How does a child adopted from abroad become a U.S. citizen?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Adoption |

If you’re considering adopting a child from another country, you may have some questions or concerns about how difficult it will be for them to become U.S. citizens. Fortunately, thanks to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), they can become citizens relatively quickly as they meet the eligibility criteria.

The way the law works is that once a child’s adoption is finalized and they arrive in this country, they are granted the status of lawful permanent resident, which allows them to have a green card. Then the adoptive parent(s) can apply for a citizenship certificate for them through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or go ahead and apply for a U.S. passport through the State Department. Once a child has a U.S. passport, that’s all they’ll need for proof of citizenship.

What are the requirements?

The key eligibility requirements for a foreign-born child to become a U.S. citizen are the following:

  • At least one adoptive parent must be a U.S. citizen. They can either be a citizen through birth or naturalization.
  • The adoption must meet the legal requirements of the state in which they reside.
  • The child must be under 18 years of age.

If you adopt a foreign-born child while you’re living abroad and bring them back to the U.S., the requirements for obtaining citizenship for them are somewhat different.

It’s worth noting that currently a piece of legislation is making its way through Congress called the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 (ACA). The legislation, which looks like it will become part of a larger bill, will grant citizenship to foreign-born children adopted prior to the CCA.

Adopting a child from another country can be a wonderful opportunity for both the adoptive family and for the child. However, it comes with what may seem like no end of red tape. Having experienced guidance can make the process go more smoothly and help you all settle into your new life