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Does My Child Need to Be Naturalized?

Parents often call us asking if they need to have their child naturalized now that the adoption is final. The answer to this is easy – no.

As long as your child was born on or after February 28, 1983, and you have a finalized adoption recognized by the U.S., your child is already a U.S. citizen. Naturalization is the process of asking permission to become a U.S. citizen. Adopted children who satisfy the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 now gain citizenship automatically.

If your child’s adoption was finalized in his or her country of birth, and your child entered the U.S. on an IH-3 or IR-3 visa, you may have received a Certificate of Citizenship (also called a COC) automatically shortly after arrival, usually issued in the child’s birth name. For all other adoptions including when a child entered the U.S. on an IH-4 or IR-4 visa, you must apply for the COC after the adoption is finalized in your state.

The issue for adoptees these days has more to do with proving U.S. citizenship than anything else. Your child will have to prove their citizenship status to apply for a U.S. passport, a driver’s license, to obtain or replace a Social Security card, even to enter college. To avoid these future issues, Holt recommends you obtain a COC as soon as you are able. To apply for the COC, you need to complete the N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship. Holt’s Post Adoption Services department will be happy to assist you in locating and completing this form.

Deb Hanson | Former Holt team member

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