Acquired citizenship refers to having gained citizenship by being born out of the country to a parent who is a United States citizen. This type of citizenship is also called birthright citizenship. In other words, the child gains citizenship based upon the status of their parents. Citizenship in this manner is typically automatic, though parents may need to file for documents that act as proof of that citizenship.
Acquired citizenship may also refer to people who have been granted citizenship status through naturalization. This is not an automatic process, but a lengthy one with extensive requirements.
A less common form of acquired citizenship is derivative citizenship. This is the granting of citizenship to children whose parents have gained the status through naturalization. This type of citizenship can also be given to children born in other countries who have been adopted by U.S. citizens.
The requirements for derivative citizenship are:
- At least one parent must be a U.S. citizen either by birth or naturalization
- The child must be a minor
- The parent who is a citizen must have legal custody of the child, and
- The child must legally be a permanent resident of the United States.
There are laws surrounding acquired citizenship that can be complex. Any person in Washington state who has questions about acquired citizenship should reach out to an experienced attorney for assistance. An immigration lawyer can provide more information and the help a person requires. If acquired citizenship is not the right path, an attorney can guide a person in the right direction.