Different ways to obtain US citizenship

Have you read several articles claiming you are an American citizen, but you are not sure if you are? This short article aims to help you see things more clearly. In particular, it will allow you to understand under what circumstances the United States considers you a US citizen. For a more detailed opinion or a specific situation, we suggest that you consult one of our specialists.

American citizen or not

First, the classic situation: you were born to American parents. You automatically have US citizenship if one of your parents was a resident of the United States before you were born.

The frequently observed situation: you were born in the United States to parents who were not American citizens. With some very specific exceptions, you normally have US citizenship from birth.

The rarer situation: you were born outside of the United States and its territories, but one of your parents has American citizenship. More work is needed to determine if you have US citizenship or not! You will first need to analyze the number of years spent in the United States and the status of your other relative (resident or foreigner). Sometimes it will be necessary to go back to the grandparents to validate whether a person acquired American citizenship at birth.

Finally, a permanent resident of the United States (green card holder) can also apply for US citizenship (naturalization) by completing Form N-400, but they will first need to meet several criteria to be eligible.

Go further

We invite you to consult our various articles to know your US tax obligations as a US citizen and to make an appointment with a member of our team if you need assistance, particularly to ensure that you comply with the tax compliance that applies to your situation.

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About the author

Olivier Custeau, tax expert, B.A.A., M. Fisc., EA

Holder of a bachelor's degree in business administration (B.B.A) from Université Laval and a master's degree in taxation (M. Fisc.) from the Université de Sherbrooke, Olivier has developed expertise in American and international taxation by working in a renowned firm. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest in US taxation. In fact, he was awarded Enrolled Agent status in 2019, the highest level a professional can attain to represent clients to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Recognized for his rigorous, dynamic and human approach, Olivier is an asset to the team.