What is a Derived Citizen? (Major tips)

This article will give you detailed information on the topic, “Derived Citizen,” and how to relates to everyone in the US. So, read on.

From the beginning of the human race, people have relocated from various places to another country, settling there to start a new living.

In our modern world today, people also migrate to different countries in search of education, better living, and other numerous reasons to acquire citizenship in such countries.

However, one can obtain the citizenship of a country in so many ways, mostly by being born in the country where your parents are citizens by birth.

But if your father or mother or both were naturalized citizens of the country at the time of your birth rather than citizens by birth, there exists a way you can become a citizen of that country. This way is termed “Derived Citizenship.”

Who is a Derived Citizen?

A derived citizen acquired their citizenship through their naturalized parents or parent instead of applying for naturalization themselves.

As the name implies, derived citizenship is citizenship you derived from your parents or guardian, as the case may be.

For example, when you are born in Nigeria and your parents have been naturalized before your birth, you would be given Nigeria citizenship.

You will also remain a derived citizen of that country for the rest of your life as your parents remain citizens of the country. Only when your parents revoke their citizenship will you cease to be a citizen of that country.

On the other hand, this type of citizenship occurs when either your parents or one of them was a citizen of that country through naturalization.

Their children that are not up to 18 years old could acquire their citizenship from them. You (the child) have to meet some requirements to be eligible for derived citizenship.

However, it requires less effort because your parents already got you covered, unlike other types of citizenship which you have to go through lots of processes, meet certain requirements, and takes time and effort to achieve.

Requirements For US Derived Citizenship

In some countries like the US, before they grant a child derived citizenship, the parents and the child must meet the following:

  • Either the father or mother died, and the one alive applied for naturalization and got it before the child was 18 years old.
  • The parents have been naturalized in a foreign country when the child was not yet 18 years old.
  • In case of divorce, the child’s custodian got their citizenship before the child turned 18 years of age.
  • When the child was born out of wedlock, the mother has to obtain naturalization citizenship when the child was not up to 18 years old.
  • The child shouldn’t be married before their parents received their naturalization.
  • Before the child became 18 years, he must be living in the country under the custody of their parents or guardian.
  • The child should be a permanent resident of the country, legally.

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Differences between a Derived Citizen and a Naturalized Citizen

So many people use the words “citizenship” and “naturalization” interchangeably, which is wrong. Unfortunately, they do not know that they mean two very different things.

Naturalized citizens and derived citizens are different just like night and day, so one has to use the terms in the right circumstance.

Read this: Citizenship vs Naturalization – What’s the difference?

Naturalization Process:

The naturalization process can come about when a non-citizen becomes a citizen in a foreign country through an admission process. This process takes time, and the applicant will have to meet quite a several requirements.

This helps prove that they are worthy of being citizens of the country they wish to become citizens in.

They’ll have to be on a visa for a couple of years, set roots, and overall, prove that they wish to remain in the United States for the rest of their life.

Derived Citizenship:

Going back to the initial word that was introduced, a derived citizen is considered as one because of the way citizenship comes about.

However, it came directly from their parent’s citizenship, which was not by birth but was from a series of legal and time-consuming processes to get their citizenship through naturalization.

That being said, even though there are many immigrants and foreigners around the globe, derived citizens are often mistaken as either immigrant who has been naturalized or sometimes citizens by birth.

They are not uncommon, but a majority of them are in popular countries like the US.

Adopted children can also derive citizenship from their adoptive parents when the adoptive parents or parents became citizens of that country through naturalization before the child turned 18 years old.

The child needs to have a green card of that country before this achievement, and the child should be legally under the care of the adoptive citizen’s parents and also should be unmarried at that time.

Read this: 12 Reasons NOT to Study Abroad


To become a derived citizen of a country, either your father or mother or both should be citizens of the country by naturalization.

If a parent or parents naturalize, their children will derive citizenship from their naturalization if they have the following specification:

  • 18 years of age,
  • living with their parents,
  • not married,
  • have a green card which means they are legal permanent residents of the country.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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Franklin Izuekwe
Franklin Izuekwe

Hello, I am Franklin! For two years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, Asia and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am a content writer at www.schoolandtravel.com.

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