by Attorney Dwayne Braithwaite
Without breaking attorney-client privilege pursuant to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) 24-9-24, I will seek to address one aspect of derivative citizenship.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of assisting a young married couple from one of the Caribbean islands in attaining U.S. citizenship for their minor child.
The wife who was born in the U.S, moved to the Caribbean when she was 17 years old. She fell in love and got married to an islander several years later. Soon after, the couple welcomed their bouncing baby who was born on the island.
As the island’s economy slowed, the couple decided that they wanted to move to the United States. During our discussions, the wife was shocked when I told her that their young son derived U.S. citizenship through her. (Derived and transmitted used interchangeably).
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution pronounces, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States…”. However, the Nationality Act (INA) outlines several methods in which a person born abroad may derive citizenship from their U.S. born parent(s). Generally, derivative citizenship is granted to all foreign–born children of either American citizen parent under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C.A. § 1401(c)-(g).
Today however, we will only be addressing one provision: 8 U.S.C. § 1401(g) which states “a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years…”
In essence, 8 U.S.C. § 1401(g) means that the only requirement the aforementioned client needed to prove was: (1) at least five years physical presence in the U.S., and (2) at least two of those five years should have been after she reached the age of fourteen. Once she was to able confirm the residency requirements, I was able to commence the process of documenting her minor child’s U.S. citizenship.
In another edition, I will examine other aspects of attaining US citizenship under 8 U.S.C.A. § 1401(c)-(g) for persons born abroad.
Disclaimer: This view does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
About the Author:
Dwayne Braithwaite is a Guyanese born practicing US Immigration Attorney for more than 6 years in the State of Georgia. He represents clients from all States since Immigration Law is Federal Law. He also represents immigrants and intended immigrants from Guyana, the wider Caribbean, Brazil, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Mr. Braithwaite has also completed his Legal Education Certificate (LEC) through the Transitional Law Programme at the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS) and is opening an office in Georgetown, Guyana.
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