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USCIS Implements New Law Regarding Citizenship for Children of Military Members & U.S. Government Employees Stationed Overseas

Last week, USCIS updated policy guidance concerning residency requirements under section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to comply with the requirements of the recently enacted Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act. 

Under the new law, a child born outside of the U.S. acquires automatic citizenship under INA 320, even if the child is residing outside the U.S., in cases where the child is a lawful permanent resident and is in the legal and physical custody of his or her U.S. citizen parent who is: 

  • Stationed and residing outside of the U.S. as a member of the U.S. armed forces;
  • Stationed and residing out of the U.S. as an employee of the U.S. government; or 
  • The spouse residing outside of the U.S. in marital union with a U.S. armed forces member or U.S. government employee who is stationed outside of the U.S. 

Additionally, the child must meet all generally applicable requirements for automatic acquisition of citizenship, except the residence requirement, under INA 320(a) and (b). In cases involving members of the U.S. armed forces, the child and the U.S. citizen parent (if the U.S. citizen parent is the spouse of the armed forces member) must be authorized to accompany and reside abroad with the armed forces member pursuant to the member’s official orders.

As of March 26, 2020, U.S. citizen parents who are military or U.S. government employees or spouses of military or U.S. government employees, and are stationed outside the United States, can file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, for children residing outside the U.S. because their children, if eligible under the new INA 320(c), are exempt from the requirement to be residing in the United States. Upon meeting the requirements and traveling to the U.S. to complete the process, the child will obtain a Certificate of Citizenship.

This change applies to eligible children who were under the age of 18 on March 26, 2020. 

If you have questions on this new policy, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation to speak to one of our attorneys today! 

Published 24 September 2020