USCIS revised its Online Policy Manual and Adjudicator’s Field Manual to recognize the role of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in a new definition of “natural parent”. USCIS joins the DOS, which earlier this year issued similar information, acknowledging that a non-genetic gestational mother who is also the child’s legal mother may be treated identically as a genetic legal mother under the INA.
USCIS and the Department of State (DOS), who share authority over these issues, worked together in the development of this policy. A non-genetic gestational mother (person who carried and gave birth to the child) who is also the child’s legal mother may be recognized identically as genetic legal mothers are treated under the INA. Previously, a genetic relationship with a U.S. citizen parent was required in order for a child born abroad to acquire citizenship at birth through his or her parent.
A “natural mother” or “natural father” is a genetic parent or gestational parent. Accordingly, the “natural mother” of a child born out of wedlock includes a non-genetic gestational mother if she is the legal parent at the time of birth.
A gestational mother has a petitionable relationship without a genetic relationship to the child, as long as she is also the child’s legal parent at the time of birth.
A non-genetic gestational legal mother who is a U.S. citizen may transmit citizenship at birth, or after birth, when all other pertinent citizenship and naturalization requirements are met.
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