Citizenship changes for some children born overseas

Some people in Illinois may have heard about changes by the Trump administration to citizenship laws that could affect the children of some U.S. citizens born overseas. The rule is complex and may be confusing for some missionaries, foreign service workers and people in the military.

Under U.S. citizenship law, the Immigration and Nationality Act allows citizens to seek citizenship for their children born abroad at the time of their birth. However, some children who are not citizens are birth can also seek citizenship before they are 18. If their parents are citizens and the children have green cards, they can apply for naturalization. Under the new law, children of citizens living overseas would no longer be considered U.S. residents for the purpose of getting citizenship. If parents adopt a child from abroad who does not have a green card, the child will not get citizenship automatically. Children whose parents do not meet certain residency requirements and children of parents who naturalize after the child is born would also be affected.

There are certain remedies. For example, children who get green cards and go back to the United States to live with their parents could get citizenship. It may also be possible for parents to apply for citizenship under a different part of the law. Some parents may opt to return to the U.S. to have their children.

This is one of a number of changes to U.S. immigration policy that the Trump administration has made. Some of those changes have faced court challenges. An attorney might be able to help people understand whether these changes affect them and how. Applying for a green card, a visa or naturalization can be a complex process, and working with an attorney may help ensure that the right documents are in place and have been completed correctly.

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