The USCIS Policy Manual’s Volumes 5 and 12 have been updated to clarify how the provisions of U.S. citizenship and naturalization apply to adopted children. This policy update aims to summarize and explain existing information in Volume 5 and supplement policies in Volume 12 of the Policy Manual on citizenship and naturalization.
The updated explanation outlines the following:
- The requirements for adopted children to meet the definition of a child for citizenship and naturalization purposes, including having a full, final, and complete adoption for immigration purposes;
- The eligibility for U.S. citizenship for adopted children residing inside the United States and how to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship;
- The eligibility for U.S. citizenship for adopted children residing outside the United States and steps to apply for citizenship and issuance of a certificate; and
- Explanation of how to obtain citizenship and naturalization when an adoption is disrupted or dissolved.
The updated summary and explanation does not alter the requirements for adopted children to become U.S. citizens. This updated guidance aims to provide greater clarity on citizenship and naturalization requirements for adopted children and make the process more accessible for adoptive families and adoptees.
For some children, acquiring U.S. citizenship is automatic through adoption when they are admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents. However, others need to take additional steps before turning 18 years of age to obtain U.S. citizenship through an adoptive parent. For those who do not obtain citizenship through their adoptive parents before turning 18, they may be eligible to apply for naturalization after the age of 18.