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Here's Who's Affected by New Citizenship Policy for Children of Troops Serving Overseas

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Here's Who's Affected by New Citizenship Policy for Children of Troops Serving Overseas

A policy clarification from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published Wednesday does not revoke automatic citizenship for children of U.S. citizens born abroad, including troops and federal workers, Homeland Security Department officials said Wednesday.

But it will make adoptions and paperwork more complicated for some families of U.S. service members and as well as citizens who haven't been in the U.S. for a while.

USCIS issued a policy alert Wednesday that changes and spells out what it considers residency in provisions related to citizenship.

The policy states that "Effective October 29, 2019, children residing abroad with their U.S. citizen parents who are U.S. government employees or members of the U.S. armed forces stationed abroad are not considered to be residing in the United States for acquisition of citizenship. Similarly, leave taken in the United States while stationed abroad is not considered residing in the United States even if the person is staying in property he or she owns."

The text of, and early reporting on, the new regulations ignited a ferocious backlash on the internet by those who interpreted them as a revocation of birthright citizenship for those born to U.S. government employee or troops serving abroad.

The policy goes on to say that "U.S. citizen parents who are residing outside the United States with children who are not [emphasis Military.com’s] U.S. citizens should apply for U.S. citizenship on behalf of their children under [policy] must complete the process before the child's 18th birthday."

Here’s who the policy affects:

  • Children who live with their U.S. parents abroad but who did not acquire citizenship at birth, including infants and children adopted overseas.
  • Children born of non-U.S. citizens who are adopted by U.S. citizens.
  • Those whose parents became U.S. citizens after the child's birth.
  • U.S. citizens who do not meet the residence or physical presence rules needed to transmit birthright citizenship, such as a person born overseas with birthright citizenship who never lived in the United States.

Children who did not acquire citizenship at birth are not considered to be residing in the U.S. just because their parents are citizens, the policy states. Under the new policy, these parents will have to apply for U.S. citizenship for their child.

According to the policy, a U.S. citizen born in the United States “generally meets the residence requirement as long as he or she can present evidence to demonstrate that his or her mother was not merely transiting through or visiting the United States at the time of his or her birth.”

By law, most babies born to U.S. citizens overseas become U.S. citizens at birth. The new policy "[does] not affect anyone who is born a U.S. citizen, period," USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement to Military.com.

"This does not impact birthright citizenship. This policy update does not deny citizenship to the children of U.S. government employees or members of the military born abroad," Cuccinelli said.

The policy does not affect children born of two U.S. citizen parents who have maintained a residence in the U.S. before the child's birth, nor does it affect those who have received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Citizenship acquired at birth; those born to a foreign national and a U.S. citizen parent who has physically been in the U.S. or one of its territorial possessions for at least five years; or unmarried parents if the U.S. citizen parent meets certain requirements.

USCIS did not provide any reasons for the policy update, other than to "define 'residence' as it relates to citizenship for children of certain U.S. government employees and members of the U.S. armed forces who are employed or stationed outside the United States, to conform with the definition of residence in the Immigration and Nationality Act."

"This policy aligns USCIS process with the Department of State's procedure, that's it," Cuccinelli said.

It remains unclear how many children will be affected by the new rules, which go into effect Oct. 29, but it will have an impact on the families of U.S. troops who are not U.S. citizens and are not married to a U.S. citizen, as well as any children adopted by service members stationed overseas.

From 1999 to 2010, roughly 80,000 non-citizens were members of the armed services. About 5,000 legal permanent residents join the armed services each year.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/08/28/heres-whos-affected-new-citizenship-policy-children-troops-serving-overseas.html?ESRC=eb_190829.nl

 

 

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Headshot

I remember back when we got my daughter enrolled in DEERS up at the US embassy, we were talking with the DEERS guy about general citizenship stuff. He mentioned that his boss (the ranking military guy at the embassy) and his wife just had a baby. Because he was affiliated with the embassy, the baby had a US passport and was enrolled in DEERS (eligible for Tricare) within a day after it was born. That would never happen with your average American living in the Philippines. Why does this matter? A baby isn't automatically covered by Tricare at birth. Any care the baby requires before it is covered is on your nickel, not on Tricare's nickel. So, if your baby requires NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) care, you will be paying for it out of your own pocket. That makes it potentially a fairly expensive deal for military personnel stationed overseas to have a baby. When my daughter was born, Tricare covered part of my wife's bills (because she was already enrolled in DEERS), but they wouldn't cover any of the pediatric bills associated with my daughter. I wonder how this will be received by our active-duty military personnel (many of whom are married). It would certainly make accompanied overseas assignments a lot less appealing.

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LechonBuddha

According to Tricare, the baby(s) of an enrolled beneficiary is/are automatically covered at birth. Then, depending on your location, you have so many months to enroll them into the Tricare plan of your choice. You enroll them into DEERS once you have a birth certificate. the government issued, official business (free) passport is automatically processed for your dependent too. 

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Salty Dog
8 hours ago, LechonBuddha said:

According to Tricare, the baby(s) of an enrolled beneficiary is/are automatically covered at birth. Then, depending on your location, you have so many months to enroll them into the Tricare plan of your choice. You enroll them into DEERS once you have a birth certificate. the government issued, official business (free) passport is automatically processed for your dependent too. 

I'm pretty sure headshot was talking about retired military and not official passports. TRICARE has different rules for retired and their dependents… 

I had two passports when on active duty. My official business passport was for official duty only and could not be used for personal travel. Dependent official passports were only good for official travel like transfers. They couldn't even be used to go home on leave...

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Headshot
8 hours ago, LechonBuddha said:

According to Tricare, the baby(s) of an enrolled beneficiary is/are automatically covered at birth. Then, depending on your location, you have so many months to enroll them into the Tricare plan of your choice. You enroll them into DEERS once you have a birth certificate. the government issued, official business (free) passport is automatically processed for your dependent too. 

Regardless of what they say, they still wouldn't cover my daughter's expenses from the birth (even after she was enrolled in DEERS).

Edited by Headshot

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LechonBuddha
13 hours ago, Headshot said:

Regardless of what they say, they still wouldn't cover my daughter's expenses from the birth (even after she was enrolled in DEERS).

Just because they don’t pay for something doesn’t mean it wasn’t supposed to be covered. I had a routine physical last year, and even though it was completely covered by Tricare Prime, I ended up being billed for over $500 in routine physical lab fees because the Doc wrote up the lab request wrong. The fees were initially paid but,  months later, Tricare pulled the payment back after a billing review. By the time they subsequently billed me, and I spent considerable time Figuring out what went wrong (they don’t state why you’re now being billed) Tricare wouldn’t accept a revised (corrected) lab order from my Doc because over a year had elapsed. Well, was it my fault the Doc wrote the lab request wrong and Tricare spent nearly a year to pull a previously paid claim and shift it back to me?  It’s enough to drive you nuts. I’m hoping Medicare is better organized but I somehow doubt it will be. 

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