U.S. citizens by birth or through a U.S. citizen parent


Amendment XIV, Section 1, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution directs that all persons born in the United States are U.S. citizens. This is the case regardless of the tax or immigration status of a person’s parents.

Furthermore, a person born outside the United States may also be a U.S. citizen at birth if at least one parent is a U.S. citizen and has lived in the United States for a specified period. The United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) web page on citizenship through parents contains more detailed information for persons born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent or parents.

Filing requirements

All U.S. citizens are subject to U.S. income tax on their worldwide income, regardless of where they reside. U.S. citizens residing abroad are subject to the same income tax filing requirements that apply to U.S. citizens living in the United States. All U.S. citizens must file a U.S. federal individual income tax return each year (Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) if their gross income from all sources meets the amounts in the filing requirement charts located in the form's instructions.

U.S. citizens residing abroad may qualify for the:

U.S. citizens may also be entitled to limited benefits under a U.S. income tax treaty.

When to file

For a calendar year filer with tax year ending on December 31, the due date for filing Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, is generally April 15 of each year. U.S. citizens residing abroad on April 15 are allowed an automatic 2-month extension to file their return. Alternatively, taxpayers can request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file. However, any tax due must be paid by April 15, without regard to any extension of time for filing the return, to avoid interest charges.

Where to file

U.S. citizens residing abroad should mail their Form 1040, if not enclosing a check or money order, to:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Austin, TX 73301-0215

If enclosing a check or money order, Form 1040 should be mailed to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1303
Charlotte, NC 28201-1303

How to e-file (file electronically)

Taxpayers with an AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) of $79,000 or less can electronically file their tax return for free using Free File. Taxpayers with an AGI greater than $79,000 can either use the Free File Fillable Forms or efile by purchasing commercial software. A limited number of companies provide software that can accommodate foreign addresses. 

References/Related topics