Integrity Legal

27th July 2009

US Immigration and Nationality is an interesting and complex area of American jurisprudence. As a statutorily driven field of law, it can be one of the more rules driven areas of Federal regulation. Many Americans born in the United States acquire their citizenship through a combination of jus sanguinis (Latin meaning “right of blood”) and/or jus soli (Latin meaning “right of the soil” or “right of the territory”). For those born outside of the United States, or its possessions, how can United States Citizenship be proven? This is why the United States government has promulgated the US Certificate of Citizenship.

The Certificate of United States Citizenship is a legal document distributed by the government authorities of the United States of America and used in order to provide proof of the bearer’s United States Citizenship. Those who are qualified to submit an application for a United States Certificate of Citizenship include those who acquired United States of America citizenship while living in the United States or those Americans who were born outside of the United States, or any possession or territory of the USA, to United States citizens. Specifically eligible to submit an application for a US Certificate of Citizenship are:

  • those born abroad who have parents with United States citizenship, or
  • those with at least one naturalized parent who naturalized when the citizen was  under 18 years of age and met special criteria of United States Immigration and Nationality law.

It should be noted that the US certificate of citizenship is a substantially different document from the United States naturalization certificate. Naturalization occurs when a foreign national acquires United States Citizenship. The certificate of naturalization is conferred in order to prove acquisition of US Citizenship. The certificate of citizenship is generally granted to those who were born as United States Citizens.  Therefore, the documents, although similar, denote two different types of US Citizenship.  Generally, one must submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in order to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. USCIS is an agency under the Department of Homeland Security which is tasked with maintaining Immigration, naturalization, and Citizenship records for those persons in the USA.

United States Citizenship is important from a US Immigration perspective because only a US Citizen can petition for a K1 visa (fiance visa) or a K-3 visa (expedited marriage visa) on behalf of a foreign national. Therefore, proving one’s United States Citizenship could be critical in obtaining a USA Visa for a foreign loved one.

(This content is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute advice regarding the law. No Lawyer-Client Relationship exists between author and reader.)


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