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us_citizenAmerica’s first citizenship law, enacted in 1790, stipulated that a child born outside of the United States to a U.S. citizen father would automatically be a U.S. citizen at birth, provided that the father had ever resided in the United States. The same right was acquired by U.S. citizen mothers in 1934.

Today the United States is in the paradoxical position of having taken away some fundamental human rights from its overseas citizens. Not all U.S. citizen parents are now equal. Their rights to transmit U.S. citizenship to children at birth depend on where they live, their employer, and whether on not they are married.

AARO has been working since 1973 to protect the citizenship of Americans abroad and, in particular, to facilitate the transmission of citizenship to children born abroad to U.S. citizens or adopted by US citizens. US citizenship laws should recognize that all U.S. citizen parents have the same right to transmit U.S. citizenship to all of their children at birth or upon adoption, no matter where the birth takes place.

For a more detailed analysis of the issue, please consult AARO's Position Paper on Citizenship.

AARO has also compiled the “Citizenship Factsheet 2008” in collaboration with its sister organisations, AAWE and FAWCO, and the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

Recent Changes - Citizenship

New Parental Signature Requirements for U.S. Minors

On February 1, 2008, the U.S. Government increased its fees for certain U.S. citizen passport services. For adult applicants renewing a passport, the total fee increased to $75. For first-time applicants age 16 and over, the total fee increased to $100. The fee for minors under 16 years of age is $85.

Effective February 1, 2008, children under age 16 (formerly 14) at the time of application must appear in person, and both parents also need to be present and to provide unequivocal consent to passport issuance by signing the application in front of the consular officer. Any parent unable to attend the interview must submit a notarized letter of consent. The consent must be in the English language and can be notarized at any American consular representation free of charge. Letters of consent notarized by non-American notaries are also accepted. Alternatively, the parent applying for the passport must submit proof of sole custody.

For additional information please check the website at,


AARO News - Citizenship

  • Citizenship, Passports and Travel: the Latest Rules AARO News, November 2008 An AARO and AAWE joint seminar on citizenship issues drew more than 40 people to the Mona Bismarck Foundation on October 7 to hear U.S. Consul General Catherine...
  • Update on Passports and Citizenship Regulations AARO News, April 2007 A team of Paris Embassy officials gave AARO members an informative presentation of recent developments in citizenship law and visa applications for the U.S. at the Mona Bismarck...
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