Some children of U.S troops and government employees overseas aren't automatically citizens

Posted at 5:39 PM, Aug 28, 2019

The Trump administration announced on Wednesday new guidelines regarding how children residing overseas with U.S. troops and government employees are given citizenship.

The new guidelines state that a child must meet certain residency requirements before being granted U.S. citizenship.

The new guidelines does not change the law on birthright citizenship if the parents were both U.S. citizens and residents before the child's birth. Instead, the guidelines effect children whose parent or parents are U.S. citizens, but not necessarily U.S. residents.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the policy affects:

  • Non-U.S. citizen parents and adopted by a U.S. citizen U.S. government employee or U.S. service member after their birth;
  • Non-U.S. citizen parents, such as a lawful permanent resident U.S. government employee or U.S. service member who naturalized only after the child’s birth; or
  • Two U.S. citizen government employee or U.S. service member parents who do not meet the residence or physical presence requirements to transmit citizenship to their child at birth (or one non-U.S. citizen parent and one U.S. citizen parent who does not meet these requirements).

The guidelines state, "Children residing abroad with their U.S. citizen parents who are U.S. government employees or members of the U.S. armed forces stationed abroad are not considered to be residing in the United States for acquisition of citizenship. Similarly, leave taken in the United States while stationed abroad is not considered residing in the United States even if the person is staying in property he or she owns."

The policy states that a U.S. citizen parent must apply for citizenship on the child's behalf.

The guidelines also state that the child and their parents must complete the process to become a citizen by the child's 18th birthday.

U.S. law has the following requirements for children to be given citizenship automatically:

(1) At least one parent of the child is a citizen of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization.

(2) The child is under the age of eighteen years.

(3) The child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence.

To read the complete guidelines, click here.