How to Protect Citizenship for Internationally Adopted Children
How do you obtain US citizenship for internationally adopted children? What documents are needed and how do you apply for them? When are you required to show proof of US citizenship? Should you readopt your child once home in the US? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Irene Steffas, an attorney specializing in both adoption and immigration law.
- Why does my child need a Certificate of Citizenship?
- Do you have to apply to get a Certificate of Citizenship?
- How to you obtain a Certificate of Citizenship for an internationally adopted child?
- The Child Citizenship Act (CCA) of 2000 (Dept. of State has a FAQ page) allows certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of U.S. citizens to acquire U.S. citizenship automatically. The CCA went into effect on February 27, 2001, and is found in section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Under INA 320, an adopted child will automatically acquire citizenship upon admission to the United States if he or she satisfies these conditions before turning 18:
- Qualifies as a child under INA 101(b)(1)(E), (F), or (G),
- Is admitted as a permanent resident, and
- Is residing in the United States in the U.S. citizen parent(s)’ legal and physical custody.
- Important Notes:
- The child must have been under the age of 18 on February 27, 2001, in order to have benefited from the CCA.
- In order for a child to qualify under the CCA, the adoptive parents must have completed a final adoption in the United States or abroad.
- Generally, children residing abroad may also naturalize to become U.S. citizens based on their relationship to their U.S. citizen adoptive parents by filing Form N-600K per INA Section 322 and appearing for interview and, if over the age of 14, taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. For additional information, please visit www.uscis.gov.
- Adoptees who are not eligible for U.S. citizenship under the CCA after admission to the United States will remain Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and receive a Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551, from USCIS. Such individuals may seek U.S. citizenship through naturalization by filing USCIS Form N-400 when eligible to do so (generally only after turning 18 years old). For additional information about Form N-400 naturalization process and eligibility requirements, please visit the USCIS website Citizenship Through Naturalization.
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