Birthright citizenship in the U.S., sometimes referred to as “jus soli,” grants citizenship to individuals based on the location of their birth. In other words, if a person is born within the territorial boundaries of the United States, they are considered a citizen of the country, regardless of the nationality or immigration status of their parents.
Birthright citizenship is a fundamental concept in the U.S., set up by the 14th Amendment. There are some exceptions, such as children of a diplomat from another country that are born in the U.S. simply because of that person’s position. But these exceptions are exceedingly rare.
Key points regarding birthright citizenship
Citizenship is automatically conferred upon anyone born within the borders of the U.S. This means that an individual does not need to go through a naturalization process or meet specific criteria related to their parents’ citizenship in order to be classified as a U.S. citizen. Many people immigrate to the U.S. specifically so that their children can be born here and granted that citizenship without having to go through any additional legal processes.
The citizenship status of a person’s parents is generally irrelevant when determining birthright citizenship. This principle is often seen as a way to promote inclusivity and ensure that individuals born in a country have a legal connection to that nation. For instance, some parents have children while they are here on a visa or are holding a green card. Others go through the naturalization process themselves and then have children. But for the sake of birthright citizenship, it makes no difference.
What are the benefits?
Birthright citizenship provides individuals with the rights and privileges enjoyed by other citizens. This typically includes the right to live and work in the country and the ability to participate in political and civic life – such as voting.
Exploring all legal options
When it comes to family immigration, not all family members may be classified in the same way at the same time. Parents may have a green card, for instance, and children who immigrated with them may be permanent residents, while younger children born after the move may be citizens. It’s important for families in this position to carefully explore all of their legal options, as safeguarding one’s immigration status and taking advantage of all opportunities available isn’t always a straightforward process. Seeking legal guidance can help to provide helpful clarity.