U.S. Citizenship of a child


I have a question that I hope someone here can answer.

My wife and I are both US citizens (I am natural born but my wife was naturalized), and I am looking into furthering my education in Rome. If my wife were to become pregnant while we were over there, would the baby be considered a US citizen, or would s/he need to be born in the US? What about Italian citizenship?


I wouldn’t know, but reps at the nearest Italian consulate would…


From the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:


All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. - XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Citizenship is one of the most coveted gifts that the U.S. government can bestow, and the most important immigration benefit that USCIS can grant. Most people become U.S. citizens in one of two ways:

By birth, either within the territory of the United States or to U.S. citizen parents, or[/list]
[LIST]By Naturalization.[/list]
In addition, in 2000, Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), which allows any child under the age of 18 who is adopted by a U.S. citizen and immigrates to the United States to acquire immediate citizenship.

Since both of you are U.S. Citizens, any children you have will automatically be U.S. Citizens no matter where they are born. I cannot answer about Italian citizenship.


If you do have a child born abroad, be sure to be in touch with your nearest US Consulate. US citizenship bestows immediately upon birth to the child of a US citizen born anywhere, but you will have to obtain paperwork from the Consulate so your child will be able to obtain a Social Security Number and a passport.

No matter where you live, the long arm of the IRS will reach you and you will need that Social Security number to deduct your new child on your US tax return. Living abroad will not exempt you from filing a US tax return.


I lived and worked in Canada for a number of years. My wife and I are both US citizens, born and bred. Three of my children born in Canada have both US and Canadian citizenship.
Many foreign countries recognize dual citizenship and grant citizenship to all persons born in the country providing the parent(s) are legal residents. The one exception I ran across was a man who was born in a refuge camp in Belgium after WW II. He is not a Belgian citizen, nor is he a US citizen as he and his parents never applied for citizenship. Oddly enough his only valid citizenship is Ukrainian.
Go check with the Italian consulate.



I suggest that you check with the US consulate in Italy. You don’t need advice from their consulate, you need to know how to file for your child’s american citizenship.

In Germany, (and I would think this part would be the same anywhere), we needed proof of our citizenship (US birth certificates) and possibly marriage. You will want this info before you leave so that you can have the documents ready. The US consulate will also then be able to tell you about Italian citizenship.


if you get the rest of this info before you travel, you will receive instructions on how to properly register the birth of the child with the nearest American embassy or consulate. Those oversees in the military or in government service have their own rules.


most likely any child born of US citizens in a foreign country would have dual citizenship. The child would be considered as American as you or I but they would also have citizenship of the country they were born in… such as Italy. What difference does this make? Well, first, the child could not be president of the US, if the child grows up and works for the government or a government contractor company, they could be asked to give up their dual citizenship if the job entails a security clearance. What are the positives? Well, they could travel or move to the country of their birth very easily…


Actually, we do not know this yet. From Wikipedia:

In fact, the phrase “natural born Citizen” is not defined anywhere in the Constitution itself and its interpretation has never been the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Thus, some argue that even those born abroad to US citizens are not eligible to ascend to the Presidency, since an act of Congress such as the Naturalization Act may not overrule the Constitution (see “Natural born citizen” as presidential qualification). Thus far, presidential candidates George W. Romney (born in Mexico), and Barry Goldwater and John McCain (born in U.S. territories), were never seriously challenged on the basis of their “natural-born” citizenship, but no candidate falling under this classification has ever actually become President, and therefore the question must be regarded as not having been finally decided.

This could be interesting if John McCain wins the 2008 election.


Get several copies of the US birth certificate. My husband was born in Spain. We have 1 copy. It would cost $35 and a huge hassel to get another. This will save your future child the hassel.


Thank you for your responses


Granted we are military, but all our kids were born in off-post hospitals. Two in Italy. There are consulates in Milan and Rome so that shouldn’t be a problem.

You will have to get a birth certificate from the Italians (which is an ordeal in itself, let me tell you!..and you only have around 10 days from the childs birth do get one)

Then you will take that and both you and your wife’s birth certificates and marriage certificate(only certified copies!!) to the consulate. They will give you a Certificate of Birth Abroad, which will be your childs birth certificate. We have only been given one and no option for copies. It is quite a pain to get another if lost.

Don’t forget your Visa’s before you go. And your wife will have to get a Sigorno after you get there. I don’t think it’s a military thing. The civillian friends we had had to have them too. It’s basically a document she’ll carry with her at all times, with her picture and local address and why she’s living in the country. And if you do have a child there, she’ll have to get a new one with the child on it. It is SUCH a pain!!! They will give you a temporary one and the actual one takes a year to get! I never kept mine up and was fine, but I had a friend who went back to the states with her kids for a visit, and the Italians weren’t going to let her back in because she didn’t have it on her.

Italy’s GREAT! Have fun, if you go and feel free to PM me with any questions.


It is against forum rules to offer medical, legal or other professional advice. For one, you don’t know you’re speaking to people who really know anything about citizenship law.

Seek professional advice. There would almost certainly be lawyers who specialise in citizenship who offer their first consultation for free.


Please consult a professional. This thread is now closed.

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