United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is revising its definitions for whether a child would be considered a citizen based on their parentage. The new definitions will now extend to children who are born with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), allowing them to gain American citizenship from their parents. For some children, this will allow them for the first time to obtain American citizenship they would have had previously if they were not born through ART.
What is ART?
Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART for short, is the term used to broadly refer to any technology that is used to artificially manipulate eggs or embryos with the intent of bringing a child to term. This includes technology like in vitro fertilization, gamete intrafallopian transfer, and tubal embryo transfer, among others. These technologies have become increasingly common both inside the United States and in other countries, helping people who have reproductive issues to have children.
What Was the Problem With the Law?
Up until this policy change, children born from ART were not considered to be born “in wedlock” for the purposes of immigration law. In effect, this meant that children born from ART with at least one American parent would not automatically be conferred American citizenship if the parent with American citizenship was not also their genetic or gestational parent. In addition, it could be much harder to get legal citizenship for children born from ART due to the lack of familial connection that is automatically granted to children born in wedlock.
What Does the New Policy Do?
The new rule from USCIS changes the definition of whether a child is born “in wedlock” to include children born from ART. So long as a child’s legal parents are both married and at least one of them has American citizenship, that citizenship will be transmitted to their child even if the American citizen is not the child’s genetic or gestational parent. However, both parents must be recognized as the child’s legal parents in the relevant jurisdiction for the child to qualify for citizenship.
How Will This Benefit People?
For some people, this new rule revision will allow them or their children to claim US citizenship that they were previously denied, due to being born through ART. This updates the rules to better reflect the modern reality of many families, who use in vitro fertilization and other technologies to help them have children. And for children who were denied citizenship due to being born through ART, it is a chance to claim the rights they should have had access to in the first place, if not for a legal technicality.
For more than forty years, the Drucker Law Firm has been providing personal and quality legal services to individuals, universities, and corporations throughout the New York City and Tri-State area. We have represented three generations of clients in immigration and nationality matters, as well as personal injury, family law, criminal law, and general litigation matters. If you have a legal issue related to immigration law, please give us a call at (718) 458-1489 to schedule a consultation or visit our contact page.