You may already be a U.S. citizen and not know it.
U.S. citizenship can be obtained in one of four ways:
- birth in the United States or its territories
- birth to U.S. citizen parents (called "acquisition" of citizenship)
- naturalization (obtaining citizenship after an application and exam), or
- naturalization of one's parents (called "derivation" of citizenship).
Some people are already U.S. citizens and don't know it. Most of these people fall into one of three groups: