Jus soli Law & Legal Definition


Jus soli is a Latin term that means law of the soil. In some countries, jus soli system or birthright citizenship is followed. According to this principle, citizenship of a person is determined by the place where a person was born. Jus soli is the most common means to acquire citizenship of a nation. The system through which a person acquires citizenship through their parents or ancestors is called jus sanguinis. In the U.S., jus soli system is followed to determine citizenship. This means whoever is born in the U.S. and is subject to its jurisdiction is automatically granted U.S. citizenship.

Pursuant to 8 USCS § 1401, the following persons can acquire citizenship by jus soli:

  • A person born in the U.S., and subject to its jurisdiction.
  • A person born in the U.S. as a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other aboriginal tribe.
  • A person of unknown parentage found in the U.S. while under the age of five year. The person can remain a U.S. citizen if it is not shown before s/he attains twenty five years that the person was not born in the U.S.
  • A person born in an outlying possession of the U.S. (i.e., including Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal Zone, Panama, the Virgin Islands and Guam.) of parents, one of whom is a citizen of the U.S. who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of such person.