Holt International

Citizenship FAQs

1. Am I a US citizen?
The answer to this question depends upon whether you were legally adopted and your legal date of birth.
2. Doesn't being legally adopted make me a US citizen?
Not necessarily. If your legal date of birth is after February 27, 1983, you have been made a citizen of the US by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, assuming your immigration met certain requirements. If your legal date of birth is on or before February 27, 1983, you may or may not be a US citizen.
3. My child was born after February 27, 1983, so we were told that we didn�t have to get them naturalized. Why do we need a Certificate of Citizenship?

While foreign born adoptees do obtain citizenship automatically following a final adoption, the Citizenship and Immigration Service does not always provide proof in the form of a certificate. Children entering the US on the IR-3 visa are issued certificates automatically, but this practice did not begin until 2004, and are occasionally missed.

The Certificate of Citizenship is rapidly becoming one of the most important documents for adoptees, followed closely by the adoption decree. Adoptees are having difficulty entering colleges, obtaining a drivers license, applying for jobs that require background checks, entering the military, and obtaining a passport without a Certificate of Citizenship.

4. I was born on or before February 27, 1983. How do I know if I am a US citizen?
First, check with your adoptive parents. Did they take you through the naturalization process? Do they have a Certificate of Naturalization for you? Do they have a US passport for you? If they have either one of these documents, or took you through the naturalization process, you are a US citizen.
5. How do I prove that I am a US citizen?
It is your Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship that is proof of your citizenship. Because it is such a valuable document and is not easily replaced, we recommend that you keep it in a safety deposit box. Since it is now legal to copy it, you may keep a copy in your home. Your US passport also proves that you are a citizen, but it is your Certificate of Naturalization that you or your parents provided to the US Department of State to get a passport.
6. How do I apply for a Certificate of Citizenship for my child?

You will need to complete form #N-600 and submit it along with any required documentation. You can download this form directly from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov. Please be aware that certificates can take 6-12 months to receive.

7. How do I apply for a replacement Certificate of Naturalization?

You will need to complete form #N-565 and submit it along with any required documentation. You can download this form directly from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov. Please be aware that replacement certificates can take 12-24 months to receive.

8. If a US Passport is proof of citizenship, why can’t I get one without having a Certificate of Citizenship?

Beginning in mid-2006, most passport offices stopped issuing passports without a Certificate of Citizenship (COC), although their published guidelines did reflect that a COC wasn’t necessary. We are unsure as to why this changed, but many adoptees cannot get their passports without a COC, original adoption decree, and US birth certificate.

9. If I’m not a citizen because my parents didn’t have me naturalized, how could I have gotten a Social Security Number and drivers license?

Restrictions on the issuing of Social Security Numbers and drivers licenses have only begun in the last decade. Prior to this, most states issued both without requiring any proof of citizenship.

10. Why didn’t Holt make sure that my parents had me naturalized?

Holt did follow up with your adoptive parents requesting that they naturalize you and inform us that they had done so. The naturalization process, however, could only be initiated after the legal adoption was completed. When the adoption was final, Holt no longer had any leverage in the relationship with your adoptive parents.

11. Does Holt have my citizenship information or my alien registration number in my file?

Probably not, but we will be happy to check your file and provide whatever information we have, such as the date and place of your arrival into the US, which may be helpful to you as you pursue citizenship. Please contact the Post Adoption Services program.

12. Does Holt need a copy of my Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization?

We would very much appreciate receiving a copy of your Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization. Holt continues to strive to maintain as complete records as possible, and having this information on file is important. Should your original certificate be lost or destroyed, Holt would have your certificate number on file to assist you in replacing it. Copies of US birth certificates and social security numbers are also appreciated, but only if you are comfortable releasing this information to Holt.

13. I’m trying to become a naturalized citizen but my adoption decree doesn’t show my name change from birth name to adopted name. What documents do you have that prove my name change?
It is unlikely that Holt’s file will contain any legal documents reflecting a child’s name change during or after the adoption process, but we are happy to review the file. We can usually provide you with an affidavit confirming the adoption and name change, although it is not a legal court issued document.
14. What do I need to do to become a US citizen?
You entered the country as a legal alien on a green card, otherwise known as an alien registration card. It has probably expired. You need to renew it and then apply for citizenship through the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. For further information, please contact the Post Adoption Services program. Your contact with us is confidential.
15. I need my original adoption decree but it’s been lost. How can I replace it?
You should be able to obtain a certified true copy of your adoption decree by contacting the court in which the adoption was finalized. Holt’s files ordinarily only contain a photocopy of the decree, and often not even that in our earliest cases. We are happy to review your file to provide you with the court name, adoption date, and possibly a file number.
16. My child was adopted from Korea and I have a Certificate of Citizenship, but the passport office is asking for a foreign adoption decree. Do you have a copy?
Korean adoptions are not finalized in Korea, so a foreign adoption decree does not exist. Unfortunately, most passport agents do not know this. We can provide the parents with a memo or affidavit explaining the Korean adoption process which they can submit to their passport agent.
17. I adopted my child in China. Why should I re-adopt her in the US?

If your child arrived in the US on an IR-4 visa they must be re-adopted in the US according to the laws of your state to obtain US citizenship. Generally speaking, children enter the US from China on an IR-4 visa when only one parent in a two-parent household travels.

When both parents travel, or it is a single parent household, children usually arrive on an IR-3 visa. If you child arrived in the US on an IR-3 visa, re-adoption is optional, but strongly recommended as many adoptive parents are having difficulty using the Chinese adoption decree with various US entities, even when accompanied by the Certificate of Citizenship.

18. Has my son’s Korean citizenship been nullified? Can he be conscripted by Korea while he resides in the US?

Prior to approximately 1983, parents were required to send a verification of citizenship to Holt, which was then forwarded to Korea to have citizenship nullified. If we did not receive the verification, Korea was not notified.

Since 1983, Korea has been notified when an adoption has been finalized and is responsible for nullifying the Korean citizenship. Holt does not receive any type of confirmation that this has been completed.

To the best of our knowledge, adoptees of conscription age (18 to 35) are not conscripted (mandatory military service) while residing in the US following a finalized adoption. Most instances of US citizens being conscripted due to dual citizenship have occurred when the adoptee committed a crime while staying in Korea.

If you are still concerned about your son’s dual citizenship status, you may send a letter through Holt requesting his Korean citizenship be nullified, along with a copy of his Certificate of Citizenship. Holt Korea will then forward these to the government for processing. Again, we are not notified of completion.

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