Documenting U.S. Citizenship for your Child Adopted Abroad

If you wish for your adopted child to acquire U.S. citizenship, you should document their citizenship acquisition or help them complete the naturalization process to obtain U.S. citizenship. If you postpone documenting or obtaining your child’s U.S. citizenship, he or she may have difficulty enjoying the associated rights and privileges later in life.  

In recent years, many adoptees have found that although they were legally adopted and have been U.S. residents for most of their lives, they do not hold U.S. citizenship. Many discovered they were not U.S. citizens as young adults when applying for jobs, registering to vote, applying for a U.S. passport, or, unfortunately, when getting into trouble with the law. Act now to ensure that your child’s citizenship rights and privileges are protected. 

You can learn more about acquiring U.S. citizenship through the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 on our site. The effective date of the Child Citizenship Act is February 27, 2001. Children who were under the age of 18 on February 27, 2001 (i.e. born on or after February 28, 1983) may automatically acquire U.S. citizenship from their U.S. citizen parent(s) if they satisfied the statute's requirement before their 18th birthday. 

Children who were age 18 or older on February 27, 2001 (i.e. children born on or before February 27, 1983) are not eligible to acquire U.S. citizenship from their parents pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. A child may be eligible to automatically derive U.S. citizenship on another basis. You may also wish to contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to apply for the child's naturalization.