Recognizing the advances in assisted reproductive technology (ART), the State Department is updating our interpretation and application of Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which establishes the requirements for acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth.
Children born abroad to parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen and who are married to each other at the time of the birth, will be U.S. citizens from birth if they have a genetic or gestational tie to at least one of their parents and meet the INA’s other requirements. Previously, the Department’s interpretation and application of the INA required that children born abroad have a genetic or gestational relationship to a U.S. citizen parent.
This updated interpretation and application of the INA takes into account the realities of modern families and advances in ART from when the Act was enacted in 1952.
This change will allow increased numbers of married couples to transmit U.S. citizenship to their children born overseas, while continuing to follow the citizenship transmission requirements established in the INA. Requirements for children born to unmarried parents remain unchanged.
At the same time, we remain vigilant to the risks of citizenship fraud, exploitation, and abuse. As with all citizenship and immigration benefits we examine, the Department will implement this policy in a manner that addresses these concerns.
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