You may be able to acquire citizenship through one of your family members but the difficulty lies in proving it and determining which law applies. Acquisition, if successful, basically means that you became a U.S. citizenship at birth because one of your relatives was a U.S. citizen. This is a complicated area of immigration law and the laws have changed many times throughout the years. You might qualify for acquisition of citizenship and not even know it, but depending on when your parent or grandparent were born, the rules can vary. Factors such as when your parent(s) naturalized or how long they lived in the U.S. can play into your acquisition of citizenship as well as whether you were born out of wedlock (if your parents were not married). The rules can vary depending on your facts.
But even if you cannot acquire citizenship, you might still be able to become a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process
Children can also now derive citizenship automatically under the Child Citizenship Protection Act as of February 27, 2001. If the child is under 18 years old at the time one parent naturalizes, the child has been admitted into the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident and is living in the legal and physical custody of their U.S. citizen parent (the one who naturalized). There is a special process to apply for proof of the child’s citizenship. But this process is only for children living in the U.S. There are other specific laws for children born outside of the U.S. and living abroad and proving these children have acquired U.S. citizenship by birth can be very difficult.
Attorneys at SGG frequently work with complex citizenship matters. We help clients strategize on how to document acquisition cases and provide clients with useful information about processing times and options available. Call us today. There are many benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen, including helping others immigrate to the U.S. and protection from deportation in most circumstances.