Naturalized or derived citizens: What’s the difference between them?

A legal citizen is a person who was born and lived in a country with citizenship having a legal passport for it. Similar to a US legal citizenship, it belongs to a person born on the land of the United States who is a legal citizen holding a US passport, a social security number, and a right to vote.

Other circumstances are also notable where other than just being born to two US parents can lead to US citizenship. 

What does it mean by Naturalized or derived citizen?

To be called a US citizen, you have to meet some legal requirements;

  • If you recently got to know that your ancestors were US citizens
  • If your birth place differs from the US land
  • If your parents applied and became US citizens when you were below 18.

This can make you a naturalized or derivative citizen of the country. This significantly means that you can get Us citizenship legally but through a lengthy process.

Ways to get a Naturalized or derived citizen

To gain US citizenship, there are four ways that you should consider:

  • The first thing that makes you a US legal citizen is to be born in or one of the territories of the United States
  • Second – to be born to parents who already are legal citizens of the US.
  • The third way to have it is naturalization, which means to apply for citizenship, submit complete and proper documents and pass the federal-issued examination.
  • The last option that you can avail yourself of for citizenship is called derivation. This means that one of your parents becomes a naturalized citizen and you receive derivation citizenship by extension.

An explanation for Naturalized or derived citizen

Naturalized or derived citizens both are legal terms used to identify people having US citizenship without being born in the US. The main difference between both is that one of them is earned by a group of tests, requirements, and oaths, whereas the other one is provided to underage children once their parents fulfill the needs of a range of documents, tests, and oaths.

When a child is born, he has the citizenship of his parents. If the parents have more than one citizenship, the born child would have dual citizenship. The process of having derived citizenship resembles the concept behind the process through which people become naturalized citizens and have citizenship for their underage children.

This is an effective way for providing citizenship for children as they could have when they were born. The concept of derived citizenship is beneficial for blended families belonging to multiple countries.

For example; Jessica married a military officer named John. Jessica already had two kids from her previous husband. She moved to the US with John as a permanent resident. 

After two years of being a permanent resident, she became eligible to apply for naturalized citizenship which made her the official US citizen. The child John and she had one year ago is automatically a US citizen now as his father, John is a US citizen by birth. The other two children Jessica has from her previous marriage will get the derived citizenship.

Eligibility for having Naturalized or derived citizen

Eligibility for having a Naturalized or derived citizenship under the law 8 U.S.C. 1427, requires a person to be born with one parent with US citizenship or the one with applied citizenship.

But you would not be able to apply for naturalized citizenship just having these conditions. You may be required to meet certain other things as well.

The citizenship act requires the individuals who are seeking citizenship to be first a legal permanent resident of the US having a green card.

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Being over or equal to 18 years of age
  • Having a legal permanent resident status in any state for at least five years (exceptions are there of two years for the spouses of the US citizens and military personnel three years)
  • Living in the state or district for at least three months where the citizenship is applied.
  • Have a good character, maintain a crime-free personal record, or didn’t fail to pay your taxes and child support, etc.
  • Willingness to swear an oath to show loyalty to the United States (no matter how many citizenships you have).

Immigration laws help children under 18 years of age to get derived citizenship from their parents if they have legal and physical custody of these children and have one or both US citizen parents.

If the parents are no longer in a relationship, legally separate, or live in separate jurisdictions, the derived citizenship will be applied if the other parent gives consent. Consent would be required if both parents have joint custody of a child after separation.

Eligibility for this derived citizenship include

  • the child must be under 18 years of age
  • Living with the custodial parent(s) at the time of application
  • Having a green card

The application process for Naturalized or derived citizenship

Once the application for naturalization citizenship is submitted, you will get investigated for the said requirements. If the authorities found out that you have taken a green card illegally or are abandoned from your resident country, then you will be deported from the US. Otherwise, you have to provide your fingerprints and take two tests;

  • With the first test, you have to show that you can read, write, and understand US English.
  • The second is to make sure that you understand the US government and agree with the history.

Ending note

There may be many other ways by which you can gain US citizenship. But for naturalization and derived citizenship, you need to meet parental and age requirements.

When parents get naturalized citizenship, their children on whom they have legal and physical custody will get the derived citizenship. On the other hand, individuals over 18 years of age and having no ancestors or parents with US citizenship have to take the same tests and oaths parents take to get naturalized.

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