Many Americans choose to adopt a child from another country because they’re in desperate need of a good home. Conditions in many countries around the world are beyond anything that most Americans can imagine. Children and infants who have lost their parents are often among those who suffer the most.
If you’re considering bringing a child from another country into your family, there are a number of specific legal processes you need to complete – some dependent on the child’s country of birth. Another concern that many prospective adoptive parents have is how difficult it will be for their child to become an American citizen.
The Child Citizenship Act
It’s easier than it used to be. Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), most foreign-born children who are adopted by American citizens are fast-tracked to citizenship. If a couple is adopting a child, at least one adoptive parent has to be a U.S. citizen – either by birth or naturalization.
Once the adoption is final and the child has arrived in the U.S., they have lawful permanent resident status. Then the adoptive parents can then apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a citizenship certificate for their child (as long as the child is under 18). If you choose to adopt a child while living abroad, there are additional procedures to follow, but that child can become a U.S. citizen through their adoption.
Adopting one or more children from another country is a life-changing experience for both parents and their children. It’s understandable that you want your child to have all the benefits of U.S. citizenship. However, as with anything where the U.S. Government (and other governments) are involved, it can be a confusing and frustrating process if you don’t have experienced legal guidance.