Adoption Notice: Obtaining Citizenship or Documenting Acquired Citizenship for Adopted Children – – March 2017

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March 15, 2017

The Office of Children’s Issues has received a high number of inquiries about whether individuals adopted through the intercountry process have acquired U.S. citizenship and how to go about documenting U.S. citizenship, if acquired. Claims to acquisition of citizenship cannot be pre-adjudicated, and the Office of Children’s Issues has no role in the adjudication process. Information is available on the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) web pages and may be helpful resources.

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Reminder: Certificate of Citizenship Fees Increasing Set for December 23!

Image2 Certificate of Citizenship fee is doubling on December 23rd for adopted children. If your child is still in need of their Certificate of Citizenship, we encourage you to act now to get this permanent document of their U.S. Citizenship. In the following video, NCFA chats with McLane Layton and Christine Poarch, experts in the Child Citizenship Act and immigration law for adoption. They share why the Certificate of Citizenship is important and why you should act now to get yours before the price increase. You’ll also find answers to some FAQs that can help you complete the N-600 form for the Certificate of Citizenship yourself. A huge thanks to Christine Poarch and McLane Layton for joining us and sharing their expertise!

Click here for more information.

How to Obtain a Social Security Card for Your Adopted Child

How to get a Social Security card and prove U.S. citizenship for a foreign-born adopted child

Social%20Security%20Card Parents of adopted children born outside the United States need Social Security numbers for their children. The law recently changed and these children "automatically" become U.S. citizens. But here’s the problem. The child does not have any proof of U.S. citizenship and Social Security requires proof of U.S. citizenship for the child. You only have immigration documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). What do you do now?

Bring us the documents issued by DHS when the child arrived in the United States. We’ll assign a Social Security number, but the record will not show the child is a U.S. citizen. Later, when you get your child’s U.S. citizenship document, bring it to us and we’ll update your child’s record to show his or her U.S. citizenship. If your child already has a Social Security number, the number does not change when we update the record.

You can use your child’s birth certificate to prove his or her age, but you still need an identity document for the child. Social Security must always see the original document or a copy that is certified by the agency that issued the original document. Documents you can use when you apply for a card for an infant or young child include:

  • The adoption record
  • A United States DHS immigration document
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital records
  • Daycare center or school records
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record)

In addition, when you apply for a card for a child, we must also see proof of your identity and that you are the proper applicant.

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000, effective February 27, 2001 grants an adopted child, immigrating to the United States, "automatic" citizenship. The parent may apply for proof that the child is a U.S. citizen. If you want the Social Security record to show that your child is a U.S. citizen, apply for a Certificate of Citizenship from DHS or a U.S. passport from the Department of State for your child. We can use either document as proof of your child’s U.S. citizenship.

If you want to complete the application for a Social Security number before you visit a local office, go to Application for a Social Security Card.

Help! My Child’s Certificate of Citizenship Has His First Name

Name Tag.

Did you know? Your child’s Certificate of Citizenship may have their original name from birth, a name that was possibly phonetically modified into an English version, or perhaps you have added a middle name since your arrival home.  If this is the case and you would like to have a Certificate of Citizenship issued with the child’s new legal name, correctly spelled or with a middle name added, you can request a name change and receive an amended Certificate of Citizenship.   

Before You Visit Your Social Security Office, Take This Document!

Social%20Security%20Card Before You Visit Your Social Security Office, Take This Document! So many adoptive families trek all the way to their local social service office to obtain their child’s social security card and are often erroneously turned away. Print the Child’s Citizenship Act of 2000. In the event of a refusal to provide your child’s social security card, you can remind them of the Federal Laws that address your child’s rights as a new citizen of the USA.

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000

December 1, 2000

On October 30, 2000, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 2883, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The new law, Public Law 106-395, amends the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to permit foreign-born children-including adopted children -to acquire citizenship automatically if they meet certain requirements. It becomes effective on February 27, 2001.

To implement the new law, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is currently drafting interim regulations, which will be published in the Federal Register before the law’s effective date.

Which Children Automatically Become Citizens Under the New Law?

Beginning February 27, 2001, certain foreign-born children-including adopted children-currently residing permanently in the United States will acquire citizenship automatically. The term "child" is defined differently under immigration law for purposes of naturalization than for other immigration purposes, including adoption.

To be eligible, a child must meet the definition of "child" for naturalization purposes under immigration law (1) and must also meet the following requirements:

  • The child has at least one United States citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is currently residing permanently in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parent;
  • The child is a lawful permanent resident;

An adopted child meets the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law (2):

  • Acquiring citizenship automatically means citizenship acquired by law without the need to apply for citizenship.
  • A child who is currently under the age of 18 and has already met all of the above requirements will acquire citizenship automatically on February 27, 2001.
  • Otherwise, a child will acquire citizenship automatically on the date the child meets all of the above requirements.

Is the Law Retroactive? Is Automatic Citizenship Provided for Those Who Are 18 Years of Age or Older?

No. The new law is not retroactive. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under Public Law 106-395, even if they meet all other criteria. If they choose to become U.S. citizens, they must apply for naturalization and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful permanent residents.

Will Eligible Children Automatically Receive Proof of Citizenship-Such As Citizenship Certificates and Passports?

No. Proof of citizenship will not be automatically issued to eligible children. However, if proof of citizenship is desired, beginning February 27, 2001, parents of children who meet the conditions of the new law may apply for a certificate of citizenship for their child with INS and/or for a passport for their child with the Department of State.

What Will INS Do With Currently Pending Applications for Certificates of Citizenship?

For pending applications filed to recognize citizenship status already acquired, INS will continue to adjudicate such applications under the relevant law applicable to the case. For applications that required INS approval before an individual could be deemed a U.S. citizen, INS will adjudicate those cases under current law until February 27, 2001. On February 27, 2001, INS will adjudicate those cases under the new law and for applicants who automatically acquire citizenship as of the effective date, INS will issue certificates of citizenship reflecting the person’s citizenship as of that date.

Is Automatic Citizenship Provided for Children (Including Adopted Children) Born and Residing Outside the United States?

No. In order for a child born and residing outside the United States to acquire citizenship, the United States citizen parent must apply for naturalization on behalf of the child. The naturalization process for such a child cannot take place overseas. The child will need to be in the United States temporarily to complete naturalization processing and take the oath of allegiance.

To be eligible, a child must meet the definition of "child" for naturalization purposes under immigration law (3), and must also meet the following requirements:

  • The child has at least one U.S. citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);
  • The U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14-or the United States citizen parent has a citizen parent who has been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14;
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parent;
  • The child is temporarily present in the United States-having entered the United States lawfully and maintaining lawful status in the United States;
  • An adopted child meets the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law (4);

If the naturalization application is approved, the child must take the same oath of allegiance administered to adult naturalization applicants. If the child is too young to understand the oath, INS may waive the oath requirement.

– INS –
1 Section 101(c) of the INA. The INA is on the INS Web site: http://www.ins.usdoj.gov.
2 Section 101(b)(1) of the INA.
3 Section 101(c) of the INA.
4 Section 101(b)(1) of the INA.

Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fees: GREAT NEWS!!!!!

Important Notice – New Application Fees: Non-immigrant and immigrant visa application fees will change on April 13, 2012. The fees for most non-immigrant visa applications and Border Crossing Cards will increase, while all immigrant visa application fees will decrease.

All visa applicants must pay the fee amounts in effect on the day they pay, including immigrant visa applicants who pay fees to the National Visa Center (NVC). Fees for Adoptive families are reduced from $400 to $230.

Fees that will decrease are not refundable – If you paid a visa fee before April 13, 2012 and that fee decreased, we cannot give you a refund.

Immediate relative and family preference applications (processed on the basis of an approved I-130, I-600 or I-800 petition): $230

http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1263.html

Second Class Citizen, Again??

Second Class CitizenRecently the National Benefits Center (NBC) hosted a teleconference for both adoptive parents and agency representatives regarding the topic of Bringing Your Internationally Adopted Child to the United States.  The teleconference discussed the steps that should occur with USCIS after a family returns home to the United States with their adopted child.

Since I have been assisting children into families for more than 15 years, the teleconference lacked new information for the most part.  However, we did learn about a significant and disturbing new requirement that leaves me thinking about how far away we are in recognizing an adopted child as a legitimate and equal part of a family.

In the past, any child that entered the US under a full and final adoption decree, coupled with an IR3 or HR3 visa, was automatically granted full US citizenship upon reaching US soil, per the Child’s Citizenship Act of 2000.

Not so today!  If your child enters the US between the ages of 14-18 years of age, your child is not automatically bestowed US citizenship, regardless if they have entered the US with an IR3 or HR3 visa.

Before your child is granted US citizenship they must be issued an appointment to attend a Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America ceremony by their local USCIS field office.

Once your child has successfully taken an Oath, only then will your 14-18 year old child be granted US citizenship.

I have never considered adoption as anything paramount to the priceless gift of a family forged of love.  How did it happen that our country now requires our adopted children to pledge an oath to our country as a criteria to be a legitimate part of our nation?  I am deeply saddened that my country has attached this new requirement and, in doing so, has effectively relegated  our children to the status of second class citizens.

Post Script: One agency representative of Carolina Adoption Services astutely asked the teleconference moderators what provisions would be made for children who have not yet mastered English to effectively take the Oath.  To date, there are no provisions in place to address this obvious issue.

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