What is U.S. National?
All U.S. citizens are U.S. nationals, but there are some who are U.S. nationals but are not U.S. citizens. Therefore, this article explains only about the U.S. nationals that are NOT U.S. citizens.

U.S. national is a person born in or having ties with "an outlying possession of the United States" which is as of 2019, only American Samoa and Swains Island.

Additionally, it also includes those individuals born abroad to two U.S. national parents, or those born abroad to one alien parent and one U.S. national parent. Additionally, there is a residency requirement for the parents of the child prior to birth in order to transmit U.S. nationality.

Past U.S. nationals
In the past, those who were born in Guam (1898-1950), Puerto Rico (1898-1917), the U.S. Virgin Islands (1917-1927) or the Philippines (1898-1946) were U.S. nationals. However, now those who are born in Guam, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands are full U.S. citizens, and the Philippines is an independent country and the citizenship was never accorded to them.

Rights and Restrictions

U.S. nationals cannot vote in any election or hold elected office.

  • Allowed to work and reside anywhere in the U.S. without restrictions.
  • Eligible to apply for U.S. passport just like U.S. citizens. In fact, there is no difference between the passport for U.S. national and U.S. citizen. Both of them mention the 'Nationality - USA'.
  • Eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization under the same rules as other permanent residents.