Policy update could affect some servicemembers stationed overseas when attaining US citizenship for their children
WASHINGTON — Servicemembers stationed overseas whose son or daughter is not an American now face a new process for applying for their child’s citizenship under policy changes announced Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The new policy, which goes into effect Oct. 29, addresses the definition of “residence” in the Immigration and Nationality Act and affects children of servicemembers and other U.S. government employees living abroad who did not acquire citizenship at birth or while they were living in the United States. These children will no longer be considered “residing in the United States,” one of the conditions for anyone born overseas to obtain citizenship automatically.
But the policy announcement triggered widespread confusion about what it meant and who would be affected.
“This policy update does not affect [children] born a U.S. citizen, period. This only affects children who were born outside the United States and were not U.S. citizens,” Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of USCIS, said Wednesday in a statement. “This does not impact birthright citizenship. This policy update does not deny citizenship to the children of U.S. government employees or members of the military born abroad.”
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