The policy change reflects the larger push from the Trump administration to make legal immigration to the USA more hard, Martin Lester, vice chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Military Assistance Program Committee, said in an interview.
It means that children who are adopted by USA service members abroad and children who are born to immigrant service members while overseas will not receive automatic citizenship.
And what about the many people born overseas to US diplomatic and military personnel who have been skipping through life presumed to be USA citizens?
The Trump administration announced Wednesday that the children of some USA service members and government employees stationed overseas will no longer be granted automatic US citizenship.
Following the disastrous rollout of a policy this week that delineates U.S. residency requirements for the objective of U.S. citizenship as it applies to children born overseas, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Thursday sought to clarify the changes, saying in a conference call with reporters that its data indicate the measure would have affected only "20 to 25 children a year".
In the past, children born to US citizen parents in foreign countries were automatically granted USA citizenship.
"Certain children of USA service members may complete the process outside of the United States without having to travel to the United States".
Previously, their children would be considered to be both living in and outside of the USA for purposes of eventually gaining citizenship.
"Military members already have enough to deal with, and the last thing that they should have to do when stationed overseas is go through hoops to ensure their children are USA citizens", said Modern Military Association of America Executive Director Andy Blevins.
Nonetheless, because the wording of the changes were not easy to grasp, the new guidance, which came in different stages through the day and had to be clarified by the agency Wednesday afternoon, caused widespread confusion and criticism as word of the change spread through social media.
The Trump administration has been eyeing the thorny question of automatic birthright citizenship for some time - particularly the policy under which the children of illegal immigrants are granted birthright citizenship. Immigration experts believe it's likely a few hundred people per year - a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of US service members and government employees stationed overseas.
"This policy aligns USCIS' process with the Department of State's procedure, that's it", he said. The network is available in more than 80 million homes in all markets across the United States.
That prompted a response from Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of USCIS.
A "policy manual update" issued Wednesday by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also would affect the children born to noncitizen government employees before they are naturalized. "This also appears to be an initial step towards ending birthright citizenship, something which the president has threatened to do-and which would be unconstitutional".
This story was reported from Los Angeles.