Immigration:

Citizenship for a Foreign-Born Adopted Child

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of American citizens to acquire American citizenship automatically. These children did not acquire American citizenship at birth, but they are granted citizenship when they enter the United States as lawful permanent residents (LPRs). The child must meet certain requirements in order to obtain citizenship.  They must:

  • Have at least one American citizen parent by birth or naturalization

  • Be under 18 years of age

  • Live in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent

  • Be admitted as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence

  • If the child is adopted, the adoption must be full and final

  • The child lives abroad in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent and has been lawfully admitted into the United States as a nonimmigrant

Another section of the Child Citizenship Act states that children (biological or adopted) of American citizens who are born and reside abroad, and who do not become American citizens at birth can apply to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) for a certificate of citizenship if the following conditions are met:

  • At least one parent of the child is an American citizen by birth or naturalization

  • The American citizen parent has been physically present in the United States for a total of at least five years, at least two of which are after the age of 14. If the child's American citizen parent cannot meet the physical presence requirement, it is enough if one of the child's American citizen grandparents can meet it

  • The child is under the age of eighteen

  • The child lives abroad in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent and has been lawfully admitted into the United States as a nonimmigrant

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