Is it true that anyone born in the United States is a U.S. citizen?
Yes, almost anybody born in the United States is an American citizen regardless of the nationality or status of his/her parents. The only exception is for children of foreign diplomats who have full diplomatic immunity. Anyone else can apply for an American passport by presenting an original birth certificate showing birth in the United States and adequate identity documents.
Can I hold more than one passport or nationality?
Yes. In the 1980’s, the Supreme Court ruled that citizenship is a constitutional right that cannot be taken away from a citizen who does not intend to relinquish it. Therefore, such actions as naturalization in a foreign country, employment with a foreign government, and/or voting in a foreign election do not automatically jeopardize American citizenship. However, please note that all U.S. citizens, even dual nationals, must enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.
The State Department Advice about Possible Loss of U.S. Citizenship and Dual Nationality has further details.
We are Americans living in Nicaragua. We just adopted a child and s/he is living with us here. How do we get him/her an American passport?
My child has both Nicaraguan and American citizenship. At what age must s/he choose which citizenship s/he wants to keep?
American citizenship is for life. The laws covering the retention of citizenship have been greatly liberalized – thanks in large part to the lobbying of American community groups overseas. No child has to do anything at any age to retain, choose, affirm, or confirm American citizenship. In the 1980’s, the Supreme Court ruled that citizenship is a Constitutional right, which cannot be taken away from a citizen who does not intend to relinquish it.
Can my spouse obtain a U.S. passport or citizenship through marriage?
A U.S. citizen cannot transmit citizenship to a spouse. Your spouse would be required to apply for an immigrant visa and reside in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). An application for naturalization can be made to the Department of Homeland Security after fulfilling a residency requirement. Once naturalized, your spouse would be eligible to apply for a U.S. passport.