The International Observatory on Statelessness

United States

All people born in the U.S. are citizens, except persons such as the children of foreign diplomats accredited to the U.S. who are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Qualified persons may acquire citizenship through naturalization. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Afroyim v. Rusk that citizenship can be lost only if freely and expressly renounced. Subsequent acquisition of another nationality is not required.

A bill to grant automatic American citizenship to Amerasians born between 1950 and 1982 — children of U.S. citizens and Asian nationals from five countries, including Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand — was presented to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003. According to the bill, Amerasians would be eligible for automatic American citizenship under the Amerasian Immigration Act of 1982. In the countries where they are born, many Amerasian children were not registered and some became street children, rendering them effectively stateless or at risk of statelessness.

Cubans in the U.S. may not be stateless per se because their Cuban nationality has not been withdrawn or disputed. However, because re-entry to Cuba is not possible in many cases, the UN has suggested some Cubans in the U.S. may have ineffective nationality. A small number of other individuals held in U.S. immigration detention facilities are believed to be stateless.