The agency in charge of approving U.S. citizenship has updated its definition of residence as it relates to eligibility to become a citizen, according to a policy memo released Wednesday, which may affect the foreign-born children of some service members when it takes effect on Oct. 29.
Children born to, or adopted by, some U.S. service members overseas are no longer considered U.S. residents, according to the policy, and are not automatically entitled to U.S citizenship.
“This policy update does not affect anyone who is born a U.S. citizen, period,” Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services, said in a statement. “This only affects children who were born outside the United States and were not U.S. citizens.”
Examples of that situation include:
- A U.S. service member and partner, or a dual-military couple, stationed in South Korea, who adopt a local South Korean child.
- A non-citizen U.S. service member and partner, or non-citizen dual-military couple, who have a child while serving in Germany.
In either case, the children would no longer be considered residents (based on their parents’ established U.S. residency) and would have to apply for citizenship, rather than have it guaranteed, as it would have been in the past.
The policy does not affect children born to U.S. citizens serving abroad. Those children are still entitled to automatic citizenship.
“This does NOT impact birthright citizenship,” Cuccinelli added, which is automatically guaranteed to children of U.S. citizens living abroad but who have established residency in the U.S. “This policy update does not deny citizenship to the children of U.S. government employees or members of the military born abroad.”
Read more details at militarytimes.com.