On August 28, 2019, USCIS released a new policy memorandum, binding on all agency employees and adjudications, changing the way USCIS defines the residence and physical presence requirements in connection with the transmission of U.S. citizenship to children born overseas. This policy becomes effective on October 29, 2019 and will apply to all children born on or after that date. More controversial, however, is an abrupt shift in policy resulting in USCIS no longer considering the children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members residing outside of the U.S. as “residing in the U.S.” for purposes of acquiring citizenship. Previously, it was longstanding USCIS policy to deem such persons as “residing in the U.S.” in connection with applications for citizenship based on the fact that the U.S. citizen parents are physically outside of the U.S. precisely because they are serving our country in a governmental or military capacity and, but for such service, would otherwise likely be in the country.
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