New US Citizenship Rules Help Birth Mothers

baby's name

Mothers who gave birth to a child overseas with help from an egg donor can transmit citizenship under a new policy from the U.S. State Department.

The change took effect on Jan. 31.  For the first time, birth mothers who are not genetically related to their child can pass on U.S. citizenship.  Birth mothers will be treated the same as genetic mothers for purposes of acquiring citizenship.

The good news for such mothers is that the policy is retroactive.  That means that birth mothers can apply for U.S. citizenship for their children even if their application would have been turned down in the past.

The new policy officially means that both the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security will interpret the definition of “child” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to mean the child of a genetic or a gestational parent.  The baby will be treated as born in wedlock as long as both genetic or gestational parents are married at the time of the child’s birth.

Of course, a few caveats apply. The mother must be the legal parent of the child. And a U.S. consular officer must approve the request for an official birth certificate, known as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, making sure that all requirements for citizenship are fulfilled.

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