• Hours & Info

    (562) 495-0554
    M-F: 8:00am - 6:00 p.m.
    Sat: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Social

  • Past Blog Posts

Overview of the Child Citizenship Act

Overview of the Child Citizenship Act – Avvo.com http://ping.fm/C4XLt

What is Child Citizenship Act of 2000?

On October 30, 2000, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 2883, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The new law permits foreign-born children—including adopted children —to acquire citizenship automatically if they meet certain requirements. It becomes effective on February 27, 2001. This is citizenship immigration, not naturalization.

Which Children Automatically Become Citizens Under the New Law?

Beginning February 27, 2001, certain foreign-born children—including adopted children—currently residing permanently in the United States will acquire citizenship automatically. The term “child” is defined differently under immigration law for purposes of naturalization than for other immigration purposes, including adoption. To be eligible, a child must meet the definition of “child” for naturalization purposes under immigration law and must also meet the following requirements:

  • The child has at least one United States citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is currently residing permanently in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parent;
  • The child is a lawful permanent resident;
  • An adopted child meets the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law; and
  • Acquiring citizenship automatically means citizenship acquired by law without the need to apply for citizenship. A child who is currently under the age of 18 and has already met all of the above requirements will acquire citizenship automatically on February 27, 2001. Otherwise, a child will acquire citizenship automatically on the date the child meets all of the above requirements.

Is the Law Retroactive? Is Automatic Citizenship Provided for Those Who Are 18 Years of Age or Older?

No. The new law is not retroactive. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under this law, even if they meet all other criteria. If they choose to become U.S. citizens, they must apply for naturalization and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful permanent residents.

Will Eligible Children Automatically Receive Proof of Citizenship—Such As Citizenship Certificates and Passports?

No. Proof of citizenship will not be automatically issued to eligible children. However, if proof of citizenship is desired, beginning February 27, 2001, parents of children who meet the conditions of the new law may apply for a certificate of citizenship for their child with INS and/or for a passport for their child with the Department of State.

What Will INS Do With Currently Pending Applications for Certificates of Citizenship?

For pending applications filed to recognize citizenship status already acquired, INS will continue to adjudicate such applications under the relevant law applicable to the case. For applications that required INS approval before an individual could be deemed a U.S. citizen, INS will adjudicate those cases under current law until February 27, 2001. On February 27, 2001, INS will adjudicate those cases under the new law and for applicants who automatically acquire citizenship as of the effective date, INS will issue certificates of citizenship reflecting the person’s citizenship as of that date.

Is Automatic Citizenship Provided for Children (Including Adopted Children) Born and Residing Outside the United States?

No. In order for a child born and residing outside the United States to acquire citizenship, the United States citizen parent must apply for naturalization on behalf of the child. The naturalization process for such a child cannot take place overseas. The child will need to be in the United States temporarily to complete naturalization processing and take the oath of allegiance.

To be eligible, a child must meet the definition of “child” for naturalization purposes under immigration law3, and must also meet the following requirements:

  • The child has at least one U.S. citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);
  • The U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14—or the United States citizen parent has a citizen parent who has been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14;
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parent;
  • The child is temporarily present in the United States—having entered the United States lawfully and maintaining lawful status in the United States;
  • An adopted child meets the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law; and
  • If the naturalization application is approved, the child must take the same oath of allegiance administered to adult naturalization applicants. If the child is too young to understand the oath, INS may waive the oath requirement.

My Adopted Son is a U.S. Citizen

Question: My wife and I were unable to have our own children. Therefore, we looked to adopt a child. Because this took years in the U.S., we decided to do an international adoption which has turned out to be much quicker. However, now that the adoption has gone through, we are unsure what must be done to bring our adopted child into the United States. Can you help?

Answer: Yes. Eduardo Aguirre, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), today announced an important step toward the fulfillment of the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). USCIS is launching a CCA Program to simplify and streamline the process by which parents obtain a Certificate of Citizenship for their children.

I want prospective parents, who are seriously considering international adoption, to know that the process just got a little easier. This program will help parents to more rapidly realize the privileges of American citizenship for their children. It accelerates reassurance of their child’s citizenship status,” said Director Aguirre.

One of the Director’s eight strategic initiatives, the CCA Program will eliminate the backlog of N-643 forms (Application for Certificate of Citizenship in Behalf of an Adopted Child) relating to children affected by the CCA. Additionally, the program will soon automatically provide Certificates of Citizenship to certain adopted children within 45 days of entry into the United States. These Certificates of Citizenship will be produced and mailed to the parents without application and without fee.

Managed from the USCIS Buffalo, New York District Office, the program will initiate 45-day processing for children who fall within the Immediate Relative visa category. This will be for adoptions whereby adoptions are made final overseas. This program will eliminate the issuance of a Permanent Resident Card for newly entering children, since these cards are not applicable to U.S. citizens.

Question: What must I do to fall under this program?

Answer: Assuming you are a U.S. Citizen and your child is under 18 years old, he or she will be considered to be an Immediate Relative. You must petition him or her for lawful permanent residency. Once this is done, then the adopted child can enter the United States. The moment the child takes one step in the United States, he or she will automatically become a U.S. Citizen. According to the new policy, the Certificate of Citizenship should be sent within about 45 days.

%d bloggers like this: