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Adoption FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


Is automatic citizenship provided for adopted children living outside the U.S.?

No, in order for a foreign born child living outside the U.S. to acquire citizenship, the U.S. citizen parent must still apply for naturalization on behalf of the child. The naturalization process for such a child cannot take place overseas. The child will need to be in the U.S. temporarily to complete naturalization processing and take the oath of allegiance.

To be eligible, a child must meet the following requirements:

  • The child has at least one U.S. citizen parent by birth or naturalization
  • The U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the U.S. for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14 or the U.S. citizen parent has a citizen parent who has been physically present in the U.S. for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14
  • The child is under 18 years of age
  • The child is residing outside the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent
  • The child is temporarily present in the U.S., having entered the U.S. lawfully and maintaining lawful status in the U.S.
  • The child must meet the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law
  • If the naturalization application is approved, the child must take the same oath of allegiance administered to adult naturalization applicants. If the child is too young to understand the oath, USCIS may waive the oath requirement

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Is automatic citizenship provided for those adopted children who are 18 years of age or older?

No, individuals who are 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under the CCA, even if you meet all other criteria. If you wish to become a U.S. citizen, you must apply for naturalization and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful permanent residents.

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