The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its policy guidelines regarding residency requirements in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to adhere to the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act that was just put in place. The INA was enacted in 1952, and it contains many important provisions of immigration law. However, it has been amended over the years to reflect societal and legal changes. Per the new law, children of immigrants who are stationed overseas for government or military work are automatically granted citizenship.
Under this new legislation, a child who is not born in the United States can receive automatic citizenship according to INA 320. This applies to a son or daughter who is living in any country other than the United States, as long as the child is recognized as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). Also, his or her parent must be a U.S. citizen and have physical and legal custody of the child. The following must also apply to the parent:
In addition, the child must meet all relevant requirements to obtain citizenship, with the exception of the typical residence stipulation that is included with INA 320. In immigration cases that involve those who are part of the U.S. Armed Forces, the child and the other parent (who is a U.S. citizen) must have permission to live abroad with the military member based on the member’s official orders.
The new law reverses a previous policy change that USCIS had issued in 2019 to align with the State Department’s policies as well as federal law. As of March 26, 2020, parents who are U.S. citizens and either military or U.S. government workers or spouses of them, and who are stationed in another country, can file an Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600) for their children. This means the children are exempt from having to reside in the United States (if they qualify under INA 320). A child can receive a Certificate of Citizenship once he or she meets the requirements and travels to the United States to finalize the legal proceedings. It is important to note that this change is only applicable to eligible children who were under 18 years old as of March 26, 2020.
The U.S. immigration process can be confusing, with many important forms to submit and documents to provide. The award-winning Mevorah Law Offices understand the complex nature of immigration law and the importance of obtaining lawful entry to the United States. In many cases, it allows families to stay together if one member is coming to this country for work or school. A knowledgeable and compassionate Illinois immigration lawyer will assist you or your loved one with the legal proceedings to become a U.S. citizen or join your relatives here. Call us today at 630-875-1700 to arrange a free consultation.
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