Types of Citizens

By Brian Heuberger ; Updated June 15, 2017
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Being a United States citizen grants you certain rights and privileges while requiring of you neccessary duties and obligations. As a nation that welcomes immigrants, there are numerous ways by which an immigrant can become a U.S. citizen. As a result, the types of U.S. citizenships can vary. All U.S. citizens, however, are entitled to the same privileges and equal protections.


A "citizen" of the U.S. represents anyone who was born in the U.S. or who is the child of at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen. If you were born on territory belonging to and governed by the U.S., or if one of your parents is already a U.S. citizen, then the term "citizen" applies to you.

Born Citizen

The term "born citizen" refers to a person who was born on U.S. soil. If you were born within the jurisdiction of U.S. land, then you are a born citizen.

Naturalized Citizen

A "naturalized citizen" refers to a person who was not born in the U.S. but who emigrated from another country to the U.S. Naturalized citizens acquire their U.S. citizenship and all of the benefits that citizenship entails by fulfilling the immigration citizenship process ordained and managed by the federal government. The requirements of obtaining naturalized citizenship include submitting numerous immigration applications, providing thorough documentation, receiving a visa, and swearing an oath of allegiance to the U.S.

Natural Born Citizen

A "natural born citizen" is a citizen who was born in the U.S. and whose parents were both U.S. citizens. Thus, if you were born in U.S. territory and both of your parents are U.S. citizens of any type, then you are a natural born citizen. According to Article II of the U.S. constitution, only natural born citizens are eligible to run for the office of presidency.