Cities and Towns in the United States > Citizenship > How Can I Prove My US Citizenship Status?


Proof of citizenship is confirmation you have the legal right to be in the United States. While navigating life in the USA, proving citizenship is something you'll often encounter while accessing various governmental services. This requires you to prove you are a citizen of the country. In this article, we discuss who is a citizen of the United States, how to prove it, and what documents are required.

Proof Of Citizenship And Why You Need It

Who Is A Citizen Of The USA?

Anyone born in the country automatically becomes an American national. Depending on several factors, those not born in the United States could become citizens. Some of these considerations are the status of their parents or the length of time they've lived in the United States.

Citizenship For US Citizens Children Born Outside The USA.

For those born outside the USA, you'll qualify as a citizen if:

  • • Both your wedded parents are citizens of the USA,
  • • One of your wedlock parents is a citizen and has spent at least 5 years in the USA before your birth (10 years for people born before 14 November 1986),
  • • Your parents are not married but are citizens of the country, and you were born after 13 November 1986,
  • • Your parents are not married but your father is a citizen of the USA, you were born after 13 November 1986, and your father agrees in writing to provide financial support until you reach 18.

This is known as citizenship by derivation. People who qualify are awarded a Certificate of Citizenship.

Citizenship Through Residency

People born outside the USA but moved to the country legally can acquire citizenship. These people often arrive through an employment visa scheme or as asylum seekers. They can become permanent residents in the United States (called the green card scheme). Using the green card, the individual can apply to become a citizen of the country. The process is known as naturalization. You must be a green card holder for at least 5 years before applying for naturalization and citizenship. 3 years is acceptable if the spouse is a United States citizen.

What Documents Provide Proof Of Citizenship?

These are some of the documents a person can use to prove they are a citizen of America:

There are many documents people have in their possession. These could be a driver's license, a Social Security card, or a work ID card. While they provide an individual's identification, they do not provide proof of citizenship. Only the 4 items above prove citizenship of the United States.

When Do You Need To Provide Proof Of Citizenship?

There are certain things that only citizens of the United States can access. For instance, you must be a United States citizen to obtain various welfare programs. Getting a competitive service job role with the federal system requires the person to be a US citizen. Banking institutions often want to know the citizenship status before providing services. They have stricter entry requirements for foreign nationals in contrast to U.S. citizens. There are times when immigration officials and customs will want to check citizenship. For instance, when leaving and returning to the country, officials check to ensure you have the right to be in the United States.

Life In The USA

Holding a United States citizenship is seen as a privilege by many. It enables the person to access US society and the country's many positive aspects. When you need to prove citizenship, documents such as a passport or birth certificate facilitate the requirements.