Hello my name is Thomas Geygan, Jr. and I am an immigration lawyer. This talk is going to be about you need to show to prove that you are a citizen of the United States.
If you were born on U.S. soil and there is a civil record of your birth, a standard U.S. birth certificate issued by a state government. That is your primary proof of U.S. citizenship. Birth certificates issued by hospitals are not official records and do not serve as proof of citizenship.
If you were naturalized in the United States, you will have a naturalization certificate.
However, if your birth took place outside the territorial United States and you have a right to U.S. citizenship through your parents, you will not have either of these documents. In this case, you will have to apply for a U.S. passport, a certificate of citizenship or consular report of birth abroad.
If you were born abroad to U.S. citizen parents, you can apply for a U.S. passport in the same way as someone born in the United States. However, you will have the added requirement of establishing your citizenship claim. The evidence you'll need to provide may include:
□ Proof of your parents' U.S. citizenship;
Proof that your parents where or where not married when you were born.
□ Proof that your parents lived in the United States the required amount of time; and
□ Proof that you lived in the United States the required amount of time or are exempt from this requirement.
Evidence may take the form of birth or citizenship records, work or tax records, or affidavits.
Passports are available from passport offices in the United States or at U.S. consulates abroad.
Certificates of Citizenship
You can also get proof of your citizenship by applying for a certificate of citizenship from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services if you are present in the United States.
You can request a Certificate of Citizenship because you were born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen or
- You are requesting a Certificate of Citizenship because you automatically became a citizen of the United States after birth, but before you turned 18 years of age. Citizenship certificates are issued only by offices of USCIS located inside the United States.
If your U.S. citizenship was obtained automatically through the naturalization of a parent, a certificate of citizenship application is your easiest and best choice, because the evidence needed to prove your claim is usually obvious and easy to acquire.
Evidence needed to get your certificate of citizenship includes:
- Your parent must be a U.S. citizen;
- You must be the biological child of that U.S. citizen parent;
- You must be lawfully admitted to the United States for lawful permanent residence; and
- You must be living in the United States in the legal and physical custody of your U.S. citizen parent.
All of these must be true prior to you turning 18.
Consular Report of Birth Abroad
If you were born outside the United States and your parents were U.S. citizens at the time, they may have registered your birth with a U.S. consulate. If they did so within 18 years of your birth, they would have been issued what is called a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. The consular registration is conclusive proof of U.S. citizenship.
But, if your parents did not take the steps to register your birth with the consulate before you turned 18, there is no way of obtaining one now. Also, if the Consular Report of Birth Abroad is lost or missing you can replace it by contacting the U.S. Department of State, Passport Vital Records Section.
Thank you for watching this video and If you have questions about obtaining these documents that demonstrate that you are a citizen of the United States, do not hesitate to contact our office.