Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Acquiring US Citizenship for Your Internationally Adopted Child

By: Lisa Marie Vari  

If you are planning on adopting a child from a foreign country, there are a few things you need to know as it relates to both Pennsylvania family law and federal immigration law. In today's blog your Pittsburgh Adoption Lawyers discuss the process of adopting a foreign born child and obtaining citizenship for him or her.

First, of course you need to contact an experienced Pittsburgh Adoption lawyer for assistance with the adoption process. You need to be sure to fill out the necessary paperwork which will include the Petition for Adoption and may involve obtaining the necessary documentation from the foreign agency or foreign country from which you are adopting the child.

Once you have completed the necessary adoption paperwork, the immigration issue comes into play. In order to make the process of acquiring US citizenship for adopted children easier, the Senate passed the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The Act was designed to eliminate the unnecessary paperwork and expenses. Under the Act, children adopted abroad automatically acquired American citizenship if:

  • At least one of the child's adopted parents is a US citizen
  • The child is under 18
  • The child lives in the legal and physical custody of the American citizen parent
  • The child is admitted into the US as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence, and
  • The adoption has been finalized.

Due to the Child Citizenship Act, many parents no longer need to apply separately for a child's naturalization. Now the process is more stream-lined and the unnecessary paperwork that was required in the past is avoided.

If the child you are adopting or your Pittsburgh adoption does not meet any of these requirements, you must take additional steps to obtain American citizenship for your child. There additional steps depend on the reason for which the adoption or the child does not qualify under the Child Citizenship Act.

For more information about adoption or obtaining US citizenship for a child that does not qualify under the Act, contact our Pittsburgh Family Lawyers at  Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. Our team of attorneys handles both adoption and family-based immigration issues so we can provide you with the legal representation necessary for your case. To schedule a consultation to speak with one of our attorneys, contact us today!

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