If you have already or are thinking about adopting a child from a foreign country, there are many questions. One important question you may be asking yourself is, “when and how will my child become a US citizen?” This is an important to question to ask and one that your adoption attorney can assist you with. After all, if you’re a U.S. citizen, it is only fair that your child one as well. Below we will look at the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, as well as more information about gaining citizenship for your child through your international adoption process.

History of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000

In 1999, the House of Representatives introduced an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This bill, let certain children who did not receive citizenship at birth to obtain citizenship upon admission as a resident. Certain other children get access to expedited citizenship under this bill. In September of 2000 it passed the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate. It then passed the Senate in October and was sent to the office of the President of the United States. President Bill Clinton then signed it into law on October 30, 2000.

Content of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000

Under the CCA, for an international adoption, the government gives the child a visa to enter the United States. The type of visa depends on the country they are coming from as well as certain other criteria. The type of visa the government issues determines if they are given automatic citizenship or expedited citizenship. Generally, the criteria for automatic citizenship is as follows:

  • Must have at least one US citizen parent by birth or naturalization.
  • Child must be under 18 years of age.
  • They must be living in the legal and physical custody of the US citizen parent.
  • Child must be in the US in lawful permanent resident status.

What This Means for You

If you have not already completed the adoption or brought your child to the United States, you will need to secure a visa for your child. The US State Department issues visas within the embassy or consulate in the country where you adopt the child. More information about the types of visas and how that will affect your child’s citizenship can be found here at the website for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

If you have already brought your child to the United States, then you will need to file a petition to gain citizenship for your child. The requirements for filing this petition can be found here at the website for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. This family-based petition process cannot be started until the child has been residing with you for a minimum of two years. This petition process is generally not available to children from Hague Convention countries, so if your child falls into this category you will need to file a different type of petition. Again, your adoption attorney can help you to navigate this process to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible for you and your family.