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Obtaining citizenship for children adopted abroad

Several children are adopted internationally by Georgia residents each year. Adoptive parents will want to make certain that their adopted children become U.S. citizens. Children who do not obtain citizenship status may experience difficulties with voting, obtaining work legally, qualifying for scholarships and other obstacles. A child immigration lawyer may answer adoptive parents questions regarding citizenship for their children who have been adopted abroad.

The Child Citizenship Act was legislated to make it easier for parents to gain citizenship for their internationally adopted children. The Act allows children to obtain U.S. citizenship automatically under certain circumstances. In order to qualify for automatic U. S. citizenship, the child must be under the age of 18 and at least one of the child's parents must be a U.S. citizen. In addition, the child has to be under the physical and legal custody of the parent who is an American citizen, is an immigrant for lawful permanent residence and whose adoption has been finalized. In the event that an adopted child does not meet the above criteria, additional steps will be required to obtain citizenship for that child.

Some adoptees were not able to gain U.S. citizenship under the Act. Many of these were children age 18 or older as of Feb. 27, 2001, who were excluded from the Act's provisions Several adopted children have discovered that, although they have been adopted legally, they are not U.S. citizens.

A Georgia immigration attorney may assist adoptive parents with the process of obtaining citizenship for their child. If the child does not meet the requirements for automatic citizenship, the attorney may know which steps need to be pursued.

Source: Bureau of Consular Affairs, "Acquiring U.S. Citizenship for your Child", October 13, 2014

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