The Importance of Obtaining Certificates of Citizenship

citizenship1Nobody enjoys filing paperwork or paying filing fees, and for families that have completed an international adoption, they often think they have had more than enough of both. Fortunately, most international adoptions now result in a certificate of citizenship (COC) being issued without any additional process or fees. That has not always been the case, and still is not always so, especially in cases where the child was issued an IR-4/HR-4 visa. In these situations, the child does not automatically become a U.S. citizen, and the placement requires finalization here in the United States.

Obtaining a COC for any child adopted internationally is an important way to definitively establish and demonstrate citizenship. When the cost of COCs was significantly increasing last year, NCFA hosted a webinar led by McLane Layton and Christine Poarch. NCFA also made available a printable factsheet addressing FAQs about certificates of citizenship. These resources continue to be helpful to better understand this issue.

Adoptive families may ask, “Why would I pay for this if I already have proof of citizenship with a U.S. passport or state issued birth certificate?” Although there may be other ways and options to prove citizenship, the Certificate of Citizenship remains the most permanent and definitive way of doing so. Unlike passports, the certificate of citizenship never expires. State issued birth certificates are not always accepted as proof of citizenship, with issues raised if the name has changed or if the birth certificate lists a foreign place of birth.

Adoption professionals who have worked in this field for a number of years strongly advise a family to obtain a COC on behalf of their internationally adopted child. Sue Hollar, the Executive Director & CEO of The Barker Adoption Foundation, is a strong advocate of agencies working to ensure families have obtained COCs. She says, “Adoption agencies and adoptive families have an ethical and moral responsibility to these kids. At Barker, we hold a financial deposit from families and return it upon receiving a copy of the COC… No kid/adult should suffer the consequences of not having the documentation.”

NCFA strongly encourages adoption agencies to obtain copies of the certificate of citizenship as part of their post-adoption reporting. This practice will ensure that families are obtaining their COCs within a reasonable timeframe upon returning, instead of many years later when it may be more difficult for the adoptive family to locate required documentation.

The application for a COC is called the N-600 and can be accessed through USCIS’s website here.

For more family-oriented intercountry adoption resources, visit the Global Adoption section of NCFA’s blog.

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Notice: The Form N-565 – Request a Replacement Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate Has Been Updated

uscis-signatureInterested in obtaining a Replacement for your Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate? USCIS has recently updated the form to be used: The new edition dated 06/13/17. Starting 09/22/2017, we will only accept the 06/13/17 edition. Until then, you can use the 12/23/16 edition.

Learn more.

Deportation a ‘Death Sentence’ to Adoptees After a Lifetime in the U.S. by Choe Sang-Hun

Source: https://www.nytimes.com

By Choe Sang-Hun

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Remember to protect your children’s rights to citizenship if your child was adopted prior to 2000.  The consequences are devastating if you have not obtained your child’s US citizenship.

SEOUL, South Korea — Phillip Clay was adopted at 8 into an American family in Philadelphia.

Twenty-nine years later, in 2012, after numerous arrests and a struggle with drug addiction, he was deported back to his birth country, South Korea. He could not speak the local language, did not know a single person and did not receive appropriate care for mental health problems, which included bipolar disorder and alcohol and substance abuse.

On May 21, Mr. Clay ended his life, jumping from the 14th floor of an apartment building north of Seoul. He was 42.

To advocates of the rights of international adoptees, the suicide was a wrenching reminder of a problem the United States urgently needed to address: adoptees from abroad who never obtained American citizenship. The Adoptee Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, estimates that 35,000 adult adoptees in the United States may lack citizenship, which was not granted automatically in the adoption process before 2000.

Mr. Clay is believed to be just one of dozens of people, legally adopted as children into American families, who either have been deported to the birth countries they left decades ago or face deportation after being convicted of crimes as adults. Some did not even know they were not American citizens until they were ordered to leave.

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NCFA’s 2016 Policy Priorities and Adoption-Related Legislation

By Megan Lestino and Erin Bayles

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Since our inception in 1980, National Council For Adoption (NCFA) has served as a strong and principled advocate for children outside of family care, adopted individuals, adoptive families, birth parents, and the public at-large. Motivated by the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a loving, safe, and permanent home, NCFA continues to support laws, policies, and practices to help promote permanency for the many children worldwide living without permanent families.

Our January Adoption Advocate is always dedicated to presenting NCFA’s policy priorities for the coming year and related legislation. NCFA rarely endorses specific legislation, but instead prioritizes educating key legislators and policymakers on the policies and practices that will provide essential services and the best possible support for children outside permanent family care, adopted individuals, birth parents, and adoptive families. At present, we are beginning the 2nd year of the 114th United States Congress, which began January 3, 2015 and continues until January 3, 2017. As we outline our priorities generally in this article, we will also take the opportunity to mention current pending legislation that is related to NCFA’s legislative priorities.

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