Oleh Hadash – Will your grandchildren be USA citizens?

USA Citizenship for Ex-pats

If you are an oleh (new or old), e.g. you are an ex-pat of the United States, you probably assume your children and children’s children will be USA citizens just like you.  In reality, it’s not as simple as it seems.

Have a look at the USA State Department’s website http://uscis.gov on “Expeditious Naturalization for children born outside the United States.”

Immediate USA Citizenship

If your child is born outside the USA, and both you and your spouse are US Citizens, and at least one of you resided in the US prior to the child’s birth, your child acquires citizenship under section 301(c) INA.

Residency Requirements

If your spouse is an alien (non US-citizen from planet Earth), you must have lived in the US for at least 5 years, 2 of which being after the age of 14 (and before the child was born).

If you didn’t meet these litmus tests, (e.g. let’s say your child marries an Israeli, your grandchildren will most likely fall into this category), then he/she has the possibility of applying for citizenship under Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Technical Correction Act of 1994.  In short, it enables you to apply for the expeditious naturalization of your child.

Grandparents living in the USA

That process is explained in full on the State Department’s website.  In short, if the grandparent was a USA citizen and meets the residency requirements (5 years, etc…), then the chances are better.   However, using the fact of the grandparents living in the USA is not a valid condition for receiving an immediate passport (e.g. you must apply for the expeditious citizenship).

Time Limit

If you don’t meet the residency requirements mentioned above, your child / grandchild needs to apply for this expeditious naturalization before their 18th birthday.


Disclaimer – I am relaying information obtained from a handout received at the USA Embassy.  I am not a lawyer, and am not providing advice.  I do not have any knowledge other than what is freely available on the US State Department’s website.  If you need more information, speak directly with a professional in this area.

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