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Section 309 of the United States’ Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1409) confers citizenship on children of unmarried U.S. citizen fathers and noncitizen mothers born outside the U.S. only if they meet certain requirements, including their father’s guarantee of financial support.

  • Country: United States
  • Law status: Discriminatory law in force
  • Law Type: Citizenship

Sex discrimination in personal status laws negatively impacts the ability of women to conduct various aspects of their daily lives. 

The Law:

Section 309 of the United States’ Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1409) confers citizenship on children of unmarried U.S. citizen fathers and noncitizen mothers born outside the U.S. only if they meet certain requirements, including their father’s guarantee of financial support.

Section 309. Children born out of wedlock.

(a) The provisions of paragraphs (c), (d), (e), and (g) of section 301 [granting United States citizenship] shall apply as of the date of birth to a person born out of wedlock if –

(1) a blood relationship between the person and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence,

(2) the father had the nationality of the United States at the time of the person’s birth,

(3) the father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the person reaches the age of 18 years, and

(4) while the person is under the age of 18 years –
          (A) the person is legitimated under the law of the person’s residence or domicile,
          (B) the father acknowledges paternity of the person in writing under oath, or
          (C) the paternity of the person is established by adjudication of a competent court.

. . .
    (c) Notwithstanding the provision of subsection (a) of this section, a person born, after December 23, 1952, outside the United States and out of wedlock shall be held to have acquired at birth the nationality status of his mother, if the mother had the nationality of the United States at the time of such person’s birth…

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