Policy Update: USCIS Includes Gestational Mothers Under the Definition of "Natural Mother"

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new policy to include gestational mothers, using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), under the definition of a “natural mother,” provided that she is also the legal mother at the time of birth.

Previous policy requires that a mother have a genetic relationship with the child in order to qualify as a a parent for purposes of obtaining immigration benefits.

What does this mean?

Under this new policy, a mother who meets this definition but does not have a genetic relationship with her child (for example, she became pregnant through an egg donor) will:

  • Be able to petition for her child based on their relationship;
  • Be eligible to have her child petition for her based on their relationship;
  • Be able to transmit U.S. citizenship to her child, if she is a U.S. citizen and all other pertinent citizenship requirements are met.

Last January, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) also issued a Policy Change Related to Children Born Abroad Through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which was applied retroactively.


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