About US Citizenship
Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), all persons who are born or naturalized in the United States are US citizens. The United states includes the 50 states and the Districy of Columbia. Subsequent Congress Acts have given US citizenship to persons born in the Vergin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam and Northern Mariana Islansa. All US citizens are US nationals, but not all US nationals are citizens. Person borns in the American Samoa and the Swains Islands are American Nationals but not American citizens.
Rights of US Citizens
US citizens have the right to live and work? in the United States without restrictions, to participate in the American political system at national, state and local level and to be represented and protected by US embassies and Consulates abroad.
Responsibilities of US Citizens
The most important responsibility US citizens is to obey the constitution, and for males, to serve in the US armed forces. US citizens are also required to serve in a jury if summoned; to pay taxes; to travel abroad on a US passports.
Acquisition of Citizenship
There are four ways one can acquire United States citizenship: by birth in the United States, by birth abroad to two UK citizens, birth abroad to one US citizen or naturalization.
- Birth within the United States
All children who are born in the United States, regardless of the immigration status of their parents, are US citizens by birth, according to the 14th amendment of the Constitution. A US birth certificate is a proof of US citizenship.
- Birth abroad to two US citizens
A chils born aborad is automatically a US citizen if both parents were US citizens at the time of the birth or at least one parent lived in the US before the child was born. The record of birth abroad, registered in a US embassy or consulate, is a proof of US citizenship. In order to have their citizenship recognised, foreign born children may be required to apply for a US passport.
- Birth abroad to one US citizen
Persons born abroad after 11/14/1986 are US citizens only if one of the parents was a US citizen at the time of birth, that parent has lived at least five years in the US befre their child was born and at least 2 of those 5 years were before the parent?s 14th birthday. The record of birth abroad, registered in a US embassy or consulate, is a proof of US citizenship. In order to have their citizenship recognised, foreign born children may be required to apply for a US passport.
A person who was foreign-born may acquire a US citizenship by a process called naturalization. In order to qualify for naturalization, a person should be at least 18 years of age, to have been a legal permanent resident for the last 5 years and to have lived in the US for the last 30 months efore applying for US citizenship. Applicants should also have the ability to read, write and speak the English langiage and pass a citizenship test about the US political, economic and cultural life.