Birthright Citizenship Law & Legal Definition


Birthright citizenship refers to the citizenship granted to a person by virtue of the circumstances of his/her birth. Accordingly, any person born within the territory of the U.S. is granted citizenship by birth. A child born overseas to U.S. citizens also acquires a U.S. citizenship. A Birthright citizenship can be acquired through:

1. jus soli-is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state.

2. jus sangunis- is a social policy by which nationality or citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having an ancestor who is a national or citizen of the state.

Citizenship of a person is a matter of federal law and is governed by the U.S. Constitution which states, “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”.