Aloha and welcome home!

You have worked so hard and waited so long to welcome your child home. Now that your child is here, there are a few more important steps to ensure your child has all the necessary documents needed for a successful transition into a new life. Please note that securing U.S. citizenship for your child is of utmost importance for your child’s future stability and security.

U.S. Citizenship

If your child arrived in the U.S. on an IR-3 or IH-3 U.S. visa (as stamped in his or her (non-U.S) passport), this indicates that your child’s foreign adoption is full and final in his or her country of birth. This means that if you are married, both spouses saw the child before the adoption, and that, thanks to the U.S. Child Citizenship Act of 2000, all children adopted by U.S. citizens overseas, are automatically conferred U.S. citizenship upon arrival on U.S. soil. (The “R” and the “H” indicate whether the case is a non-Hague (R) or Hague (H) case.) Please note that you should receive a Certificate of Citizenship (COC) in the mail within a month or so of arriving home. If you do not receive this, you should contact the USCIS and inquire. In the worst case scenario, you may need to apply for a COC. Possessing a COC is crucial for your child as this is the most definitive proof of U.S. citizenship.

If your child arrived in the U.S. on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa, this indicates that your child will be adopted in the U.S. and that you can apply for the U.S. citizenship for your child after that adoption has been completed. Please go to the U.S.C.I.S website for more information on how to apply.

U.S. Passport

Your child will arrive in the U.S. carrying a foreign passport issued by his or her country of birth. Your child will not receive a U.S. passport while overseas. We strongly encourage all families to apply for U.S. passports for their foreign born (adopted) children as soon as possible. In some cases you may need to complete a name change or readoption before applying for your child’s U.S. passport. Please review the requirements listed on the U.S. government travel website.

Social Security Number/Card

In some cases families who adopt children overseas automatically receive social security cards in the mail shortly after arriving home with their children. In some cases families do not receive the social security card. In some cases the cards are issued with the child’s previous or birth name, and may not have the child’s new name. In some cases names are misspelled.

If you have any concerns about your child’s social security number/card or if you have not received one in the mail, please contact U.S. social security right away. If you live near a social security office we encourage you to take all your adoption documents and go in to talk with a service person.

For more information on your child’s social security paperwork, please go to the U.S. Social Security webpage: https://www.ssa.gov/people/immigrants/children.html
For more a more detailed outline about your child’s U.S. citizenship status, you may wish to look at Maureen McCauley Evan’s great blog.