Providing orphaned children with a loving, permanent home makes the world a better place.
Continue reading below to learn about inter-country adoptions,U.S. citizenship, passports and visas.
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While the process may be timely and complex, the rules and regulations are there to protect families and the children.
Notably, the United States is the #1 nation in the world that supports inter-country adoption. Inter-country adoption is when you adopt a child from a different country through permanent legal means. Ultimately, the child will live in your country of residence with you on a permanent basis.
Under U.S. law, there are 2 inter-country adoption processes: the Hague Convention process and the non-Hague Convention process. The Hague Adoption Convention protects children and their families against the risks of unregulated adoptions abroad. Which process you follow depends on whether the other country is also a party to the Hague Convention.
For more details on adoption immigration, see adoptions by country.
Acquiring U.S. Citizenship for your Child
Child Citizenship Act
Be sure to fully process your adoption so the child obtains U.S. citizenship. Delaying this process will only make it harder down the line.
Under the Child Citizen Act of 2000, adopted children from abroad automatically gain U.S. citizenship if at least 1 parent is a U.S. citizen and:
- The child is under 18 years old.
- He or she lives with the American citizen parent.
- He or she also has lawful permanent resident status.
- The adoption is final.
This is convenient as many parents no longer need to apply separately for the child’s naturalization and citizenship processing.
Other Options for Adoption Citizenship
Also, adopted children who enter the United States on IH-4 or IR-4 visas automatically acquire U.S. citizenship. Of course, this assumes the child is younger than 18 years old, as of the date of the full and final adoption.
Lastly, you may obtain a Certificate of Citizenship with an Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600), once you finalize the adoption.
NOTE: If you are a foreign-born, non-citizen adoptee who would like to apply for U.S. citizenship, please visit the USCIS web pages on naturalization.
Passport Name Change Due to Adoption
Important to realize, there are special cases related to the passport name change process (depending on the passport type you need).
Moreover, see Passport Name Change Due to Adoption for more details.
- Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country (Form I-800A)
- Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative (Form I-800)
- Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition (Form I-600A)
- Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative (Form I-600)
- Affidavit Concerning Exemption from Immigrant Vaccination Requirements for a Foreign Adopted Child (Form DS-1981)
- Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260)
- Application for U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Custody Declaration (Form DS-5509)
- Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130)
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-134)
- Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600)
- Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 (Form N-600K)
More Information on International Adoptions
- General Questions: AskCI@state.gov
- Hague Adoption Convention Questions: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
- Phone: 1-888-407-4747 (or outside the United States: +1 202-501-4444)
Also, you may submit an inquiry on adoptions via our Passport Help Desk.