American parents have always and will always open their hearts and homes to orphaned children from foreign countries; unfortunately, love and good intentions can’t offset the fact that there are a multitude of complications that can arise if you decide to adopt a child from outside of the United States. Fortunately, a good immigration lawyer in the Dallas, TX area can help with many of these complications. An immigration lawyer can help before, during and after the adoption process by giving you advice and assisting you with all of the paperwork required to bring your child into the country and to acquire citizenship for them.
The Consequences of Delaying or Avoiding the Residency and Citizenship Process
You may think that bringing your newly-adopted child into the country is the biggest hurdle you must overcome and that everything else, including seeking citizenship for your child, can wait indefinitely. But, according to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, you should seek U.S. residency and citizenship for your adopted child as soon as possible. Delays can lead to complications for your child that include the inability to vote, work legally and get a college scholarship. In some cases, postponing the residency and citizenship process can even lead to deportation for your child.
The Child Citizen Act of 2000
The Child Citizen Act of 2000 was designed to make it easier to attain citizenship and to eliminate some extra steps and costs.
Under this act, children adopted abroad automatically become citizens of the United States if:
- At least one of the child’s parents is a U.S. citizen.
- The child is under 18.
- The child is in the legal and physical custody of the parent who is a U.S. citizen.
- The child is admitted into the U.S. as an immigrant for lawful, permanent residency.
- The adoption is final.
If your child’s adoption does not meet these requirements, there are additional steps, that your immigration lawyer in the Dallas, TX area can tell you about, that you must take to secure citizenship for your child. If you have not yet adopted your child but wish to bring him to the U.S. to complete the process, you must first obtain an IH-4/IR-4 visa for your child. Once the adoption has been finalized, and he or she receives permanent residency they will become a U.S. citizen.
Who Does Not Qualify for Citizenship Under The Child Citizen Act of 2000
The Child Citizen Act of 2000 is not retroactive so adopted children who were 18 or older on February 27, 2001 do not automatically qualify for citizenship even if they meet the other criteria. In fact, many of these children find that though they were legally adopted and have lived in the U.S. most of their lives, they do not hold U.S. citizenship. These adult children must apply for naturalization themselves and go through the same process as other lawful, permanent residents.
If you are considering a foreign adoption, your first step should be to make an appointment with an experienced immigration lawyer in the Dallas, TX area, The Law Office of Nathan Christensen PC. We can ensure that you follow all of the necessary steps to bring your child into the United States and to help him acquire citizenship as quickly as possible. Call us at (972) 497-1017 to schedule an appointment and visit us online to learn more about us.