify for expeditious naturalization based on the physical presence of the child's grandparent in the U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_92

The grandparent should have spent five years in the U.S., at least two of which were after the age of 14. United States nationality law_sentence_93

The process of naturalization, including the oath of allegiance, must be completed before the child's 18th birthday. United States nationality law_sentence_94

It is not necessary for the child to be admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. United States nationality law_sentence_95

Automatic citizenship - INA § 320 United States nationality law_section_16

Effective February 27, 2001, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provided that a non-U.S. citizen child (aged under 18) with a U.S. citizen parent, and in the custody of that parent while resident in the United States, automatically acquired U.S. citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_96

To be eligible, a child must meet the definition of "child" for naturalization purposes under immigration law, and must also meet the following requirements: United States nationality law_sentence_97

United States nationality law_unordered_list_6

  • The child has at least one United States citizen parent (by birth or naturalization)United States nationality law_item_6_20
  • The child is under 18 years of ageUnited States nationality law_item_6_21
  • The child is currently residing permanently in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parentUnited States nationality law_item_6_22
  • The child has been admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident or has been adjusted to this statusUnited States nationality law_item_6_23
  • An adopted child must also meet the requirements applicable to the particular provision under which they qualified for admission as an adopted child under immigration lawUnited States nationality law_item_6_24

Dual citizenship United States nationality law_section_17

Based on the U.S. Department of State regulation on dual citizenship (7 FAM 082), the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that dual citizenship is a "status long recognized in the law" and that "a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both. United States nationality law_sentence_98

The mere fact he asserts the rights of one citizenship does not, without more, mean that he renounces the other", Kawakita v. U.S., 343 U.S. 717 (1952). United States nationality law_sentence_99

In Schneider v. Rusk, 377 U.S. 163 (1964), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a naturalized U.S. citizen has the right to return to his native country and to resume his former citizenship, and also to remain a U.S. citizen even if he never returns to the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_100

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) neither defines dual citizenship nor takes a position for it or against it. United States nationality law_sentence_101

There has been no prohibition against dual citizenship, but some provisions of the INA and earlier U.S. nationality laws were designed to reduce situations in which dual citizenship exists. United States nationality law_sentence_102

Although naturalizing citizens are required to undertake an oath renouncing previous allegiances, the oath has never been enforced to require the actual termination of original citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_103

Although the U.S. government does not endorse dual citizenship as a matter of policy, it recognizes the existence of dual citizenship and completely tolerates the maintenance of multiple citizenship by U.S. citizens. United States nationality law_sentence_104

In the past, claims of other countries on dual-national U.S. citizens sometimes placed them in situations where their obligations to one country were in conflict with the laws of the other. United States nationality law_sentence_105

However, as fewer countries require military service and most base other obligations (such as the payment of taxes) on residence and not citizenship, these conflicts have become less frequent. United States nationality law_sentence_106

A U.S. citizen may lose his or her dual citizenship by obtaining naturalization in a foreign state, by taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or political subdivision thereof, by serving in the armed forces of a foreign state, or by performing certain other acts, but only if the act was performed "voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. nationality". United States nationality law_sentence_107

One circumstance where dual citizenship may run counter to expectations of government agencies is in matters of security clearance. United States nationality law_sentence_108

For example, any person granted a Yankee White vetting must be absolutely free of foreign influence, and for other security clearances one of the grounds that may result in a rejected application is an actual or potential conflict of national allegiances. United States nationality law_sentence_109

Travel freedom of U.S. citizens United States nationality law_section_18

See also: Visa requirements for United States citizens United States nationality law_sentence_110

Visa requirements for the United States citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of United States. United States nationality law_sentence_111

According to the 2019 Henley Passport Index, holders of a United States passport can visit 185 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival. United States nationality law_sentence_112

The United States passport is currently ranked jointly 6th alongside the UK in terms of travel freedom in the world. United States nationality law_sentence_113

In 2017, the United States nationality is ranked twenty-seventh in the Nationality Index (QNI). United States nationality law_sentence_114

This index differs from the Visa Restrictions Index, which focuses on external factors including travel freedom. United States nationality law_sentence_115

The QNI considers, in addition to travel freedom, on internal factors such as peace & stability, economic strength, and human development as well. United States nationality law_sentence_116

Nationals United States nationality law_section_19

This article is about United States nationality law. United States nationality law_sentence_117

For information regarding United States citizenship, see Citizenship in the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_118

Although all U.S. citizens are also U.S. nationals, the reverse is not true. United States nationality law_sentence_119

As specified in 8 U.S.C. , a person whose only connection to the U.S. is through birth in an outlying possession (which is defined in 8 U.S.C.  as American Samoa and Swains Island, which is administered as part of American Samoa), or through descent from a person so born, acquires U.S. nationality but not U.S. citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_120

This was formerly the case in only four other current or former U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_121 overseas possessions: United States nationality law_sentence_122

United States nationality law_unordered_list_7

The nationality status of a person born in an unincorporated United States Minor Outlying Island is not specifically mentioned by law, but under Supreme Court decision they are also regarded as non-citizen U.S. nationals. United States nationality law_sentence_123

In addition, residents of the Northern Mariana Islands who automatically gained U.S. citizenship in 1986 as a result of the Covenant between the Northern Marianas and the U.S. could elect to become non-citizen nationals within 6 months of the implementation of the Covenant or within 6 months of turning 18. United States nationality law_sentence_124

The U.S. passport issued to non-citizen nationals contains the endorsement code 9 which states: "THE BEARER IS A UNITED STATES NATIONAL AND NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN." United States nationality law_sentence_125

on the annotations page. United States nationality law_sentence_126

Non-citizen U.S. nationals may reside and work in the United States without restrictions, and may apply for citizenship under similar rules as foreign nationals or citizens, except that they do not need to hold U.S. permanent resident status when they apply or to have held it for any length of time before applying. United States nationality law_sentence_127

Like permanent residents, they are not currently allowed by any U.S. state to vote in federal or state elections, although, as with permanent residents, there is no constitutional prohibition against their doing so. United States nationality law_sentence_128

The only elections in which a non-citizen U.S. national may vote are the local and congressional elections in American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. United States nationality law_sentence_129

For tax purposes the term "U.S. national" refers to individuals who were born in American Samoa or were born in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who have chosen to be U.S. nationals instead of U.S. citizens. United States nationality law_sentence_130

Like U.S. citizens, non-citizen U.S. nationals may transmit their non-citizen U.S. nationality to children born abroad, although the rules are somewhat different from the rules for U.S. citizens. United States nationality law_sentence_131

Citizenship at birth on the U.S. territories and former U.S. territories United States nationality law_section_20

The 14th amendment applies to incorporated territories, so people born in incorporated territories of the U.S. (currently, only the Palmyra Atoll) are automatically U.S. citizens at birth. United States nationality law_sentence_132

Separate sections of law handle territories that the United States has acquired over time, such as Alaska 8 U.S.C.  and Hawaii 8 U.S.C. , both incorporated, and unincorporated Puerto Rico 8 U.S.C. , the U.S. Virgin Islands 8 U.S.C. , and Guam 8 U.S.C. . United States nationality law_sentence_133

Each of these sections confer citizenship on persons living in these territories as of a certain date, and usually confer native-born status on persons born in incorporated territories after that date. United States nationality law_sentence_134

For example, for Puerto Rico, all persons born in Puerto Rico between April 11, 1899, and January 12, 1941, were automatically conferred U.S. citizenship as of the date the law was signed by the President Harry S. Truman on June 27, 1952. United States nationality law_sentence_135

Additionally, all persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, are citizens at birth of the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_136

Note that because of when the law was passed, for some, the citizenship status was retroactive. United States nationality law_sentence_137

The law contains one other section of historical note, concerning the Panama Canal Zone and the nation of Panama. United States nationality law_sentence_138

In 8 U.S.C. , the law states that anyone born in the Canal Zone or in Panama itself, on or after February 26, 1904, to a mother or father who is a United States citizen, was "declared" to be a United States citizen at birth. United States nationality law_sentence_139

All persons born in the U.S. Virgin Islands on or after February 25, 1927, are native-born citizens of the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_140

The 8 U.S.C.  also indicate that all the persons and their children born in the U.S. Virgin Islands subsequent to January 17, 1917, and prior to February 25, 1927, are declared to be citizens of the United States as of February 25, 1927 if complied with the U.S. law dispositions. United States nationality law_sentence_141

All persons born in Alaska on or after June 2, 1924, are native-born citizens of the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_142

Alaska was declared a U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_143 state on January 3, 1959. United States nationality law_sentence_144

All persons born in Hawaii on or after April 30, 1900, are native-born citizens of the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_145

Hawaii was declared a U.S. state on August 21, 1959. United States nationality law_sentence_146

All persons born in the island of Guam on or after April 11, 1899 (whether before or after August 1, 1950) subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are declared to be citizens of the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_147

Currently under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) effective from December 24, 1952 to present the definition of the "United States" for nationality purposes, was expanded to add Guam; and, effective November 3, 1986, the Northern Mariana Islands (in addition to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands of the United States). United States nationality law_sentence_148

Persons born in these territories on or after December 24, 1952 acquire U.S. citizenship at birth on the same terms as persons born in other parts of the United States; and "Outlying possessions of the United States" was restricted to American Samoa and Swains Island. United States nationality law_sentence_149

Congressional Research Service Report number RL30527 of April 17, 2000, titled "Presidential Elections in the United States: A Primer" asserts that citizens born in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_150 Virgin Islands are legally defined as natural born citizens, and are, therefore, also eligible to be elected president. United States nationality law_sentence_151

A December 12, 2019 ruling by U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups struck down the special status 8 U.S.C.  of American Samoans as non-citizen US nationals as unconstitutional, holding that "any State Department policy that provides that the citizenship provisions of the Constitution do not apply to persons born in American Samoa violates the 14th Amendment." United States nationality law_sentence_152

Government attorneys had argued that "Such a novel holding would be contrary to the decisions of every court of appeals to have considered the question, inconsistent with over a century of historical practice by all three branches of the United States government, and conflict with the strong objection of the local government of American Samoa." United States nationality law_sentence_153

Waddoups stayed his ruling on December 13 pending appellate review, so it has not taken immediate effect. United States nationality law_sentence_154

Under the law apart from Waddoups's ruling, most of the people of American Samoa are treated as "nationals but not citizens of the United States at birth"; thus, American Samoans cannot vote in US elections. United States nationality law_sentence_155

Loss of citizenship United States nationality law_section_21

See also: List of former United States citizens who relinquished their nationality and List of denaturalized former citizens of the United States United States nationality law_sentence_156

As a historical matter, U.S. citizenship could be forfeited upon the undertaking of various acts, including naturalization in a foreign state (with a willful intent to renounce U.S. citizenship) or service in foreign armed forces. United States nationality law_sentence_157

In addition, before 1967 it was possible to lose the citizenship due to voting in foreign elections. United States nationality law_sentence_158

However, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the provisions of Section 349(a) which provided for loss of nationality by voting in a foreign election in the case Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253, 8 U.S.C.  specifically outlines how loss of nationality may occur, which predominantly involves willful acts over the age of 18 with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality. United States nationality law_sentence_159

U.S. Supreme Court decisions beginning with Afroyim v. Rusk constitutionally limited the government's capacity to terminate citizenship to those cases in which an individual engaged in conduct with an intention of abandoning their citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_160

In 1990, the U.S. State Department adopted new regulations which presume that an individual does not intend to give up citizenship when performing one of the above potentially expatriating acts. United States nationality law_sentence_161

If asked, the individual can always answer that they did not intend to give it up; this is sufficient to retain their citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_162

Hence, the U.S. effectively allows citizens to acquire new citizenships while remaining a U.S. citizen, becoming a dual citizen. United States nationality law_sentence_163

After a U.S. citizen satisfies the Department of State procedures, the Department of State issues a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) signifying that the Department of State has accepted the U.S. Embassy/Consulate's recommendation to allow the renunciation. United States nationality law_sentence_164

Renunciation of citizenship includes renunciation of all rights and privileges of citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_165

A person who wants to renounce U.S. citizenship cannot decide to retain some of the privileges of citizenship, as the State Department regards this as logically inconsistent with the concept of renunciation. United States nationality law_sentence_166

Thus, such a person can be said to lack a full understanding of renouncing citizenship or lack the necessary intent to renounce citizenship, and the Department of State will not approve a loss of citizenship in such instances. United States nationality law_sentence_167

People giving up U.S. citizenship may be subject to an expatriation tax. United States nationality law_sentence_168

Originally, under the Foreign Investors Tax Act of 1966, people determined to be giving up citizenship for the purpose of avoiding U.S. United States nationality law_sentence_169 taxation were subject to 10 years of continued taxation on their U.S.-source income, to prevent ex-citizens from taking advantage of special tax incentives offered to foreigners investing in the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_170

Since 2008, these provisions no longer apply; instead, ex-citizens who meet certain asset or tax liability thresholds pay a one-time capital gains tax on a deemed sale of their U.S. and non-U.S. assets, regardless of their reasons for giving up citizenship. United States nationality law_sentence_171

The Reed Amendment, a 1996 law, makes former citizens inadmissible to the U.S. if the Attorney General finds that they renounced citizenship for purposes of avoiding taxes; however, it has never been enforced. United States nationality law_sentence_172

Proposals such as the Ex-PATRIOT Act to rewrite the Reed Amendment and make it enforceable failed in 2012 and 2013. United States nationality law_sentence_173

It is also possible to forfeit U.S. citizenship upon conviction for an act of treason against the United States. United States nationality law_sentence_174

Prominent former Nazi officers who acquired American citizenship have also had it revoked if the Office of Special Investigations has been able to prove that the citizenship was obtained by concealing their involvement in war crimes committed by the Nazis in World War II. United States nationality law_sentence_175

Emigration from United States United States nationality law_section_22

Main article: Emigration from the United States United States nationality law_sentence_176


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United States nationality law.