Who Is a U.S. Citizen?
The first part of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution defines citizens as people either "born or naturalized in the United States." It then describes that citizens are due certain protections and privileges under the law that no state government may take away.
A person can be a U.S. citizen at the time of birth through two main ways. The Latin term Jus soli (pronounced YOO SO-LEE) means "law of the soil."
People born in U.S. states or territories are citizens because they were born on U.S. soil. An exception to the jus soli rule would be the child of a foreign diplomat, as they are not considered subject to U.S. jurisdiction , a requirement of jus soli. The Latin term Jus sanguinis (pronounced YOO SAN-GWIN-NISS) means "law of the blood."
People born to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen and has lived in the United States are citizens through their blood relationship to this parent. U.S. military and diplomatic sites in foreign countries are not considered U.S. soil, contrary to what many believe. The jus sanguinis rule covers children born to U.S. citizens living abroad, such as military families. Most U.S. citizen births, but not all, meet both the jus soli and jus sanguinis rules. The United States has laws to define special situations.
People who immigrate to the United States often intend to become U.S. citizens through naturalization.
01.02 What Is Citizenship?: Non-Citizens
How Does the Government Categorize Non-Citizens?
People living legally in the United States who are not U.S. citizens could have a visa or permanent resident status. They must carry proof of their status at all times. A U.S. national is a person under the legal protection of the United States but without citizenship. This applies to those born in certain U.S. territories like American Samoa and Swains Island. U.S. nationals can live and work in the United States but, at present, may not vote in state