The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has announced that it has reinterpreted the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to grant U.S. citizenship at birth to a child born abroad, as long as the parents were married at the time of the child’s birth and the child has a genetic or gestational tie to either parent.
The prior rule requiring the relationship only with the U.S. citizen parent resulted in confusion and potentially separating families.
Historically, children born abroad via the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as surrogacy, have only been granted U.S. citizenship at birth if there was a genetic or gestational relationship to the U.S. citizen parent. With the development and increased use of ART, there has been growing pressure to update the rule and make it consistent with today’s reality.
The prior rule often resulted in confusion and concern that the family unit would be separated. There was no simple solution to the problem other than to reinterpret the INA.
The reinterpretation of the INA to embrace the latest changes in ART and the DOS decision to grant citizenship makes logical sense. The new guidelines from the DOS will allow more American families to transmit U.S. citizenship to their children born outside the country and promote family unity.