Child Citizenship

Under Child Citizenship Act (CCA) most foreign-born children adopted by US citizens will automatically acquire US Citizenship on the day they immigrate to the United States. About 20,000 foreign born children are adopted by US citizens each year. The CCA 2000 which became operational with effect from February 27, 2001 enables automatic acquisition of citizenship and permanently protects the child from deportation.

The following requirements have to be met to acquire US citizenship under CCA:

  • At least one adoptive parent should be a US citizen,
  • The child is under 18 years of age,
  • There is a full and final adoption of the child, and
  • The child is admitted to the United Sates as an immigrant.

There is no need to apply for INS for adopted child’s citizenship if the above requirements are met. Unfortunately, INS is not able to automatically provide adoptive parents with documents of their child’s citizenship currently. The process of is being worked out.

However, if you want to file for a Certificate of Citizenship for your child at this time, file Form N-643, photographs of the child with a fee of $124, if your child has immigrated to the United States after a full and final adoption abroad. If your child has immigrated to the US to be adopted or re-adopted, you should submit Form N-643 along with photographs of your child, fee, evidence of a full and final adoption and evidence of all legal changes. The form should be filed at the INS district office or sub-office in the United Sates that has jurisdiction over your place of residence.

Normally no interview is required to adjudicate Form N-643. But INS may request an interview if discrepancies between the application and INS records need to be resolved.

Automatic citizenship is not provided for adoptive children living outside the United States. Naturalization process for such a child cannot take place overseas. The child has to be in the United States temporarily to complete the naturalization process and take the oath of allegiance. If the child is too young to understand the oath of allegiance, INS may waive the oath requirement.