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USCIS clarifies parental physical presence requirements for child born abroad

  1. Date Announced

    April 18, 2018

    USCIS updates policy to implement *Sessions v. Morales Santana* ruling to clarify that the same physical presence requirement applies to a child born out of wedlock outside of the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent regardless of the gender of the U.S. citizen parent (applying the more stringent standard applicable to fathers) and further clarifies the requirements of INA 309. [ID #618]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    April 18, 2018
Status: Final/Actual
Type of Action: Agency Directive
Subject Matter: Citizenship
Agencies Affected: USCIS Bureau of Consular Affairs

Prior Policies

  • Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in *Sessions v. Morales-Santana*, the INA's physical presence requirements for children born out of wedlock were different for a child acquiring citizenship through a U.S. citizen mother than for those acquiring through U.S. citizen father. An unwed U.S. citizen mother could transmit citizenship to her child if the mother was physically present in the United States for 1 continuous year prior to the child's birth. An unwed U.S. citizen father, by contrast, was held to the longer physical presence requirement of 5 years (at least 2 years of which were after age 14) in the United States or one of its outlying possessions.

    8 U.S.C.A. 1401

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