The process of adopting a child from overseas can sometimes be complicated by the citizenship status of the parents. Since the child will be living in the United States, it is important to understand how an adopted parent's citizenship impacts the child's ability to become an American citizen. If you are planning to adopt a child from overseas, here is what you need to know about his or her citizenship status.
What if Only One of the Adopted Parents Is a Citizen?
In a situation in which only one of the adopting parents is a citizen, the child should still qualify for automatic citizenship. As long as the adoption is final and the child will live with the American citizen parent and he or she has legal custody, the child will be a citizen. The parent will need to acquire a visa for the child so that he or she can enter the country.
However, it is important for the non-citizen parent to obtain legal status. Without legal status, the non-citizen parent runs the risk of facing deportation. Once deported, it could prove challenging for the parent to regain entry into the country.
What if the Adopted Parents Are Lawful Permanent Residents?
If both parents are lawful permanent residents, obtaining citizenship for the child will be challenging. Since both parents are not citizens, they will have to meet additional requirements to bring the child to the United States and to obtain legal status.
To bring the child to the country, a Form I-130 must be completed. The form is an application for a visa for the child. Here is where it gets tricky. In order to be approved, one of the adopting parents has to prove that he or she lived with the child for at least two years. If the parent claiming to have resided with the child did so outside of the country, he or she could be putting his or her own status at risk.
Permanent residency requirements limit the amount of time a person can live outside of the country. If the two years is outside of the limit, you could run into challenges.
To avoid risking your status and to ensure your adopted child is able to lawfully enter the country, consider working with an attorney who is experienced in both immigration and family law. He or she can review your options for protecting your own status and file the necessary forms.