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Adoption FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


If I am a U.S. citizen, will the child I adopt automatically become a citizen too?

No, presently, adoption of a foreign born child does not guarantee the child’s eligibility to immigrate to the United States. If the orphan petition is approved, the child is considered to be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen and the child can get an immigrant visa right away without being put on a visa waiting list. The child still must qualify for an immigrant visa just like any other foreign born person. For example, the child may be inadmissible if he or she has a contagious disease of public health significance.

When an orphan enters the U.S. with an immigrant visa, the orphan is considered to be a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., not a U.S. citizen. However, in some situations, a child will automatically become a U.S. citizen immediately upon admission into the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.

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What is the Child Citizenship Act?

The Child Citizenship Act (CCA) effective on February 27, 2001 represents a significant and important change in the nationality laws of the U.S. Under the new law, most foreign born children adopted by U.S. citizens will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship on the date they immigrate to the U.S.


Does my adopted child qualify for automatic citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act?

Under the CCA, your child will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship on the date that all of the following requirements are satisfied:

  • At least one adoptive parent is a U.S. citizen
  • The child is under 18 years of age
  • There is a full and final adoption of the child
  • The child is admitted to the U.S. as an immigrant
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