Intercountry Adoption: Where Do I Start?
Series: Factsheets for Families|
Child Welfare Information Gateway |
|Year Published: 2009|
Meeting Immigration and Citizenship Requirements
What You Should Know
There may be additional actions required by U.S. immigration law, State law, your child's country of origin, or your adoption provider before or after you bring your child home. Requirements will vary depending on the type of immigrant visa your child received (see box). Your adoption provider can tell you more about what must be done in your specific case.
You may need to:
- Submit postplacement reports and pictures. Not all countries require follow-up reports; some require annual reports for 5 years or longer. Ensuring these reports get filed in a timely manner helps foster positive relationships between the United States and your child's country of origin, paving the way for future intercountry adoptions.
- Readopt your child in a U.S. court and obtain a U.S. birth certificate. It is generally a good idea to readopt if your child is not from a Convention country. If your child is from a Convention country, readoption is not required. See the Readoption section of the Information Gateway website for more information on State laws and why readopting in the United States may be beneficial in some cases: www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/types/intercountry/readoption.cfm.
- Obtain proof of your child's U.S. citizenship. A Certificate of Citizenship issued by USCIS, or a U.S. passport, provides proof of U.S. citizenship for children who become citizens through adoption (see box).
- Obtain a Social Security Number for your child. The Social Security Administration will assign your child a social security number before you obtain proof of U.S. citizenship; however, you will need to provide proof that a full and final adoption has been completed. Records will not show your child is a U.S. citizen until you provide this proof.
A Certificate of Citizenship issued by USCIS or a U.S. passport issued by the U.S. Department of State provides proof of U.S. citizenship for children who become citizens through adoption. This is different from the certificate provided with Convention adoptions, issued at the time of adoption and affixed to the foreign adoption decree by the U.S. Department of State, stating that the adoption is in compliance with the Convention. For more information about Convention adoptions, see the Information Gateway factsheet Intercountry Adoption From Hague Convention and Non-Hague Convention Countries at www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/hague.cfm.
The process for obtaining the Certificate of Citizenship depends on the type of visa your child was issued. Ask your agency which type of visa your child was issued, or check the stamp in his or her passport.
It is possible to obtain a passport from the State Department (http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html) for a child before receiving the Certificate of Citizenship, but the adoption must be full and final according to Federal law. The "full effect" of a foreign adoption decree means that adoptive parents and adopted children have the same rights and obligations as they would have if a State court had issued the adoption decree.
Some Places to Go
The Social Security Administration provides information on how to prove citizenship for an adopted child: www.ssa.gov/immigration/children.htm.
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provides that foreign-born children who have been admitted for permanent resident status in the United States and adopted by a U.S. citizen parent living in the United States automatically become U.S. citizens as soon as the requirements of the Act are met. Find more about the requirements of the Act on the Citizenship section of the USCIS website: http://www.uscis.gov/citizenship.
Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, can be found on the USCIS website:
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