When we talk about adoptee citizenship in the United States of America, it includes individuals who were born in a foreign country and are now 18 years of age or older but who, as children, were:
- Brought to the USA to be adopted
- Adopted abroad and then brought to the United States so that they could live with their adoptive parents
- Brought to the United States for some other purpose (maybe illegally) and not as adoption but were adopted subsequently in the country.
However, many adults who were born in foreign countries but adopted as children in the US have doubts and concerns regarding their US citizenship. Read this article if you want detailed information on US citizenship for adopted adults.
Acquisition of Citizenship for Adopted Children
According to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, adopted children who were under 18 years on February 27, 2001, will become eligible for US citizenship through acquisition. Some other important points include the following:
- The adopted child should be a green card holder.
- The physical and legal custodian should be a US citizen.
- A child will receive an IR-3 visa and become a US citizen upon entering the country if the adoption is done in a foreign country.
- The child will get an IR-4 visa if the adoption is not completed in a foreign country. On entering the USA, the child is ‘readopted’ before being granted citizenship.
Citizenship for Adopted Children Through Derivation
An adoptee would become a US citizen through derivation if an adoptive parent took US citizenship on or after October 5, 1978. The laws differ depending on if the adoptive parent became a US citizen between October 5, 1978, and February 26, 2001, vs. if they became citizens on February 27, 2001, or later. People belonging to the 1st category must:
- Provide evidence that both adoptive parents became US citizens before the adoptee became 18 or one of the parents was a citizen at the time of the adoptee’s birth and remained a citizen since then, and the other parent obtained citizenship before the adoptee turned 18.
- You should not have been more than 16 years old when you were adopted unless you were born between December 29, 1981, and November 14, 1986.
- Be unmarried.
- Be a green card holder, and the US citizen parent should have both physical and legal custody of you.
People belonging to the 2nd category must:
- Prove that one of the parents became a US citizen before the adoptee turned 18 or was a US citizen by birth.
- Be unmarried at the time of adoption.
- Be less than 18 years of age and have a green card.
- Provide evidence that the US citizen parent has both legal and physical custody.
Adopting an undocumented immigrant in the United States is possible, but certain legal criteria have to be met. Also, note that such adoptions don’t guarantee citizenship unless you abide by the citizenship and immigration rules stated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for adult adoptees. The legal criteria for adopting an undocumented immigrant are:
- The child has to be 16 years of age or younger.
- One of the adopting parents must be a US citizen and a minimum of 25 years old.
- The child should be eligible for inter-country adoption.
- It is mandatory for biological parents (if present) to provide legal consent with the termination of their parental rights.
How to Get a Green Card for an Adopted Child
As per the Adoptee Citizenship Act 2021, there will be the automatic acquisition of citizenship for individuals born outside the USA but have been adopted by US citizens. There are five processes for getting a green card for an adopted child:
- The Hague Process
- Orphan Process
- Family-Based Petition Process
- The Universal Accreditation Act
- Primary Provider No Longer Accredited
If you want to learn more about immigration services and are looking forward to obtaining a legal green card status as an adult adoptee, it is recommended to follow legal processes and be careful of immigration scams that claim to get green cards easily.
Contact Dr. Steven Wittenberg Gordon for Immigration Medical Exams
Lastly, to become a permanent resident or green card holder in the US, it is mandatory to undergo an immigration medical exam. Follow this link to request an appointment with Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD.
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