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International Adoptions: How to Obtain A Certificate of Citizenship

Posted on December 14, 2015 at 8:00 AM

You completed your adoption internationally, and now you are back in the US adjusting to life with a new kiddo around! What comes next? Generally you undergo some post-placement visits with your adoption agency, and you should either file for Registration Of A Foreign Birth Record or Readoption. However, have you considered obtaining a Certificate of Citizenship for your child?

Evidence of United States citizenship is important for your adopted child. For this reason, you should obtain a Certificate of Citizenship for your child following your international adoption or re-adoption process. Most international adoption agencies help their clients complete this process. However, It is possible to do yourself. The application is easily accessed online. Below you will find the link to give you additional information on how to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship through USCIS.

The purpose of the Certificate of Citizenship is to establish citizenship. In the past, the federal government has not consistently viewed passports and/or social security cards as definitive evidence of citizenship. There are even rare situations when a birth certificate is insufficient to establish citizenship and a Certificate of Citizenship is necessary.

If an internationally adopted child’s family does not apply for his or her Certificate of Citizenship, that child’s USCIS file remains open. Therefore if, as an adult, an adopted child gets in legal trouble or stays outside of the United States for more than one year, USCIS may not be able to verify that the child is already a United States Citizen. By obtaining the Certificate of Citizenship, the child’s file is complete and USCIS has knowledge that the child is a United States citizen.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as too much evidence of citizenship. Thus, I strongly recommend that anyone completing an international adoption also obtain a Certificate of Citizenship.

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