UNDER WHICH CIRCUMSTANCES IS U.S. CITIZENSHIP AWARDED?
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 9, 2016) — In response to The Post & Email’s weekend article concerning the process by which U.S. citizenship is determined for those born in foreign countries, several questions arose from readers, and in particular, the question of whether or not a U.S. passport would be the sole identification document for an individual born overseas who has proved to diplomatic staff at a U.S. embassy or consulate that he is a U.S. citizen.
As explained by Elizabeth Finan, Press Officer, Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, a child born overseas can have his birth registered by his U.S.-citizen parent or parents to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), commonly referred to as a “Cribba,” according to Finan, among State Department employees.
While filing for a CRBA is helpful, Finan stated that it is not an absolute requirement to establish U.S. citizenship for the child later. CRBAs are issued to children up through 18 years of age. In order to obtain the document, which Finan said is “proof of citizenship” of but not identity, the parents must show that they themselves are U.S. citizens who meet the U.S. residency requirements of the federal law applicable at the time of their child’s birth.
Using the example Finan provided of a 25-year-old without a CRBA approaching a U.S. consulate or embassy and providing proof that his parents were U.S. citizens and met the necessary residency requirements to pass on their citizenship, CDR Charles F. Kerchner, Jr. (Ret.) submitted the following question through our Comments section:
So that 25 year old born overseas who had a Citizen parent if he or she meets the statutory requirements of the applicable law would be issued a passport. And that passport would be their only proof of citizenship for the rest of their life? The don’t get a CRBA or a U.S. citizenship certificate or some other piece of paper, just the passport?
On Monday morning, The Post & Email sent an inquiry to Finan but received an auto-response that she is out of the office until May 16 along with an email address to reach a State Department colleague.
Our question directed to the alternative staffer reads:
When is a Certificate of Citizenship issued? Does that have to do with naturalization rather than the determination of U.S. citizenship at birth?
and received the following response:
|From:||Cole, Niles E (ColeNE@state.gov)|
|Sent:||Mon 5/09/16 10:15 AM|
Certificates of Citizenship are issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you have questions about the Certificate of Citizenship, please see USCIS’ webpage. Some of the questions you might have are addressed in this document: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/A4en.pdf
USCIS is a separate agency from the State Department and answers to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), not State. It carries out federal law as it applies to the processes of immigration and naturalization as well as permanent residency.
We opened the link provided by Cole and found a citizenship resource page with not only the answer to CDR Kerchner’s query about Certificates of Citizenship, but also derivative citizenship and many other questions.
For an individual who is already present in the U.S. to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-600 would be completed. A Certificate of Citizenship is said to be “issued to a person born outside the United States who derived or acquired U.S. citizenship through a U.S. citizen parent” and is an accepted proof-of-citizenship document.
A Naturalization Certificate would be issued to those who have completed the required period of residency, successfully taken English and civics tests, and provided an interview to USCIS qualified staff.
In regard to birth certificates, which are also accepted as proof of citizenship, USCIS reports that the document may be issued by any of the 50 states comprising the United States or by the U.S. State Department “if the person was born abroad to U.S. citizen parents who registered the child’s birth and U.S. citizenship with the U.S. Embassy or consulate.”
USCIS states that for a person to be considered a citizen at the time of his birth, he must:
- Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR
- had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements
The first bullet point contains the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” which also appear in the 14th Amendment which some believe have been overlooked when awarding citizenship to anyone born in the U.S., particularly to foreign-citizen parents who reached the U.S. illegally. Also known as “birthright citizenship,” the issue of whether or not the children of illegal aliens should be granted U.S. citizenship been mentioned by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump as part of the larger issue of instituting more restrictive immigration policies.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.