Children of US troops born overseas will no longer get automatic American citizenship, Trump administration says

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President Donald Trump. Photo: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vernon Young.

Children born to U.S. service members and government employees overseas will no longer be automatically considered citizens of the United States, according to policy alert issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Wednesday.

Previously, children born to U.S. citizen parents were considered to be "residing in the United States," and therefore would be automatically given citizenship under Immigration and Nationality Act 320. Now, children born to U.S. service members and government employees, such as those born in U.S. military hospitals or diplomatic facilities, will not be considered as residing in the U.S., changing the way that they potentially receive citizenship.


The change in policy was first reported by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tal Kopan.

According to USCIS, previous legislation also explicitly said that spouses of service members who were living outside the U.S. because of their spouses were considered residing in the U.S., but "that no similar provision was included for children of U.S. armed forces members in the acquisition of citizenship context is significant."

That is one of the reasons why USCIS has now decided that those children are not considered to be residing in the U.S., and therefore will not be automatically given citizenship. Instead, they will fall under INA 322, which considers them to be residing outside the U.S. and requires them to apply for naturalization.

They will be allowed to complete all naturalization proceedings while living abroad, the new policy says.

USCIS policy update.

"The policy change explains that we will not consider children who live abroad with their parents to be residing in the United States even if their parents are U.S. government employees or U.S. service members stationed outside of the United States, and as a result, these children will no longer be considered to have acquired citizenship automatically," USCIS spokesperson Meredith Parker told Task & Purpose.

"For them to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship, their U.S. citizen parent must apply for citizenship on their behalf."

The process under INA 322 must be completed before the child's 18th birthday.

While children of service members will be allowed to complete the citizenship process outside of the U.S., Parker added, children of government employees "must enter the U.S. lawfully with an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa and be in lawful status when they take the Oath of Allegiance."

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