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For active duty parents: worry-free citizenship process for kids

Military families face plenty of challenges as they navigate active duty, transitioning to global stations and back home again. It may seem easier to focus on the difficulties of constantly moving, but members of the military who have connections to Virginia may also recognize the benefits of international experience. 

Cross-cultural living broadens worldviews and offers fresh perspectives. Children who grow up in international environments often see the world through a lens that is unique to them, differing even from their parents who live in the same home. Labeled third-culture kids, these children sometimes feel conflicting loyalties between their parents' countries of origin and the country where they are residing. 

How is citizenship determined for third culture kids born to military members living abroad?

Determining U.S. citizenship for children born to active duty parents

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains. The children must meet certain conditions to qualify for naturalization, but military households "may complete the entire process from abroad." The conditions are the child must be:

  • Younger than 18 years old
  • Born to or adopted by "at least one parent...who is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization"
  • In the custody of that parent who is a U.S. citizen

Completing the citizenship process while on active duty

To complete the citizenship process, parents should go to a nearby U.S. consulate, according to FindLaw, and "apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad." Military parents can then use the report, which proves U.S. citizenship, to apply for the child's passport. 

FindLaw also reminds active duty military members to apply for a residency visa for their newborn if the country where they are living requires it. 


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