What To Do If You Were Adopted from a Foreign Country and Your Are Not A Citizen

Mario A. Godoy
What To Do If You Were Adopted from a Foreign Country and Your Are Not A Citizen

If you are an adult adoptee from a foreign country, you might already be a U.S. citizen. What happens if you are adopted from a foreign country and your parents did not file for naturalization when you were a minor,  and you are not a U.S. citizen? Under current United States law, section 320 of the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) as amended by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), which took effect on February 27, 2001, adopted children automatically acquire citizenship when they are admitted into the United States if they:

  • Meet the requirements applicable to adopted children under INA 101(b)(1)(E), (F), or (G),
  • Are admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident (LPR),
  • Are residing in the United States in their U.S. citizen parent’s legal and physical custody AND
  • Are under 18 years old when they meet all of these conditions. The child must have been under the age of 18 on Feb. 27, 2001, to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship under INA 320.

If the foreign adopted child does not meet these conditions, they will remain an LPR and can apply for naturalization to become a citizen once they are eligible.

How Foreign Adult Adopted Children Can Apply for Naturalization

Naturalization is the process for a person to voluntarily apply to become a permanent U.S. citizen. The naturalization process can take a long time, and there are many steps to prepare for naturalization, including:

• Evaluation of citizenship eligibility
• Overcoming any barriers to ineligibility
• File USCIS Form N-400
• Get fingerprinted and other biometric requirements
• Attend a citizenship interview
• Attend an oath ceremony where you are granted U.S. citizenship and say the Pledge of Allegiance

A new bill, the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 (H.R. 1593), would ensure internationally adopted children can become citizens. This bill would make citizenship automatic for international adoptees who were legally adopted by U.S. citizens as children, regardless of how old they were when the Child Citizenship Act goes into effect.

DuPage County Citizenship Lawyer

An experienced citizenship and immigration lawyer can help you navigate complicated and stressful citizenship and naturalization requirements if you were adopted from a foreign country as a child. Mario Godoy and the other immigration attorneys at the Godoy Law Office can assess your situation and advise you on your best options. Call today at 630-912-0322.  

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AREAS WE SERVE: Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will and Lake Counties

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