Talk:United States nationality law

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Dual citizenship of Canadian Americans[edit]

Please see the Wayne Gretzky article. Wayne is a citizen of both America and Canada. He has lived in America for the last 20 years with his American family. However there are several like minded canadians who refuse to acknowledge his Canadian American status. They have an admin (Wknight94)that likes to ban people with different opinions. Can anybody help with this situation? Lex393384

?? If he was born in Canada, he can't have dual citizenship, although if he's still Canadian and his kids were born in the US, they can. Since I was born in Canada and live in the US, I'm pretty sure about this. Gzuckier 17:38, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
If he is a naturalized US citizen and has not formally renounced his Canadian citizenship, then he is indeed a dual citizen. This is because Canada does not recognize the US naturalization oath as a bona fide renunciation of citizenship. [1] Merenta 18:20, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
The discussion in Talk:Wayne Gretzky seemed, to me, to involve the issue of whether "Canadian-American" is primarily a cultural matter, or whether it's a cut-and-dried legal issue. No one seemed to be questioning the objective fact that Gretzky now holds both US and Canadian citizenship. However, people were definitely disagreeing over there about whether the average hockey fan thinks of Gretzky as an American, or both a Canadian and an American — and about whether this makes any difference. Richwales 19:32, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Also, there have been some deleted entries in the talk page and insults sent to moosehead007. Is the argument then what his fans perceive Gretzky to be or what he actually is? I am very confused with all this. Perhaps this is because, like Wayne I was born in one counry (Russia) and also like Wayne have lived half my life in another country (Chicago). I spent the first half of my life(13 years) in Russia, but I consider myself to be an American, given where I live, where I plan to continue living, the citizenship status of my family, and my own citizenship. Russia is still part of my identity and family history, but I am not forever bound to it. Is my wife (brazilian born) also to be brazilian forever? Maybe this doesn't matter, but I am very confused. Regardless I think Wknight's conduct has been very questionable, he has used his admin status, whatever his good intentions, in a careless manner. Any thoughts? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:41, 12 January 2007 (UTC).
A quick followup which is off-topic for this section and for this talk page. If you were a logged-in user, I would have followed up on your talk page. Please place further followups, if any, on my talk page.


I've modified this article to include the 'Loss of US Citizenship', based both on personal experience and the State Department's website. I've also changed the format so that citizenship is specified in terms of its 'rights' and 'requirements'. There is no 'right' in the United States to vote, as this right can be removed for criminals, nor is there any risk of deportation (as that follows under the right to abode in the country without restriction, which is primary to issues of deportation). I may change that to be simply that a US Citizen may enter and exit the United States 'freely', but essentially it is the right to enter and exit without being subject to any immigration requirements (though US travel bans constitute something similar). Hope the updates are useful. Nick Kerr on 21 July, 2005 at 8:04 (GMT)

Voting is a right; the fact that some criminals may not vote doesn't change that. Criminals can only be deprived of the right to vote by due process of law, just as they may also be deprived of their rights to life (capital punishment), liberty (imprisonment), or property (fines). (talk) 06:42, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Follow Manual of Style[edit]

Please do not make changes to purposely defy the guidelines set by the wikipedia:Manual of Style. The intialism for "United States" in American English contains periods. This is noted in the Manual of Style. The Manual of Style also asks us to write in third, not the second, person and use double, not single, quotation marks. --Jiang 09:42, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome.
, cause the 2nd person thing is annoying me, but I'm lazy right now. Nelson Ricardo 02:18, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
The usage of second person i really annoying, it's not consistent with otehr articlres and it makes the article sound like green card spam or these annoying banners. Anyway, I came here because I was curious if Americans are citizens of a given state and the United States or just the United States, but I couldn't find that info.
U.S. citizens are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside. Why look for that information in the Wikipedia article when you could find it by reading the U.S. Constitution? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:44, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Narturalized citzens are natural born citzens[edit]

There are alot of people born in countries they are not from. Wrong Naturalized citzens are considered natural born citzens. Did you know that John Mccain was a naturalized citzen of the US? So was Linda E. Watt and Alexender Hamilton. In reality Naturalized citzens are considered Natural born. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:55, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

The above is indisputably contrary to fact. Richwales (talk) 05:36, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

giving up u.s. citizenship[edit]

i was wondering if a person can reduce his status of citizenship. for example, if i become a german citizen, and i give up my american citizenship, can i be a permanent resident of usa instead of giving up my citizenship completely? just so i can go in and out of the u.s.?

The State Department article Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship by Persons Claiming a Right of Residence in the United States discusses this. The answer appears to be no. If you renounce U.S. citizenship you become a foreigner with no special rights in the U.S. JAJ 16:57, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

No, a person cannot change the rules of their citizenship, only the status. If you wish to retain the right to abode in the United States you must hold a US passport or greencard. As a previous dual national, I chose to retain British citizenship in favour of US citizenship. By doing so I've lost the right to be a US citizen and the ability to reside in the US without immigration status, but I could apply to be a US resident, if I wanted to be. However, the application process would be the same as for all other non-citizens, rather than a reduced entry requirement. While loss of US citizenship has many advantages as a foreign national (such as simplified taxation, no State Department 'warnings', and no liability for national service), it also involves the loss of the automatic right to residency. Nick Kerr 15:38, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Neither the US nor the United Kingdom forces dual nationals to "choose" a citizenship. This is a common myth. JAJ 16:51, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
There is no requirement to renounce citizenship and I know many dual nationals. However, there are consequences to holding more than one passport, which each person will need to decide. Similarly, if you are a US citizen and wish to become a German citizen, there is no requirement that you renounce US citizenship (though the act of taking a foreign citizenship can be seen as a desire not to be a US citizen, but this is subject to a case-by-case review). However, should you renounce US citizenship you cannot retain the right to abode in the US without the same procedures as other foreign nationals. Nick Kerr 17:17, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

If you were born inside the United States.. you would only be a U.S. Citizen.. If you were born inside one of the several states United, you are both a state national and a U.S. Citizen

Which United States Code or body in our founding Charters, that shows you losing your nationality when you change your Citizenship status?

You might not be able to RESIDE in the United States (ZIP ZONES Count as District of Columbia and NOT one of the several states) But you sure can be DOMICILED inside one of the several states.

born in the United States[edit]

   Under section 2.1.1, regarding the following:

"Children born in the United States (including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Panama Canal Zone before it was returned to Panama), are U.S. citizens at birth (unless born to foreign diplomatic staff), regardless of the citizenship or nationality of the parents (see Jus soli)."

1. What is the specific meaning of the word "including"? Is it used in an expansive or restrictive sense ( only the following, or not limited to the following)?

2. Is the use of the term United States to refre to the United States and the several states (geographical) or does it only involve the United States and territories (political/territorial)?

The reason I inquire is because generally as used in statutes the term "includes" is restrictive, such as in defenitions, and quite often the term "United States" includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc...

I'm fairly certain that children born in the District of Columbia are citizens, so if we have worded the text in a way which appears to omit it then we should correct that error. Thanks for pointing it out. Can you fix it? -Will Beback 05:46, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps changing "including" to something like "including, as well," would do it. The intended meaning seemed clear to me from the original wording, though. Maybe I've spent too much time in verbal bouts with the anti-tax nuts who split hairs over what "includes" means and try to insist you are liable for US income tax only if you were born in the District of Columbia, on a military base, or in a post office! Richwales 21:48, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

The list in the section "Birth within the United States" is ambiguous. Are the items connected by an "and" or an "or"? In other words, is it sufficient for a person to meet any of those conditions, or must they meet all (or is it some combination of conditions)? (talk) 14:19, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I disagree with the premise above that says "unless born to foreign diplomatic staff." The Congressional Record makes it clear, in Senator Bingham's own words, that any person born in the U.S. who inherits a foreign allegiance via an alien (or dual citizen) parent is NOT a U.S. citizen, and neither were native American children (until about 1925 by an act of Congress). The decision in U.S. v. Wong does not change this -- because no court decision can be considered precedent which is contrary to the plain language of the Constitution itself. In Wong's time, not only do we have Section 1 of the 14th, we also had the Chinese Exclusion Act which forbade his parents from ever becoming U.S. citizens, so there's simply no way Wong Kim Ark himself could be. The San Francisco Customsmaster was correct in his assessment, and the U.S.S.C. was wrong. The United States is a republic, and in a republic, citizenship is either inherited or petitioned. Absent our 14th Amendment, there was no way for a child of two aliens to be a U.S. citizen, plain and simple. (I count the petition by a territory to become a state as a en-mass petition of its residents for citizenship purposes.) 2001:470:D:468:4D38:4D80:C9B0:7B3C (talk) 07:29, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

You have the right to your opinion, but the above reasoning cannot be put forth as fact (and, indeed, cannot be mentioned at all) in this or any other Wikipedia article unless you can cite reliable secondary sources which discuss this view. Note that simply citing "the plain language of the Constitution itself" is not a sufficient source here, since reasonable people have disagreed (and, indeed, still disagree) as to what various parts of the Constitution mean. As for the claim that a court decision cannot be considered a precedent if it contradicts the Constitution, the generally accepted reality (since the early days of the US) is that the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of what the Constitution says and means (see Marbury v. Madison). — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 14:55, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

First Citizens[edit]

When America won the revolutionary war, how did they decide specifically who would be citizens in the new nation?--Xlegiofalco 17:48, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

I think it was any British subjects (what we now call "citizens") living in the U.S. at the time. This requires verification before adding it to the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:07, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

1. Yes, include is inclusive as provided by a justice opinion out of the supreme court (needs citation)

2. there was no united states after the revolutionary war? Timeline people.. TIMELINE All the states reverted back to individual Nationhood derived from the devolved sovereignty of their people from the king given his breech of the previously standing Charters.

citizen as used in our Charters is not the same as citizen used in the 14th amendment and later statutes.

originally citizen refereed to State Citizenship, or Nationality (fuzzy on this distinction myself), due to this, you have too much ambiguity in your question. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:54, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Citizenship in regards to marriage[edit]

I was wondering what occurs when you marry someone who does not have American citizenship. What if their spouse was here on a visa or illegally, for instance, and the couple wanted to live in America?

I assume you are referring to an American who marries a non-American. The American can apply for a K-3 visa for his or her spouse while applying for an IR1 immigrant visa (green card). Whether the spouse is prosecuted in the case of illegal immigration depends on local laws. Kraikk 16:01, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Retention of US Citizenship[edit]

Being a US Citizen of Filipino Ethnicity I have to wonder how this worked out following the independence of the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands. I ask this because my grandfather retained his US Citizenship while serving in the United States Navy during the time of the transition, where as my Grandmother did not.

Would this be the right place to ask this, or is this better in the Tydings-McDuffie Act?

All Filipinos were classified as aliens by the Tydings-McDuffie Act. It is likely that your grandfather obtained American citizenship prior to Philippine independence. Kraikk 16:09, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Is that really correct? - Through birth abroad to two United States citizens[edit]

In section "Through birth abroad to two United States citizens" is said:

In most cases, one is a U.S. citizen if both of the following are true:
  1. Both his or her parents were U.S. citizens at the time of their birth
  2. At least one of his or her parents lived in the United States prior to their birth.

Is that really correct, instead of the following?

In most cases, one is a U.S. citizen if both of the following are true:
  1. Both his or her parents were U.S. citizens at the time of birth of the person in question
  2. At least one of his or her parents lived in the United States prior to the birth of the person in question.

Cheers, MikeZ 13:34, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I guess they're both correct, but the former is poorly written. The antecedent for "their" is misplaced. I'm going to go through and add a more concise version.Hwonder talk contribs 23:43, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I have a related question: In this context, doesn't living at on a U.S. military base or embassy technically count as living "in the United States"? If so, then perhaps a clarification would be in order. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:03, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

I believe this can/should be clarified. The source cited for this section ( actually says the parents have to be married. If the parents are unmarried, the person in question is not automatically a US citizen (but can acquire it, probably easily). It says Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Mother: A child born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section ... . I think it is important to point this out. Vectorjohn (talk) 22:57, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree that this should be clarified. However, I read those sections a bit differently than you explain them here. My understanding of ACT 301, INA: ACT 309, 8 U.S.C. § 1401, and 8 U.S.C. § 1409 is that the child in question is not placed in a situation where US citizenship can be later acquired; rather, the child a US citizen at birth. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 23:45, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I didn't see those. From the links you mentioned, it does sound like the child is automatically a US citizen even if the parents are not married. Vectorjohn (talk) 05:10, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

What is a U.S. Person?[edit]

I have seen the above term on a lot of tax withholding forms and the like. As a U.S. citizen living outside the United States, the U.S. tax withholding scheme irks me enough. Is this some sort of all-encompassing term used only to make sure the Internal Revenue Service has a claim on anyone's income, no matter how tenuous his or her connection to the United States? Or does it have to do with immigration/nationality as well?

X ile 08:19, 15 May 2007 (UTC) - Talk

United States person--Jiang (talk) 20:06, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Panama Canal Zone[edit]

can anyone verify this statement?

"In the Panama Canal Zone only those persons born there prior to January 1, 2000 with at least one parent as a U.S. citizen were recognized as natural born U.S. citizens and were both nationals and citizens. " (talk) 06:14, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Although the information in the Panama Canal Zone article doesn't go as far as verifying this, this issue is dealt with there. Merenta (talk) 18:42, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
No because 1) The Canal Zone was never a US territory and 2) the US Congress cannot define the US Constitution. It would take the US Supreme Court to interpret its precise meaning. Trentc (talk) 00:17, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
The footnote which was asked about was added in this September 11, 2006 edit, along with the text reading "This was formerly the case in only four other current or former U.S. overseas possessions" (implying, I guess, that status as a US "posession" is relevant) but without the "prior to" clause. The intent, apparently, was to provide a clarification that some provisions of US nationality law which did not apply elsewhere did apply in Panama and the TTPI. The "prior to" clause was added in this September 20, 2006 edit. I'm guessing that the addition of the "prior to" clause was related to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (I've just edited that article to remove an assertion which I suspect is incorrect which has been challenged there since March of 2007). I think that the addition of that "prior to" clause confused rather than clarified things. The footnote has been twiddled in a few subsequent edits but without substantially changing it.
The question of whether the Canal Zone and/or the TTPI are or ever were US "posessions" is messy to answer (most WP articles in that area seem to say not, either explicitly or implicitly, but tend not to use the word "possession". Territories of the United States lists Panama under Former unincorporated territories of the United States). I don't think the answer to that question is particularly relevant to this article.
I've spent too much time figuring out the foregoing, and don't have the time right now to go on and try to figure out what should be done to improve this article's treatment of the points touched on above and/or to improve the info offered here or elsewhere (Category:Subdivisions of the United States, Category:United States federal territory and statehood legislation, Category:Insular areas of the United States, Category:Dependent territories, etc.) relative to Panama being a US "possession". Is anyone else able to help here? Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 03:59, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Panama Zone was a leased area by the US via treaty with Panama. Trentc (talk) 09:04, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Confusing sentence[edit]

In addition to being grammatically atrocious, this sentence makes little sense. Could someone please edit it?

"The US Supreme Court ruled that a naturalized US citizen has the right to return to their native country, and in de facto resume there former citizenship, has the right to remain a US citizen, even if they never return to the United States." (talk) 13:37, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Responsibilities/Duties of Citizenship[edit]

To quote the Oath of Citizenship: "that I will support and defend the Constitution. and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law"

Since this is the case why is it that these duties are not listed under the appropriate section in the article? (talk) 00:54, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Probably because this article is about law, and "The Oath of Citizenship is not a federal law" (from the Oath of Citizenship article). Merenta (talk) 18:44, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Citizenship test[edit]

It seems many of the answers given for the Citizenship test, on this page and at the official one, are just false - they reflect popular myths rather than fact. In addition, you have questions like "What is the most important right granted to United States citizens? The right to vote", which is surely a matter of individual judgment, not a fact. - (talk) 07:28, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

I tried that online naturalization self-test and found at least four of the questions had either no correct answer or more than one correct answer:

When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms? July 4 March 15 May 15 April 15 The forms can be sent after April 15. In some cases, but not all, there is a penalty for not sending them on time. They be sent after April 15 in all cases. April 15 is merely the deadline for sending them without the penalty, in those cases where the penalty would apply if they were sent later. It is not the last day on which they can be sent. See or call the IRS to verify this.

Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in? Vietnam War Civil War World War I World War II Eisenhower served in the army during both World War I (although not as a general and not in combat) and World War II (as a general). See separate article on Eisenhower.

What did the Emancipation Proclamation do? ended World War I freed the slaves gave women the right to vote gave the United States independence from Great Britain

Actually, the Emancipation Proclamation did none of these. It specifically stated that slavery was to continue in states that had never left the Union, in West Virginia, in locations that had been recaptured by the Union, etc., and was to end only in those places that where still in rebellion, none of which actually followed it. Slaves in most areas covered by the Emancipation Proclamation were freed when those areas were recaptured by the Union, not immediately; slaves in all areas exempt from the Emancipation Proclamation, including Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky, was ended by the 13th Amendment, not the Emancipation Proclamation.

Name one problem that led to the Civil War. slavery oil sugar westward expansion At the time that the Confederate states decided to leave the union, Lincoln was still supporting a policy of having slavery continue in all states where it existed at the time, and ending it only in those places that were not yet states, such as Kansas. Without westward expansion, none of those areas would have been part of the country (everywhere within the boundaries that the country would have had without westward expansion was already a state), so there would have been no war. Therefore, westward expansion and slavery are both correct answers. (talk) 00:11, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I've edited the article, replacing "correctly" with "with the expected answers". Note that the correctness (subjective or objective) of the answers isn't really within within the purview of this article, though standards of acceptability for answers is. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 23:02, 9 August 2010 (UTC)


Could there be a section on special rights, if any, given to Canadians and Mexican's. For example, you don't need a passport to go to/from Canada, and what about work laws etc.. - (talk) 07:28, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

That has nothing to do with citizenship or nationality, and everything with international trade agreements and diplomacy (and that thing about the passport is, unfortunately, changing). Daniel Case (talk) 03:01, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

US Federal nationality Law (8 U.S.C. § 1402) included on the article[edit]

(8 U.S.C. § 1402) I included this federal nationality law to this encyclopedia article to get the most accurate information about the United States nationality law.

TITLE 8, CHAPTER 12, SUBCHAPTER III, Part I § 1402. Persons born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899 All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899, and prior to January 13, 1941, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, residing on January 13, 1941, in Puerto Rico or other territory over which the United States exercises rights of sovereignty and not citizens of the United States under any other Act, are declared to be citizens of the United States as of January 13, 1941. All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are citizens of the United States at birth. [2]

This is part of the US Nationality law; I submitted to the Wikipedia community this US Nationality law to be included on the article. I require a consensus of the Wikipedian community to include this. This is an encyclopedia and all the US Nationality laws must be included on this article. (Seablade (talk) 14:45, 4 November 2008 (UTC))

The section to which you inserted this information is about how before territory-born persons were only "US nationals" before they were granted citizenship, not how citizenship was granted in each territory. The information you provided is relevant and not out of context only if you create such a section of the history of territorial citizenship, and that you include all relevant territories, not only Puerto Rico. HkCaGu (talk) 16:58, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
Being an encyclopedia doesn't mean "all the US Nationality laws must be included" in this article. HkCaGu (talk) 16:59, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

how many?[edit]

This article is essentially about US citizenship. It should say how many US citizens there are somewhere early on. Bobbyi (talk) 05:28, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

It's about the legal framework surrounding the concept of "citizenship" in U.S. law. Such statistics would belong, if anywhere, in demographics of the United States. Circeus (talk) 05:05, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Are Permanent Residents accepted to be citizens nationals of the United States?[edit]

I am to be sworn in as a United States citizen in a month or two but I was wondering is my country of nationality the United States? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

No. A "permanent resident" is NOT a US citizen. You will not be a citizen (or, for that matter, a national) of the United States until after you have been sworn in as a citizen. Your nationality is that of the country of which you are already a citizen — and depending on that country's laws, you might (or might not) still be a citizen of that country even after you acquire US citizenship.
Any thoughts from other editors as to whether or not the above point should be mentioned in the article? Many people would probably assume the answer is obvious, but if I had a dollar for everyone who has confused permanent residency with citizenship in the various recent immigration debates . . . . Richwales (talk) 23:18, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
A U.S. Person is a legal U.S. Citizen, Resident, or a refugee. That would seem to cover it. I work in an environment legal status can be an issue, and I'm often asked whether or not I'm a U.S. Citizen, when in fact the correct question should be as to whether or not I'm a U.S. Person; so this is by no means well known, even among those who should know. Legal residents have to learn to research for themselves, and (respectfully) assert themselves on this matter.--Rfsmit (talk) 22:35, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Children of Illegal Immigrants[edit]

The neutrality of this article is at risk when it states that the fact that a person being born in the U.S. does not grant immediate citizenship and nationality, since it is clearly stated in several laws and the constitution that just being born in the United States is enough to become a citizen, whoever the parents are, except when the parents are diplomats. This page makes it believe that there is a dispute and controversy over that subject and that it's yet to be discussed by the Supreme Court when such an act, if in contrary, would violate the U.S. Constitution. Albalma (talk) 02:57, 17 April 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Albalma (talkcontribs) 12:17, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Some (definitely not all, but some) people do consider this point controversial (read Birthright citizenship in the United States of America and its talk page for more details). My recollection is that when an attempt was made to put more straightforward language here, in this article, about the citizenship of people born in the US, there were objections from editors who demanded reliable sources and insisted that we not go beyond precisely what the sources actually said. For example, since U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark dealt with a child of legal resident non-citizens, there are people who insist that Wong Kim Ark does not guarantee citizenship at birth to children of illegal aliens — and that a change in the law to deny citizenship to such people would not violate the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause, and that a current Supreme Court would not find such a law to violate the Wong Kim Ark decision. I would personally support simplifying and generalizing the text in this article and (to the greatest extent possible) punting any controversy into Birthright citizenship in the United States of America, but just keep in mind that you're going to need to stick to reliable sources and present a balanced and neutral viewpoint acknowledging all significant views on the subject (while, at the same time, not giving undue weight to fringe theories). Richwales (talk) 14:26, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

albalma: Well, then at least mention the Code of the U.S. Title 8 Section 1401 and the 14th ammendment to the constitution, they do put an end to the discussion if there's any. It's even more lacking in neutrality and objectivity to state that there's a controversy and that they U.S. Supreme Court has meta-constitutional powers, which it does not. I highly doubt the neutrality of this entire page and I believe it's being used as part of a misinformational agenda of some kind. Albalma (talk) 02:57, 17 April 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Albalma (talkcontribs) 14:31, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree that the "Birth in the United States" subsection is slanted as it currently stands. The introductory verbiage should probably say that, under current US law, virtually all children born in the US (including possessions) are considered to be US citizens automatically from birth. Cite the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, and also mention (in summary form only, not a full verbatim quote) sections 301-309 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. We can point out, by the way, that INA 301-309 is restated in title 8, sections 1401-1409 of the U.S. Code, but please remember that 8 USC has not been enacted as positive law, so the primary cite needs to be to INA 301-309.
It is probably not necessary or appropriate to get into the "controversy" here; readers can be referred to the article on Birthright citizenship in the United States of America for that. Some editors, no doubt, will object to even saying here that "current US law" confers citizenship at birth to almost everyone born in the US, but the current reality is that this is so, and any comments to the effect that (in some editor's view) this practice is wrong would be POV and out of place here.
Exactly how (if at all) to treat U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark in this article may be problematic. If you edit the text to say that Wong Kim Ark assures citizenship at birth to everyone (except diplomats) born on US soil, you will spark an edit war from people who insist that Wong Kim Ark doesn't settle the question of US-born children of illegal aliens (or possibly even from people who insist that Wong Kim Ark was wrongly decided, should/will be overturned by the current Supreme Court at its first opportunity, and is worthy of nothing but scorn until that time).
Additionally, any reworking of this subsection needs to incorporate the two existing sources if at all humanly possible; otherwise, someone will revert your work on the grounds that it is vandalism to remove verified, reliable sources from an article.
Finally, please be aware that accepted Wikipedia convention for talk pages calls upon each of us to sign our own postings by typing a word consisting only of four tildes (~~~~) at the very end of our post. There is an automated "bot" that will try to add signatures where necessary, but it's considered bad form to leave this task to the bot. Richwales (talk) 17:15, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

The title of this page is U.S. Nationality Law, court decisions are not precisely law that is generated by Congress, but jurisdiction. Omitting all formal laws that actually regulate Nationality and Citizenship makes this page either useless or completely biased. I would agree with quoting the laws, or at least mentioning them, else, what is the point of the title followed by non-law material? Which leads me to suspect this page is an attempt to deviate attention from the actual laws and non-biased/law-based pages. Editors should put aside their partisanship in the pursuit of truth and expressing facts and knowledge rather than opinions like "This or that is controversial", which is inflamatory and does not help our better understanding of the subjects at hand. Until then I stand by the POV for this page. Thank you Albalma (talk) 02:56, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

If you'll check other Wikipedia pages on legal topics, you'll find that it is considered standard practice here to summarize a legal situation without fully quoting all applicable statutes. Further, the general emphasis in Wikipedia is supposed to be to report what secondary sources say; primary sources, when used at all, should be used sparingly. And if available sources on a given point do disagree, it may indeed be necessary to say that controversy exists. I'd strongly suggest you examine the WikiProject Law page, and if you have serious concerns about the appropriate philosophy for this article (or others on legal topics), consider bringing up the issues on that project's talk page. Richwales (talk) 03:40, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Removed spam 2009-04-23[edit]

In reviewing the links under United_States_nationality_law#New_naturalization_test, I removed a spammy link to an immigration specialist's site. However, as it may prove useful to some, here is the link. It is a crossword puzzle designed around the New Naturalization Test questions. Note that the PDF containing the answers is damaged. Note also that the law firm's home page linked to by an earlier revision of this article lists an incorrect link to the puzzle. It was found by googling with "crossword"--Rfsmit (talk) 22:20, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Why did you remove the crossword puzzle without contacting the creator (law firm) first? Was it not presumptuous on your part to state that it was a "spammy link"? It is in fact very helpful to people who are taking the naturalization test. —Preceding unsigned comment added by

Statistics on Americans abroad are incomplete[edit]

The state department published official statistics a few years ago. It's not on their site anymore, but a copy is here: Many countries with many Americans are not listed at all in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dreamercon (talkcontribs) 15:35, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Acquisition of citizenship through birth abroad to US citizen parent(s)[edit]

The info currently in this article appears to disagree with the info at the cited supporting source (US State Department web page Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship By a Child Born Abroad). Is this unintended error or intentional oversimplification? Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 06:43, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Nationals who are not citizens[edit]

Were Ryukyuans nationals of the US before the territory was handed over to Japan? What about natives of the Panama Canal Zone? If they weren't US nationals were they effectively stateless? Koratian (talk) 18:14, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

As the Okinawa Prefecture article says, following the Battle of Okinawa and the end of World War II in 1945, Okinawa was under United States administration for 27 years. During the trusteeship rule the USAF established numerous military bases on the Ryukyu islands. Also see the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands article. Re the Panama Canal Zone, see the article on the Hay–Bunau Varilla Treaty. Also see the United States nationality law#Nationals who are not citizens section. Neither the Ryuku islands nor the Panama canal Zone were US Posessions, and their population did not acquire US nationality. At least that is my layman's understanding. Also please see WP:TPG#How to use article talk pages -- talk pages are for discussing the article, not for general conversation about the article's subject. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 00:20, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

Double negative in "Nationals who are not citizens"[edit]

Like aliens, U.S. nationals who are not citizens are not prevented from voting in state and federal elections by the federal government, but are not allowed in any U.S. state to vote in federal elections.

This is a very confusing sentence. Lent (talk) 18:45, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Don't know how to improve it. "Nationals who are not citizens" is a very specific terminology, and "are not prevented from voting" cannot be just rephrased as "can vote". HkCaGu (talk) 19:14, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Can vote U.S. Nationals in State elections? --Seablade (talk) 05:09, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

"Noncitizen U.S. nationals, like aliens, are not prevented by the federal government from voting in state elections, but are disallowed from voting in federal elections." (??) Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 13:19, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
You might have reinterpreted the rules, so I'd suggest keeping the original "prevented" and "allowed" phrases. But I do like the phrase "non-citizen U.S. nationals". The second half of the sentence can probably be rephrased to "but no U.S. state has allowed them to..." HkCaGu (talk) 19:47, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Well, in my opinion, the rule was set in the U.S. Supreme Court case Snowden v. Hughes, 321 U.S. 1, 7 (1943), this case affirm: The protection extended to citizens of the United States by the privileges and immunities clause includes those rights and privileges which, under the laws and Constitution of the United States, are incident to citizenship of the United States, but does not include rights pertaining to state citizenship and derived solely from the relationship of the citizen and his state established by state law. The right to become a candidate for state office, like the right to vote for the election of state officers, is a right or privilege of state citizenship, not of national citizenship, which alone is protected by the privileges and immunities clause.

"Snowden v. Hughes, 321 U.S. 1 (1944)" (PDF). U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. Supreme Court Center. 1944-01-17. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 

See also: State citizenship

Technically, a Noncitizen U.S. national could become a citizen of the state that reside as per U.S. Supreme Court jurisdiction and has the state citizenship right to vote. Or can not? --Seablade (talk) 05:55, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

I am unable to parse that, but my understanding is as follows:
  • It is within the power of state governments to decide who can vote in state elections. Such persons are called "Electors".
  • Article I Section 2 of the US constitution says, in part, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature."
  • The 17th amendment to the US constitution says, in part, "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures."
  • The President and Vice President are chosen by an electoral college, members of which are chosen by individual states according to procedures which they establish, per article II section 1 of and per the 12th amendment to the US constitution.
See this. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 04:30, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Additional Information that would help to improve that confusing sentence (or maybe not):

U.S. Court cases retrieved related to this (information was retrieved from the case cited on the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decision allowing Non U.S. Citizens vote, if they are citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (State Citizens)):

Pope v. Williams 193 U.S. 621, 632 (1904): ...the privilege to vote in a State is within the jurisdiction of the State itself, to be exercised as the State may direct, and upon such terms as to it may seem proper, provided, of course, no discrimination is made between individuals in violation of the Federal Constitution. The State might provide that persons of foreign birth could vote without being naturalized...

Crosse v. Board of Supervisors of Elections, 221 A. 2d 431 (Md. Ct. App. 1966); y U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 549 552 (1875).

Snowden v. Hughes, 321 U.S. 1, 7 (1943): "The right to become a candidate for state office, like the right to vote for the election of state officers, a right or privilege of state citizenship, not of national citizenship..."

U.S. v. Cruikshank: 'We have in our political system a government of the United States and a government of each of the several States. Each one of these governments is distinct from the others, and each has citizens of its own who owe it allegiance, and whose rights, within its jurisdiction, it must protect. The same person may be at the same time a citizen of the United States and a citizen of a State, but his rights of citizenship under one of these governments will be different from those he has under the other.

Lassiter v. Northampton Electoral Bd., 360 U.S. 45, 50 (1959): "The States have long been held to have broad powers to determine the conditions under which the right of suffrage may be exercised; Pope v. Williams, 193 U.S. 621, 633; Mason v. Missouri, 179 U.S. 328, 335..." Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368, 379 (1963): "States can within limits specify the qualifications of voters in both state and federal elections; the Constitution indeed makes voters' qualifications rest on state law even in federal elections."

Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641, 647 (1966),: "Under the distribution of powers effected by the Constitution, the States establish qualifications for voting for state officers, and the qualifications established by the States for voting for members of the most numerous branch of the state legislature also determine who may vote for United States Representatives and Senators...

Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112 (1970). "No function is more essential to the separate and independent existence of the States and their governments than the power to determine the qualifications of their own voters...

Additional cases: Marston v. Lewis, 410 U.S. 679 (1973); Burns v. Fortson, 410 U.S. 6861 (1973); Evans v. Cornman, 398 U.S. 419, 422 (1970); McDonald v. Bd. of Election, 394 U.S. 802, 807 (1969); Carrington v. Rash, 380 U.S. 89, 91 (1965); y, Harman v. Forssenius, 380 U.S. 528, 535 (1965).

-Seablade (talk) 16:24, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Bio page in the US passport does not distinguish between citizens and non-citizens nationals[edit]

"The U.S. passport bio-page shows one’s status as either a citizen or a non-citizen national."

The bio page in the US passport does not indicate whether a holder is a citizen or non-citizen national. The annotations page can have such remark, as referred to in [27]. I think the above sentence should be corrected. Almikul (talk) 19:43, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Natural-born in U.S. territories[edit]

Natural-born in U.S. territories

Speculation began this week by a national media blog[1] and by Grover Norquist, a well-known Republican commentator about the long-shot possibility of including Gov. Luis Fortuño on the GOP ballot in 2012 to effectively outreach the growing Hispanic population. If this becomes a credible, albeit long-shot, option, it will generate debate as to whether someone born in PR in 1960 who acquired US citizenship simply by being born, and who could acquire no other citizenship at birth (contrary to McCain, who could have acquired Panamanian citizenship according to some) is a natural-born citizen for presidential qualification purposes. If not, if Puerto Rico-born representatives José Serrano, Nydia Velázquez or Luis Gutierrez were elected Speakers of the House, would that election remove the Speakership from the line of succession while they held that post? Pr4ever (talk) 13:32, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Newsweek Article Reference:

--Seablade (talk) 02:43, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

People born in territories are given citizenship via LAW, not being naturally born within the United States, as a terriroy is not a 'united state'. Thus McCain can never be president. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Trentc (talkcontribs) 09:08, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
People born in the US proper are also given citizenship via law; citizenship is a legal concept. (talk) 07:14, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Add question of Pr4ever on Natural-born in U.S. territories to this Article discussion section --Seablade (talk) 02:50, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Speculation is just that, speculation, and not really appropriate for this article (per WP:CRYSTAL (and note that the blog post is titled "absurdly premature 2012 watch") --Loonymonkey (talk) 21:12, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Additional Speculation: The Daily Maverick Reference (February 2010): The 2012 US Presidential Election: Who will take control of badly listing Republican ship? --Seablade (talk) 04:03, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Congressional Research Service Report RL30527[edit]

Congressional Research Service Report RL30527

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), known as "Congress's think tank", is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis.

Reports by the Congressional Research Service, usually referred to as CRS Reports, are the encyclopedic, public domain research reports written to clearly define issues in a legislative context. Over 700 new CRS reports are produced each year; almost 4,000 are currently in existence.

As you can see on the following CRS Report for Congress on the Report RL30527 of April 17, 2000, title Presidential Elections in the United States: A Primer adressed the Natural Born Citizens definition.

You can find this Report on the following WikiLeaks Document Release Web Address of February 2, 2009.

Qualifications for the Office of President (Page 6 - 7)

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution specifies that, to be President or Vice President, a person must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years of age, and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.1 Most constitutional scholars interpret this language as including citizens born outside the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens under the “natural born” requirement.2 Under the 22nd Amendment, no one may serve more than two full terms, although a Vice President who succeeds to the Presidency and serves less than two full years of the prior incumbent’s term may seek election to two additional terms.

Footnote (Page 6-7)

1 Defined as including the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

2 Citizens born in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are legally defined as “natural born” citizens, and are, therefore, also eligible to be elected President, provided they meet qualifications of age and 14 years residence within the United States. Residence in Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and possessions does not qualify as residence within the United States for these purposes. [U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, U.S. Insular Areas and Their Political Development, by Andorra Bruno and Garrine P. Laney, CRS Report 96-578GOV (Washington: Jun. 17, 1996), pp. 9, 21, 33]. I. Presidential Candidates Qualifications for the Office of President Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution specifies that, to be President or Vice President, a person must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years of age, and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.1 Most constitutional scholars interpret this language as including citizens born outside the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens under the “natural born” requirement.2 Under the 22nd Amendment, no one may serve more than two full terms, although a Vice President who succeeds to the Presidency and serves less than two full years of the prior incumbent’s term may seek election to two additional terms.'

Congressional Research Service reports

Reports by the Congressional Research Service, usually referred to as CRS Reports, are the encyclopedic, public domain research reports written to clearly define issues in a legislative context. Over 700 new CRS reports are produced each year; almost 4,000 are currently in existence.

--Seablade (talk) 21:46, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

The problem with this "report" is Congress does not have the power or authority to define what "natural-born" as mentioned in the US Constitution. Trentc (talk) 09:12, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, Congress does have that power, provided that the definition is contained in a bill that becomes law through one of the usual channels, and subject to judicial review by the courts. The real problem with this report is that it is an opinion of the Congressional Research Service, which has no force of law. (talk) 07:21, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Eligibility for public office subsection, Chester A. Arthur, and jus sanguinis[edit]

I just noticed an apparently questionable sentence in this subsection:

Chester Arthur (born of an American mother and Irish father, purported birthplace of Canada) was sworn in as President, however his status as a "Natural born citizen" was challenged because he was born with British citizenship [17] (therefore not jus sanguinus) and it is contended, on foreign soil (therefore not jus soli).

This has been in the article for some time, so I'm raising it here rather than unilaterally editing. The explanation of jus sanguinis elsewhere in this article conflicts with this.The jus sanguinis article explains, "Jus sanguinis (Latin: right of blood) 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." Also, Ref [17] there is footnoted wikilink to a subsection of another WP article, not a supporting citation.

As far as I know, being born in a situation where a State other than the U.S. considers one to be a citizen of that State does not necessarily have any connection with jus sanguinis, nor with U.S. citizenship status at birth, nor with possible status as a Natural born citizen of the United States, nor with Presidential eligibility.

The Chester A. Arthur article does not mention any challenge to his election as Vice President or to his ascension to the Presidency — let alone what reasoning might have been behind such challenges.

It looks to me as if the sentence quoted above should be removed. At a minimum, it should be clarified and supported. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 18:38, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Furthermore, Chester Arthur was born in Vermont, so he was a natural-born citizen; the statement "because he was born with..." should say "because it was claimed that he was born with...". I'm going to remove that nonsense. (talk) 07:28, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Us Nationality without citizenship[edit]

It has been asserted that only those individuals born on swains island are noncitizen nationals, according to 8 U.S.C. § 1408 any individual born to noncitizens on any US possesion is a national but not a citizen, since there is no organic act for any of the unincorporated minor outlying islands they apply to the law. I challenge anyone to find a source saying that an organic act has been passed for any of the unincorporated minor territories.XavierGreen (talk) 18:33, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

8USC1408 is part of 8USC Chapter 12. Chapter 12 begins with 8USC1101, which provides the definitions for the whole chapter. "Outlying possession" is defined as American Samoa and Swains Islands only, not Wake, not Howland or any of the minor islands where it' practically impossible to really know if you are (or are not) born there. HkCaGu (talk) 19:02, 28 March 2010 (UTC) states that the the persons in question would be considered by the supreme court and international law to be us non citizen nationals.XavierGreen (talk) 20:00, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
7 FAM 1121.4-3 (Page 7 of the State Department document) distinguishes between those LIVE there and those BORN there. Those LIVE there (none except base population) may be nationals, but not by just being BORN there. HkCaGu (talk) 20:27, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
It does not state that at all

7 FAM 1121.4-3 states "The United States exercises sovereignty over a few territories besides those mentioned above. Under international law and Supreme Court dicta, inhabitants of those territories, (Midway, Wake, Johnston, and other islands) would be considered non-citizen,U.S. nationals; However, because the INA defines "outlying possessions of the United States" as only American Samoa and Swains Island, there is no current law relating to the nationality of the inhabitants of those territories or persons born there who have not acquired U.S. nationality by other means." What are you refering to, it does not mention the word live at all? It seems that the judical branch of government recognizes such people as nationals while the other two branches are ambiguous on the status of such persons.XavierGreen (talk) 22:00, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

If you still can't read it, LIVE is the same word as INHABIT. INHABITANTS mean RESIDENTS. It means if you live in those little islands (implicitly: permanently, generation after generation, without anyone bothering you), you are a US non-citizen national. In reality, people aren't really born there, and if born there, you don't acquire US nationality per 8USC1408 just by being born there. HkCaGu (talk) 06:27, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Where do you equate INHABITANTS with RESIDENTS? There are people who live in antarctica yet they are not permenent residents. And people have been born on at least wake, midway, and navassa in the past. Wake was home to thousands of refugees during the vietnam war, for decades military families lived on wake and midway, and there are sources i can provide you with that describe the guano mining colony on navassa that mention people being born there.XavierGreen (talk) 14:59, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if you detected this point out of 7 FAM 1121.4-3--that there is a "black hole" unaddressed by both international law/supreme court (those who live there are US nationals) and 8USC1408 (those who're born there aren't automatically US nationals). The unimportance of the "hole" is that there has been no controversies that necessitate a court case or whatever. People on those islands are usually Americans already, or in the case of refugees, they're in transit to the US anyway. HkCaGu (talk) 15:58, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
How about just stating in the article that the status of such persons as nationals is ambiguous within us law? and citing the state department source as a ref, since that is essentially what it says anyway.XavierGreen (talk) 01:50, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Attempts to Introduce Fringe Theories[edit]

One editor introduced to this article a speculation that a "distinct minority" of people had a view of birthright citizenship that somehow would disqualify Obama from being President. While it did not explicitly intend that as its purpose, this particular, bizarre opinion had not previously surfaced in this article and could only be intended to support the "Birther" hypothesis which many have floated before on other articles with little success, as the voluminous attempts to do it on the Obama article itself show. Muldrake (talk) 05:20, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

I am not even close to being a "birther", but I'm hesitant to go too far in censoring non-mainstream interpretations of "natural born citizen" — especially when such interpretations have been around for a very long time and have, on occasion, been put forth by members of Congress or even in Supreme Court dissents. I'm inclined, on this basis, to support the reinstatement of the Emerich de Vattel paragraph, provided we can stick reasonably closely to reporting what the secondary source (Westell Willoughby in American Political Science Review) says about de Vattel's views. Richwales (talk) 05:50, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Minors, nationality and citizenship[edit]

Can minors be US citizens (or people who, whatever the reason, may not vote, i.e. don't have a right which is included in the usual definitions of citizenship), or are they only US nationals until age 18? If these people are US citizens, does anything else distinguish them from non-citizen US nationals? Apokrif (talk) 18:00, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Minors born with US citizenship are indeed considered US citizens. They can't vote, but that doesn't make them non-citizen nationals. The status of a non-citizen US national is a very distinct and narrow condition that applies only to a small number of people (e.g., the inhabitants of American Samoa). Are you trying to think of a way to incorporate something along these lines into the article? (If you were just asking a question, please read WP:NOTAFORUM, but I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here.) Richwales (talk) 18:36, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Dual citizenship and naturalization[edit]

The dual citizenship section on this page claims that dual citizenship is allowed in the US, but Renunciation of citizenship claims that "Mexico and the United States require renunciation of all other citizenships as a condition of naturalization." Which is right, or am I misunderstanding something here? --Scgtrp (talk) 13:03, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

I think that this is a terminology problem. What do you mean by "allowed" vs. "disallowed"? The U.S. does not penalize its citizens who have or who acquire other citizenships in any way (I don't know offhand about Mexico). As a part of the naturalization process, the U.S. requires naturalization candidates to take a proforma oath renouncing other allegiances. Taking such an oath generally has no effect whatever on other citizenship status. Such an oath renouncing allegiance to the U.S. taken by a U.S. citizen acquiring naturalized citizenship in another country would have no effect on U.S. citizenship status. The legal landscape gets muddled when the laws of more than one country are involved. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 13:46, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
Right. "allegiance" ≠ citizenship -- (talk) 04:50, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I think the point here is intended more as explained in the Renunciation of citizenship article. See also Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 21:26, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

There is direct evidence I've quoted for my change- so RW - which aspect is "not exactly what it says" - please, before deleting you should provide secondary sources that substantiate the claim that provide nuance and reasonable disagreement of that statement. skkthetwo — Preceding unsigned comment added by Skthetwo (talkcontribs) 05:57, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Dual citizenship by U.S. naturalization is technically forbidden and the U.S. will not recognize it, as noted by the oath of citizenship, regardless of whether the former country (or countries) recognize(s) the change. Polycitizenship (dual- or tri-) by the facts of birth is permitted and may be recognized. As for the expatriation of U.S. citizens, a foreign oath is insufficient. A specific act of expatriation (usually at an embassy or consulate) is what cancels U.S. citizenship, but note that certain U.S. tax effects may attach for up to 10 years following. 2001:470:D:468:4D38:4D80:C9B0:7B3C (talk) 07:48, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Loss of Citizenship[edit]

Possible Update or reference on Loss of Citizenship: In the case of Colon v. U.S. Department of State, 2 F.Supp.2d 43 (1998), plaintiff was a United States citizen born in Puerto Rico and resident of Puerto Rico, who executed an oath of renunciation before a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In rejecting Plaintiff’s renunciation, the Department notes that Plaintiff demonstrated no intention of renouncing all ties to the United States. While Plaintiff claims to reject his United States citizenship, he nevertheless wants to remain a resident of Puerto Rico. Plaintiff’s response to the Secretary’s position is to claim a fundamental distinction between United States and Puerto Rican citizenship. The U.S. Department of State position asserts that renunciation of U.S. citizenship must entail renunciation of Puerto Rican citizenship as well. The court does decide to not enter to the merits of the citizenship issue; however the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected Colon’s petition for a writ of mandamus directing the Secretary of State to approve a Certificate of Loss of Nationality in the case because the plaintiff wanted to retain one of the primary benefits of U.S. citizenship while claiming he was not a U.S. citizen. The Court described the plaintiff as a person, "claiming to renounce all rights and privileges of United States citizenship, [while] Plaintiff wants to continue to exercise one of the fundamental rights of citizenship, namely to travel freely throughout the world and when he wants to, return and reside in the United States. The court based this decision on the Inmigration and Nationality Act section 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(38), that provide the term “United States” definition and evince that Puerto Rico is a part of the United States for such purposes.[2][3][4]

Based on the federal court ruling on Colon v. U.S. Department of State, months after the U.S. State Department accepted his renunciation, Juan Mari Bras was notified on June 4, 1998, by the U.S Department of State, that they were rescinding their acceptance, and refused to accept Juan Mari Bras renunciation, determining that Mari Brás could not renounce his American citizenship because he did not request another national citizenship, and he was born and remains living and working in Puerto Rico. This, said the federal agency, makes Mari Brás a U.S. citizen, the only national citizenship that Washington recognizes for Puerto Ricans.[5] --Seablade (talk) 02:46, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

This might be relevant in the specific context of a mention of the Puerto Rican citizenship issue and the Puerto Rican independence movement. Colon and Mari Bras attempted (unsuccessfully) to renounce their US citizenship as part of their (thus far rejected) assertion that Puerto Rican citizenship exists (or ought to exist) separately from US citizenship. Any mention here should probably be no more than a brief summary and a link to the articles which already handle the subject in detail. Richwales (talk · contribs) 04:20, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

I already incorporated, long time ago, the reference and the information of the federal court ruling on Colon v. U.S. Department of State, on the Loss of Citizenship section, however the case of Mari Bras, is interesting, because illustrate that one of the options of the U.S. Department of State is revoke an already accepted, loss of nationality acceptance, because a citizen do not renounce to all the rights and privileges of the U.S. Citizenship.

About the Puerto Rican citizenship, well the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decision is very clear, that is attached to the Puerto Rico Constitution, the case do reference to a lot of U.S Supreme Court decisions about the state citizenship and their rights, that the state citizenship is separate to the U.S. Citizenship, and construed the equivalence of Puerto Rico citizenship and Puerto Rico government autonomy under the federal jurisdiction as equivalent to the State Citizenship of any of the 50 states that is attached to the state respective constitution and to any state government autonomy under the federal jurisdiction. Specifying that the purpose of Congress in the 1950 and 1952 legislation was to accord to Puerto Rico the degree of autonomy and independence normally associated with a State of the Union. E.g. It also indicate that the U.S. Supreme Court indicate that the right to vote to state positions on the state elections is a state citizenship privilege and no a U.S. Citizenship privileges. The beginning of the Mari Bras Case was the request to have the right to vote on the Puerto Rico elections, without the U.S. Citizenship. --Seablade (talk) 05:40, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

U.S. National vs. State National[edit]

I am under the impression that they are not the same concept.

which term is used explicitly when referencing a non-citizen national?

are there not in fact two forms of Non-Citizen Nationals? depending on their nationality with specific reference to State Nationality? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

The several States, while sovereign, are not a nation in any sense of the word. Hence, state nationality is a nonsensical concept. A citizen of a state is merely a US Citizen whose permanent residence is in the state in question. US nationals (non-citizens) generally hail from American Samoa, and are thus fairly rare in the mainland US. If a US national from the American Samoa were to move to, say, California, they would be a non-citizen resident of California, and would remain as such until they become naturalized. --KRAPENHOEFFER! TALK 15:48, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Denationalization, and the post-1990 State Dept policy re intent[edit]

I've moved the following snippet here for discussion. This has been inserted, removed, and reinserted in the Dual nationality section in recent edits.

The State Department states that if you acquire another citizenship by marriage say or discovery of a long lost ancestor, that is acquiring it without applying for it, that is if you are automatically granted it, then you do not risk losing US citizenship. However, if you apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship and intent can be shown by the person's statements or conduct then you risk losing US citizenship.[3]

Aside from unencyclopedic language, that strikes me as being too vague to be useful. As I understand it, the situation in a bit more detail is as follows:

There are seven expatriating acts designated in Section 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act by which a native born or naturalized U.S. citizen may lose his nationality. They are as follows:

  1. Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state.
  2. Taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or political subdivision thereof.
  3. Entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state.
  4. Accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state.
  5. Making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State.
  6. Making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality in such form as may be prescribed by, and before such officer as may be designated by the Attorney General. (Only under wartime situations).
  7. Committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States.[4]

The intent standard was established in Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 (1967), and clarified in Vance v. Terrazas, 444 U.S. 252 (1980) (Afroyim used the term "assent"; Terrazas clarified that "assent" meant "an intent to relinquish citizenship, whether the intent is expressed in words or is found as a fair inference from his conduct.")

In 1990, the State Department adopted a new standard for determining intent which included important exceptions. The new standard presumes that US citizens intend to retain their US citizenship even when they perform certain acts designated by law as renunciatory (e.g., becoming naturalized in a foreign state, swearing allegiance to a foreign state or working for a foreign government in a non policy-making position). The new standard does not apply, however, when the US citizen makes a formal renunciation as required by law, works for a foreign government as a policy-maker, is convicted of treason, or commits a renunciatory act and his conduct is so inconsistent with intent to retain citizenship that the conclusion is inescapable that he intended to give it up.[5]

All that is probably too much detail for the article. Perhaps a better wordsmith than I can strike a reasonable compromise re the amount of detail which the article should spell out. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 08:25, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

ok I'm the one who thinks this aspect is important and you think its not - I'm sure we can find a framework of words that works - there is a clear case that the US govt can take away your US nationality if certain aspects occur. they even define it on their website - lets stick with that - and you want to say that their website is not at all authoritative - go ahead - I'm ok with chapter and verse quoted stating how the website data differs from the case law. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Skthetwo (talkcontribs) 09:23, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

There is an answer here I reckon - lets ASK the state dept what the current standard is - you or me ? I'm ok with asking them - I'm sure you are too - in the meantime what words should be on the wiki then ? I stick by the right formulation - which would combine the case law statement from 1990 and the words on their website. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Skthetwo (talkcontribs) 09:41, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Asking the someone at the State Dept privately would be original research. The results of that inquiry wouldn't stand up under WP's verifiability policy. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 23:45, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
And for what little it may be worth, I actually did ask the State Dept. about this issue in 1996, and the response I received was a copy of the 1990 "Advice about Possible Loss of US Citizenship and Dual Nationality" statement (the one saying that foreign naturalization or foreign oaths of allegiance no longer generally result in loss of US citizenship). So I would suggest that there is little to be gained by pursuing this route, even if the results of such an inquiry were acceptable for use here (which, as Wtmitchell pointed out, they are probably not). — Richwales 01:50, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Native Americans[edit]

Are Native Americans of the federally recognized tribes nationals of the United States, but not citizens? Are they considered completely soveriegn? There's no mention of Native Americans in the current document. Thelema418 (talk) 00:53, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

I agree that this topic is not (but should be) mentioned in the article. Native Americans born in the US have been full-fledged US citizens since the enactment of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. This fact is reiterated in Section 301(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 [8 U.S.C. 1401(b)], which recognizes the birthright citizenship of "a person born in the United States to a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other aboriginal tribe: Provided, That the granting of citizenship under this subsection shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of such person to tribal or other property". Prior to 1924, Native Americans born on reservations were not considered to be US citizens by birth (see the 1884 Supreme Court case, Elk v. Wilkins). — Richwales 01:44, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Nationals who are not citizens[edit]

Then Nationals who are not citizens section appears to misconstrue the meaning of "outlying possession" when it says, "which as of 2005 is limited to American Samoa, [etc., etc.]". Acquisition of U.S. Nationality in U.S. Territories and Possessions</ref> 7 FAM 1121.2-1 Definition of Terms defines this term as follows:

An "unincorporated

territory" or "outlying possession" is an area over which the Constitution has not been expressly and fully extended by the Congress within the meaning of Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution.

This definition would include all unincorporated territories of the U.S. (i.e., all except Palmyra Atoll). American Samoa (I recall without checking to confirm) is the only unincorporated territory (AKA "outlying possession") of the U.S. which granfs birthright nationality but not birthright citizenship. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 06:15, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I see your point, but immediately following mentioning AS and UM, it continues to explain how other territories were once similar to AS today: GU, PR, MP, etc. So by the end of the section, every current unincorporated/possession is covered. HkCaGu (talk) 06:55, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I made that comment in a rush, following on these rushed edits (I was being rushed by other matters) to the Birthright citizenship in the United States article. I had come from there to check info in this article, and went on to comment here, still in a rush.
I still think that the assertion, "According to 8 U.S.C. § 1408 persons born (or found, and of unknown parentage, under the age of 5) in an outlying possession of the U.S. are U.S. nationals but not citizens, unless ..." invites misinterpretation -- especially as that only applies in the unique case of American Samoa and is not the case in any of the other outlying possessions, the names of which come more readily to mind (e.g., Puerto Rico, Guam, ...). I'm still in a bit of a rush, so I won't try to come up with a suggested rewording on the fly here, but it seems to me that some rewording is needed. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 12:36, 31 March 2013 (UTC)


Curious how US Nationals and Immigrants cannot vote, yet are not forbidden to vote? Is this why any ID will let someone vote, and proof of Citizenship is required?Presidentbalut (talk) 01:38, 23 August 2013 (UTC)


Here, I've made some changes in the article info re the Philippines. In doing so, it occurs to me to wonder about the history of U.S. nationality for Filipinos. The article quotes a cited source as saying, “[f]rom the time the United States obtained dominion over the Philippines in 1899 until it granted independence to the islands in 1946, [the United States] Congress classified natives of the Philippines as Philippine citizens, as non-citizen United States nationals, and as aliens, but never as United States citizens.” It occurs to me to wonder what instrument removed U.S. nationality from Filipinos; the Treaty of Manila (1946) doesn't seem to have done that (see p. 4 here). The 1935 Constitution of the RP granted Philippine citizenship (see here), but it didn't remove U.S. nationality -- whether it would have that authority might be arguable since, as I recall, that constitution was approved by the U.S.). Was U.S. nationality explicitly removed from Filipinos who became RP citizens after RP independence? If so, by action of what instrument or legal provision? Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 04:24, 14 June 2015 (UTC) ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict) Three recent edits ([6], [7], [8]) by User:Raellerby, combined diffs here, expanded the cites in the article regarding this. Thanks for that. I'll try to expand relevant details re US nationality of/for Filipinos a bit below as far as I understand them by reading article snippets and supporting sources now cited. The supporting sources cited there are all primary sources, so any editorial interpretation is outside of WP's policies.

  • National status rescinded in 1935;[6]
For clarity, I've edited the article here to add a quote from SEC. 8.(a)(1) in the cited source saying explicitly that all Filipinos not holding U.S. citizenship would be legally considered to be aliens (i.e., would have lost status as U.S. nationals if they held that status).
  • granted independence in 1946;[7]
  • United States citizenship never accorded[8]

I think that is clear enough, and it answers my earlier concern about support for loss of US nationality by/for Filipinos.

Now, I'm wondering about acquisition of US nationality by Filipinos. Jones Law (Philippines) ([9]) provided an Organic Act for the Philippine Islands under U.S. sovereignty. The text of that Act provided "... That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands [...], shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands,". Is there some generally accepted legal principal that persons in this situation (citizens of a subsidiary unit of a sovereign nation) are considered "nationals" of the nation holding sovereignty? Is there some generally accepted principal in U.S. law to that effect? If not, was there some legal action or instrument which explicitly bestowed U.S. nationality on Filipinos (and on affected persons in other territories acquired by the U.S. in the Treaty of Paris (1898))? Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 01:30, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

Proposal to merge Citizenship in the United States to this United States nationality law article[edit]

  • Oppose a merger. I have three objections. First, while I agree that there is some overlap between the two subjects, in my view they are two distinct subjects: Citizenship in the United States covers the relation of Citizenship in the US context -- what citizenship means, its rights and privileges, how it comes about, its history, what it means to people, and of necessity includes aspects of citizenship law, while United States nationality law focuses on the body of law relating to citizenship, foreign nationals in the US, and so forth. They are really two separate subjects. Second, somewhat related to the first, is that it would be confusing to readers -- people wanting to learn about US citizenship, how to become a citizen, students studying US citizenship, and so forth, would look for the first article; in contrast, students of law, immigration lawyers, and such would look for the second article; bundling them together would cause confusion for both sets of readers. Third, trying to merge these two articles would be a difficult writing challenge. So I oppose a merger.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 09:52, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Whilst the subjects are similar at first instance, they diverge when explored deeper. (talk) 08:31, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

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Original citizenship status[edit]

This section mostly consists of sovereign citizen BS. I propose deleting virtually all of it, and maybe instead replacing it with a history of naturalization law in the US. Any oppose? --KRAPENHOEFFER! TALK 15:50, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

I'm unfamiliar with how the text relates to sovereign citizen arguments, but it's unreferenced and very poorly written, so I've reverted its recent addition. CMD (talk) 16:24, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Acquisition of citizenship : possible modes[edit]

I'm no topical expert here but, after seeing the edits above, I dug around a bit out of general interest searching for "uniform rule" as regards citizenship. I came upon something which suggests to me that this article needs some reorganization.

Vile, John R. (2016), American Immigration and Citizenship: A Documentary History, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp. 204-205, ISBN 978-1-4422-7020-6  (that book is described as "exhaustively researched", and see this) asserts that the 14th Amendment "... contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two only: birth and naturalization.", and asserts that "[C]itizenship by birth is established by the mere fact of birth under circumstances defined in the Constitution." It defines these circumstances as being "born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction". That definition of a citizen by birth follows from the first clause of the 14th Amendment, "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.", by making the indicated strikeout there. The book goes on to say that such persons become at once citizens of the United States, and need no naturalization. The book goes on to say, in my reading of it, that persons without those specific birth circumstances "can only become a citizen by being naturalized", and goes on to say, again in my reading, that naturalization is accomplished by bestowing citizenship by statute.

The organizational problem growing our of this which I see with the article is that, accepting my reading of that source, it implies that the article's Through birth abroad to United States citizens section ought to be a subsection under Naturalization, since the birth circumstances of those persons are not in accord with those specified in the first section of the 14th amendment.

If I am correct here, this has implications in other articles (e.g., in the [[Natural-born-citizen clause article, in at least the Barry Goldwater section there). I dug around a bit trying to find an online copy of the Arizona Statehood Act, intending to look for a provision therein conferring U.S. citizenship on citizens of the Arizona Territory (which would, by my reasoning above, put Goldwater into the Naturalized Citizen category), but I couldn't find an online copy.

I would appreciate some discussion here by persons more expert in this topic than I. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 05:34, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

Being correct there would have implications, however I have never seen citizenship-through-birth treated as naturalization anywhere in the world. As you note regarding the US specifically, the important distinction for citizenship is "natural-born" vs other. The most recent example was probably Ted Cruz, born in Canada, as a contender for US President, a position that cannot be held unless on is "natural-born". To propose a question regarding your interpretation, a child born outside the US would not have a State "wherein they reside", unlike someone who is naturalised, so perhaps it falls outside that clause altogether!
In a quick summary for this article, I think it is better to keep "natural-born" vs other as the structure, rather than "naturalised" vs other. CMD (talk) 06:24, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
I brought this up here with WP:DUE in mind ("Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources. ..."), questioning whether this seemingly significant viewpoint of this seemingly reliable source ought to be "fairly represent"ed here. I am mindful that the viewpoint of this source, if I understand it correctly, has wide ranging implications. I am also mindful of the fact that concern over those implications ought not to impact an editorial decision about whether to mention this viewpoint here or to deny it mention here.
Re natural born vs. other. this source would have that as birth vs. naturalized, asserting that the only constitutionaly recognized other is naturalized. Re other, this source asserts that naturalized covers all others. Re natural born, it seems to me that mention of that is best left to the Natural-born-citizen clause article.
Re the question you propose, please consider children born in the current U.S. territory of American Samoa. Children born there become U.S. nationals but not U.S. citizens, as was the case re children born in the Philippines while it was a U.S. territory between 1898 and 1946. Consider also the current U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Statutory law provides that children born in those territories become U.S. citizens. This source asserts that citizenship acquied by the application of statutory law is citizenship by naturalization ("The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution ... contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two only: birth and naturalization."[10]. Parenthetically, within this parenthetical clarification, search here for the word contemplates.).
The question at this point is whether this source and its assertions have sufficient topical weight to be mentioned in this article. If the answer to that question is "yes", further questions arise regarding how its mention ought to be presented here. Mention here would probably surface questions regarding the impact of that mentioning on other articles. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:46, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
I can read sparse pages of the book, but it seems nuanced enough that I would need to read more to gain a full appreciation of its arguments. If you can read more, it may be worth including that viewpoint into the text, but I don't think a single book provides enough force to change the article structure as it stan
Regarding the overseas territories and the 14th Amendment, to my understanding, at the time of the 14th Amendment the concept of unincorporated territories was unknown. Statutory law is indeed responsible, but to my understanding this law was law extending the jurisdiction of the relevant parts of the constitution to these areas, which would cause them to be citizenships by birth under the constitution rather than naturalisations. CMD (talk) 06:31, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I can only read the bits of that book which are previewable via Google Books, and I am limited to online sources. It cites United States v. Wong Kim Ark (decided in 1898), though, and the SCOTUS majority opinion there says, in part, "[The 14th Amendment] contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two only,-birth and naturalization." A dissenting opinion which agrees on this point also says, "... contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two sources only,-birth and naturalization." (see [11]). That dissenting opinion mentions Elk v. Wilkins (decided in 1884), which also says "The first section of the 14th Amendment] contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two sources only: birth and naturalization." (see [12]). Given all of this, it seems strange to me that the Acquisition of citizenship section is not divided into two subsections about aquisition by Birth and Nationality.
Having read further, though, I am now not convinced that I accept what that book said (or, possibly, what I read into it) -- that citizenship acquisition through birth abroad to United States citizens is acquisition through naturalization. That uncertainty comes from a look at 8 U.S. Code § 1402 - Persons born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899 (see [13]), which says, "... All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are citizens of the United States at birth."
Perhaps the Birth within the United States and the Naturalization subsections ought to be together, with the Through birth abroad to United States citizens subsection following them and containing added content saying that sources disagree about whether this mode is by birth (cite the book) or by naturalization (cite support).
None of that impacts the Birth/Naturalization categorization of either Ted Cruz or Barry Goldwater, but that's a question for the Natural-born-citizen clause article. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 08:14, 4 December 2016 (UTC)