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How does my adopted child gain citizenship?

Thanks to the Child Citizenship Act, most foreign-born adopted children are automatically granted citizenship when brought to the U.S. Although there are a few requirements for this naturalization, it is a fairly straightforward and easy to understand the process. If you and your spouse are considering foreign adoption and wondering about the legalities, speaking to a trusted immigration law attorney may help.

According to the requirements of the CCA, foreign-born children that are adopted by U.S. parents are able to gain citizenship if they meet certain requirements. At least one of the adopting parents must be a U.S. citizen through either naturalization or birth. They must also be under the age of 18 at the time of the adoption. Their residence must be established in the U.S. and with the adoptive parents who have lawful permanent residency.

The other main requirement for a foreign-born adoptee to gain citizenship into the U.S. is that the adoption itself must be completely legitimate. It must have followed all other applicable immigration laws and be a legal adoption. While it is not uncommon for U.S. citizens to live abroad and adopt a child, their foreign-born adoptee will not gain automatic citizenship until the family moves back to the U.S.

Although the CCA grants automatic citizenship for foreign-born adoptees, many times children must wait a certain period of time before all requirements are met, and the naturalization is granted. For parents who wish to adopt a foreign-born child and have questions about their citizenship, an attorney well versed in immigration law can help answer your questions and make the transition smoother.

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