USCIS Updates Policy Related to Overseas Childbirth and Citizenship

On Thursday, USCIS updated its policy guidance related to children born outside of the United States. The policy update will allow a non-genetic, non-gestational legal parent of a child to transmit their U.S. citizenship to the child if the parent is married to the child’s genetic or gestational parent at the time of the child’s birth, and the relevant jurisdiction recognizes both parents as the child’s legal parents.

The guidance will also apply to the family-based petitions for determining whether a child is born in wedlock. Previously USCIS required that a child’s genetic parents (or the legal gestational parent and one of the genetic parents) be married to one another for a child to be considered born in wedlock.

Ur Jaddou, the Director of USCIS, called the changes a “crucial step towards ensuring fair access and support for all families and their loved ones.”


This change is broadly seen as a victory for same-sex couples and parents living overseas who use reproductive technology procedures.