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Children Of U.S. Service Members Born Overseas No Longer Automatic U.S. Citizens

By DeAnna Taylor

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Another day, another rule or ban passed down by the Trump administration. This time, it affects U.S. troops and personnel that get stationed overseas for whatever reason.

Under the policy alert issued today by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, children born to U.S. service members and government employees overseas will no longer be automatically considered citizens of the United States.

Before the updated policy, children born while their parents were overseas were still considered to be citizens and residing in the U.S. However, now they will not. Even if that child is born in an official U.S. military hospital or diplomatic facility, they will not automatically be granted citizenship.

“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 on Wednesday, when asked how the policy changes how the government views children of U.S. service members.

“For them to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship, their U.S. citizen parent must apply for citizenship on their behalf,” she added. The process under INA 322 must be completed before the child’s 18th birthday.

While there have always been policies in place to cover spouses of U.S. personnel who are abroad, nothing has ever been stated in regards to their children. This latest policy is said to be the answer.


Children will now be considered to be living outside of the U.S. and will need to apply for naturalization, which can be completed while the family is abroad.

Release of this policy had many people seeking clarification as to birthright citizenship. The following statement was issued by  Ken Cuccinelli of the USCIS:

“This only affects children who were born outside the United States and were not U.S. citizens. This does NOT impact birthright citizenship. This policy update does not deny citizenship to the children of US government employees or members of the military born abroad,” he added, though Task & Purpose did not report that citizenship would be denied. “This policy aligns USCIS’ process with the Department of State’s procedure, that’s it.”

It will be very interesting to see how this new policy plays out. It seems to have a few loopholes and kinks that could get messy in the years to come.

Related: Donald Trump Wants To Charge Asylum Seekers Fees

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DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

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