This may seem like an unnecessary question–after all, many people are certain of their citizenship since birth. However, the many paths to citizenship can be confusing and many individuals may have citizenship in the United States and not even realize it. If you are unsure about your own citizenship based on parentage or other factors, you should not hesitate to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can fully evaluate your situation and advise you of your correct citizenship status.
There are several different paths to citizenship. The following is some information regarding each one:
Naturalization — If an individual has been a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for at least five years (or three under certain circumstances) and they meet other specific criteria, they can be eligible to take the Oath of Allegiance and become a citizen. Most people should be aware if they are a naturalized citizen.
Constitutional — Under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, a person born in the United States is automatically a citizen, regardless of the citizenship of their parents. This does not include children born to certain foreign diplomats living in the U.S.
Derivative — This type of citizenship applies to children born abroad, both biological and adopted, and has certain requirements set out in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. Some requirements include that the child is younger than 18 and not married, at least one parent has U.S. citizenship by naturalization or birth, and the parent(s) presently have both physical and legal custody of the child. When the child enters the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident or when the adoption is finalized, the child will derive citizenship.
Acquired — This applies to children born abroad and depends on the citizenship status of their parents. For example, if both parents are U.S. citizens and, before the birth, at least one parent was physically present in the U.S. at any time, the child acquires citizenship. The law can get very complicated and there are many different requirements if only one parent is a citizen or if the child was born out of wedlock. In such situations, it may often be necessary to discuss your particular situation with an attorney to ensure you know your correct citizenship status.
Contact A Florida Immigration Lawyer For Assistance Today
As you can see, U.S. citizenship can be complex and it is important to be certain of your status. A qualified experienced Florida immigration attorney who is familiar with all of the complicated citizenship requirements can provide the assistance needed to determine whether you are a U.S. citizen or not. Even if you learn or already know that you are not a U.S. citizen, an experienced lawyer can help you decide whether you want to pursue citizenship and can guide you through all of the steps on that path. At the Law Offices of Alex T. Barak, P.A., we provide legal assistance regarding a wide range of immigration and citizenship matters, so please call today for more information at (954) 399-7778.