Legal Memorandum: Child Born Out of Wedlock

Issue: Under federal law, can a child born out of wedlock between a U.S. Citizen and an alien parent obtain U.S. citizenship?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Child born out of wedlock; U.S. citizenship
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 8 U.S.C. § 1409(a)
Date: 04/01/2015

A child born out of wedlock to an alien mother and a U.S. citizen father may obtain U.S. citizenship under 8 U.S.C. § 1409(a), quoted here:

(a)        The provisions of paragraphs (c), (d), (e), and (g) of section 301, and of paragraph (2) of section 308, shall apply as of the date of birth to a person born out of wedlock if: 


(1)               a blood relationship between the person and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence, 

(2)        the father had the nationality of the United States at the time of the person’s birth, 

(3)        the father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the person reaches the age of 18 years, and 

(4)        while the person is under the age of 18 years 

(A)       the person is legitimated under the law of the person’s residence or domicile, 

(B)       the father acknowledges paternity of the person in writing under oath, or 

(C)       the paternity of the person is established by adjudication of a competent court. 


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