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Obtaining citizenship when born abroad isn't automatic

No matter where you are, children who are born to U.S. parents are considered to U.S. citizens. There is a catch, however, and that is that you must apply for that citizenship to be binding.

At least one parent must be a U.S. citizen at the time of the birth to allow you to obtain citizenship through acquisition. You will need to obtain proof of your citizenship. You may need to apply for these documents and claim your citizenship if you're born in another country.

If you were born after Feb. 2001, you should apply for a Certificate of Citizenship to make sure you obtain your citizenship before the age of 18. While you are granted the right to be a U.S. citizen, you can also choose not to obtain U.S. citizenship if you have citizenship in another country. For this reason, you'll need to apply for your Certificate of Citizenship and make sure you qualify.

It can seem complicated that you are both recognized but not legally recognized as a citizen without this application. Your immigration attorney can help you apply for the correct documents, so you can maintain your U.S. citizenship and protect your future right to stay in the United States.

Our website has more about citizenship and what you can do to help your child obtain citizenship in the United States. Every situation is different, so it's a good idea to have a professional on your side who is familiar with the ever-changing immigration laws of the United States. The right help makes a difference when fighting to remain in the country.

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