USCIS and DOS have recently collaborated in the development of a new policy on the effect of assisted reproductive technology (ART) on immigration and acquisition of citizenship. In an October 28 announcement, the agencies stated that 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 in the same way as genetic legal mothers are treated under the immigration laws. 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. Under the new policy:

(1)     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.

(2)     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.

(3)     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.