Many Texas residents came to the United States from other lands. Others are U.S. citizens planning marriages to people who are not yet citizens. You or someone you love may be familiar with the often complex and confusing laws pertaining to immigration. For example, a process known as "automatic acquisition" is primarily associated with children born outside the U.S. and/or children with one citizen-parent and one non-citizen parent. It can be quite challenging to understand the regulations that govern such matters.
Basically, there are four main ways to become a U.S. citizen. One of those ways is to acquire your citizenship by virtue of your relationship to another citizen. In fact, some people are citizens, yet they do not realize they are. Because the potential exists for myriad problems to arise if you do not clearly understand such laws, it's typically best to research the issues that apply to you and seek answers to any questions you have regarding you or your child's status.
Most common ways to attain U.S. citizenship
For many people, becoming a U.S. citizen is the single most important goal in life. The impetuses of such dreams widely vary. Some find the loves of their lives and want to get married and build new lives here, and other are fleeing war-torn nations, abject poverty and imminent danger. Following is a list of the four basic means for obtaining citizenship:
- A person born to immigrant parents who are naturalized U.S. citizens derives citizenship through their naturalizations.
- One can become a citizen through applied request and subsequent testing.
- If you are born to parents who are U.S. citizens, you may acquire your own citizenship.
- Anyone born in the United States or one of its 16 territories is a U.S. citizen by birth.
In the past, some people born in this nation, who have resided in other countries most of their lives, mistakenly believed they somehow lost their citizenship because they lived abroad so long. Others were not born in the United States and therefore thought they had to apply for citizenship when, in fact, they automatically acquired it because their parents or grandparents were already U.S. citizens.
Additional facts regarding automatic acquisition
The following information also applies to the topic of automatic acquisition of U.S. citizenship and may be pertinent to your situation:
- Generally speaking, no one under age 18 may apply for naturalization.
- A minor child with a green card whose parents become naturalized citizens automatically becomes a U.S. citizen as well.
- There are some children born in the United States who are not citizens, such as those born on American soil to parents who are living here under diplomatic statuses.
- If you are born a U.S. citizen, you can only lose your citizenship by formally renouncing it.
Your particular situation may fall into one of the categories mentioned above, or you may need guidance about a similar matter. A Texas attorney experienced in immigration affairs can clarify legal terminology and provide guidance for how best to proceed to resolve a specific citizenship issue.