I was an army brat. My father was stationed overseas in the US army when I was born then continued to work for the army in Europe. I worked in the US for 2 years as an adult and have had many holidays there but mostly lived on bases in Europe in my childhood.

I am in a same sex civil partnership (UK) and we have a son who is genetically my son.

I’d like to apply for US citizenship for him but am unsure if he qualifies. The wording is confusing and I’m unsure if US bases are considered ‘outlying territory’ contributing to the 5 years I’d have to live in the US? I’m also unsure if I’m considered ‘in wedlock’ or not since I’m in a civil partnership?

Thanks for any advice.

1 Answer 1


"Outlying possessions of the United States" is defined in INA 101(a)(29) (8 USC 1101(a)(29)) to include only American Samoa and Swains Island.

However, for the physical presence requirement for passing US citizenship onto a child born abroad to one US citizen parent and one alien parent, time spent in the US military, or as a dependent child of someone in the US military, qualifies as physical presence in the US. See INA 301(g) (8 USC 1401(g)):

The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:

(g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years: Provided, That any periods of honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or periods of employment with the United States Government or with an international organization as that term is defined in section 288 of title 22 by such citizen parent, or any periods during which such citizen parent is physically present abroad as the dependent unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person (A) honorably serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, or (B) employed by the United States Government or an international organization as defined in section 288 of title 22, may be included in order to satisfy the physical-presence requirement of this paragraph. This proviso shall be applicable to persons born on or after December 24, 1952, to the same extent as if it had become effective in its present form on that date; and

See 8 FAM 301.7-3(D) for more details on the interpretation of "dependent unmarried son or daughter". As you are probably aware, you need to show a cumulative total of 5 years of physical presence, including 2 years after you turned 14. Since you have worked in the US for 2 years as an adult, you probably meet the 2 years after 14, so if the 2 years as an adult plus the time you spent as a military dependent abroad during your childhood adds up to 5 years, that should be enough.

As for whether your son is born in wedlock, it depends on whether there is a legal marriage recognized by US law between the parents. I would guess that your civil partnership would not be considered a marriage, and thus your son would be born out of wedlock. However, the only difference between birth in wedlock and out of wedlock, for the purposes of your son's acquisition of US citizenship, are that, if the US citizen parent is the father, then there are additional requirements that must be met before your son turns 18:

  • Your son is legitimated, acknowledged by the father, or the paternity is determined by a competent court, and
  • You agree in writing to support your son until he turns 18.

Both of these can be met by the US citizen father signing an additional part of the form (part 2 of this form, which acknowledges the child and agrees to the support) when applying for the CRBA. Therefore, if you are cooperating with getting a CRBA for your son under 18, then there is no practical difference between if your son is considered born in wedlock or out of wedlock.

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