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When you adopt does your child automatically become a US citizen?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2020 | Child Custody & Visitation |

International adoption is a common process. You may assume that because you adopt the child and he or she becomes your legal offspring that U.S. citizenship is automatic. However, it does not happen that way if your adoption occurred outside of the U.S. You actually have to take some steps to secure citizenship for your child. 

This is something you will want to do for your child’s future. He or she could face challenges by not being a citizen as he or she gets older. The U.S. Department of Travel explains that the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 can help streamline the process for you. 

Criteria for securing citizenship 

This act allows your child to easily secure citizenship if he or she meets certain requirements. To begin with, the adoption must be final and recognized by U.S. law. Also, either you or the other parent must be a U.S. citizen through naturalization or by birth. In addition, your child must live in the custody of the parent who is a U.S. citizen. He or she must also enter the country on a green card. 

Additional information 

If your child meets these criteria, then he or she gains citizenship automatically. You have until the child’s 18th birthday to meet all the requirements. After your child turns 18, he or she may need to take other steps to become a legal citizen. 

It is important to note that to come into the country, your child will need a visa. If you wish to use this act to secure citizenship, make sure that your child gets lawful and permanent residency from a green card if possible. If your child enters on a different type of visa, you may have to meet other requirements. However, if your child enters on an IR-4 or IH-4 and the adoption occurs in the United States, he or she becomes a citizen once the adoption is final.