TN 29 (12-07)

GN 00303.120 Who Is a U.S. Citizen

Citations:

Immigration and Nationality Act: Sections 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, and 310

A. Policy Principle

The following individuals are U.S. citizens:

1. One Of The 50 States Or D.C.

Any individual born in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia who was subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. at birth. (See GN 00303.100B.5.)

2. Puerto Rico

As defined under section 302 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1402):

“All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899, and prior to January 13, 1941, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, residing on January 13, 1941, in Puerto Rico or other territory over which the United States exercises rights of sovereignty and not citizens of the United States under any other Act, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States as of January 13, 1941. All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are citizens of the United States at birth.”

NOTE: Develop U.S. citizenship for individuals born in Puerto Rico per instructions in GN 00303.300E.

3. Canal Zone or Republic of Panama

Any individual:

  1. born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904, and before October 1, 1979, and at least one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of the claimant's birth; or

  2. born in the Republic of Panama on or after February 26, 1904 to at least one parent who was or is a U.S. citizen employed by the U.S. Government or the Panama Railroad Company or its successor in title (currently the Panama Canal Commission).

4. Virgin Islands of The U.S.

Any individual:

  1. born in the Virgin Islands of the U.S. on or after January 17, 1917 and subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S.; or

  2. who was a native of the Virgin Islands of the U.S. and was residing in the Virgin Islands of the U.S. on January 17, 1917 and who on February 25, 1927 was not a citizen or subject of a foreign country and was residing in the U.S., Puerto Rico, or Virgin Islands of the U.S.; or

  3. who was born in Virgin Islands of the U.S., was a native of the Virgin Islands of the U.S. and residing in the U.S. on January 17, 1917 and who, on February 25, 1927, was not a citizen or subject of a foreign country and was residing in the Virgin Islands of the U.S.; or

  4. who was a native of the Virgin Islands of the U.S. and was residing in the Virgin Islands of the U.S. on January 17, 1917 as a citizen of Denmark and who on February 25, 1927 was residing in the U.S., Puerto Rico or Virgin Islands of the U.S and did not make a declaration to retain Danish citizenship; or

  5. who was a native of the Virgin Islands of the U.S. and was residing in the U.S., Puerto Rico, any possession or territory of the U.S., or the Canal Zone on June 28, 1932 and who on that date was not a citizen or subject of a foreign country, regardless of his or her residence on January 17, 1917.

5. Guam

Any individual:

  1. born in Guam after April 10, 1899 and subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S.; or

  2. born in Guam before April 11, 1899 and who continuously resided in the U.S., Guam or a U.S. territory until at least August 1, 1950.

NOTE: Do not consider the individual a U.S. citizen if there is an indication the individual or his or her parents took steps to acquire or preserve foreign citizenship.

6. Northern Mariana Islands (NMI)

Any individual:

  1. born in the NMI Islands on or after November 4, 1986 (NMI local time) and subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S.; or

  2. born in the NMI who was a citizen of the dissolved Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) on November 3, 1986 (NMI local time) and was domiciled in NMI or in the U.S. (or any of its territories or possessions) and who did not owe allegiance to a foreign State; or

  3. who was a citizen of the TTPI on November 3, 1986 (NMI local time) and had been continuously domiciled in the NMI since November 3, 1981 and, unless under age, registered to vote in elections for the Mariana Islands legislature or for any NMI Municipal election prior to January 1, 1975 and who did not owe allegiance to a foreign State; or

  4. who was domiciled in the NMI on November 3, 1986 (NMI local time) and although not a TTPI citizen, had been domiciled in the NMI since before January 1, 1974 and who did not owe allegiance to a foreign State.

NOTE: Any NMI resident who is declared a citizen by PL 94-241 may become a non-citizen national by making a declaration of such in any U.S. or NMI Commonwealth court.

7. American Samoa and Swain's Island

An individual born in American Samoa or Swain's Island is a U.S. National, unless U.S. citizenship was derived from a parent or acquired by marriage. For SSA purposes these individuals are considered to be U.S. citizens.

REMINDER: Individuals born in the former Western Samoa, which became independent in 1962 and is now known as the Independent Republic of Samoa, are neither U.S. citizens nor U.S. nationals.

8. Birth Abroad to U.S. Citizen Parents

An individual who was born outside the U.S. is a U.S. citizen if:

  1. both parents were U.S. citizens at the time of the child's birth and at least one parent had resided in the U.S. or its outlying possessions before the birth of the child; or

  2. one parent was a U.S. citizen and the other parent was a noncitizen national at the time of the child's birth, and the U.S. citizen parent resided in the U.S. or an outlying possession for a period of at least 1 year before the child's birth; or

  3. one parent was a U.S. citizen and the other was an alien at the time of the child's birth; (See GN 00303.300I. DHS makes the determination in these cases.) or

  4. he/she was born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother who had resided in the U.S. or an outlying possession before the child's birth (a residence period of at least a year for births after 12/24/52); or

  5. he/she was born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father who had resided in the U.S. or an outlying possession for a period of at least a year before the child's birth and had legitimated the child before the child attained age 21. (See GN 00303.300H. DHS makes the determination in these cases.)

NOTE: For births before May 24, 1934, legitimate children acquired U.S. citizenship only through the U.S. citizen father. Therefore, the claimant's citizen father had to meet the residence requirement. For births on or after May 24, 1934, either citizen parent could confer U.S. citizenship by meeting the requisite residence requirement.

9. Naturalization

A naturalized U.S. citizen is one who either petitions for U.S. citizenship and is naturalized in a District Court of the U.S. or one who is collectively naturalized by a Congressional Act or Presidential Proclamation. Collectively naturalized citizens are legislatively defined as such when the U.S. incorporates new territory. A child under the age of 18 derives naturalized citizenship without petition when both parents (or a divorced parent with custody or a surviving parent) receive naturalized citizenship.

B. Operating Policy

Consider as a U.S. citizen any individual who meets the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) definition of citizen.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200303120
GN 00303.120 - Who Is a U.S. Citizen - 08/13/2009
Batch run: 08/13/2009
Rev:08/13/2009