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Immigration Law Associates, PC

Updated immigration rules for adopted children

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Happy children playing / License: Public Domain; Wikimedia Commons

In April, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) updated its policy manual in an effort to provide clearer guidance around the rules that must be followed for adopted children to become U.S. citizens.

There are no changes being made to how an adopted child can become a U.S. citizen. Rather, the new guidance “consolidates and clarifies existing guidance on how citizenship and naturalization provisions apply to adoptees (…),” in an effort to “help adoptive families and adoptees understand these requirements so adoptees may secure U.S. citizenship and documentation of their citizenship, if they are eligible.”

These updates can be found in “Volume 5 – Adoptions” of the USICS policy manual. For a summary of these updates, refer to the USCIS policy alert on the topic.

Some highlights are:

  • How certain citizenship and naturalization rules apply to adopted children
  • How an adopted child can meet the definition of “a child” for citizenship and naturalization purposes, including rules around what qualifies as a “full, final, and complete” adoption
  • How a child can become a citizen if their adoption process is interrupted or ended, depending on the circumstances
  • How a child living outside the U.S. might apply for citizenship and be issued a certificate
  • How a child who lives inside the U.S. can obtain their citizenship certificate

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