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USCIS Provides Clearer Guidance on Citizenship and Naturalization Requirements for Adopted Children


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WASHINGTON, DC- Effective immediately, the USCIS Policy Manual is being updated to provide clarification on how U.S. citizenship and naturalization provisions apply to adopted children. This update consolidates and clarifies existing information in Volume 5 and supplements policy in Volume 12 of the Policy Manual on citizenship and naturalization.

The updated guidance provides detailed requirements for adopted children to meet the definition of a child for citizenship and naturalization purposes. It emphasizes the importance of having an adoption that is considered full, final, and complete for immigration purposes to be eligible for U.S. citizenship. It also provides information on how to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship for adopted children who reside in the United States and how to apply for citizenship and issuance of a certificate for adopted children who reside outside of the United States.

Furthermore, the updated guidance provides guidance on the acquisition of citizenship and naturalization when an adoption is disrupted or dissolved. It aims to help adoptive families and adoptees understand the requirements for U.S. citizenship and documentation of their citizenship, if they are eligible.

It is important to note that the updated guidance does not change the requirements for adopted children to become U.S. citizens. Some children immigrating based on adoption automatically acquire U.S. citizenship when they are admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents. However, for those who do not, their adoptive parents need to take additional steps before the child turns 18 years of age for the child to obtain U.S. citizenship through an adoptive parent. Adoptees who do not obtain citizenship through their adoptive parents before turning 18 may be eligible to apply for naturalization after the age of 18.

USCIS welcomes feedback on this update and encourages individuals to visit the Policy Manual Feedback page to comment on this update. Any comments received will be considered in future updates to the Policy Manual.

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