USCIS Updates Policy Manual on Citizenship and Naturalization for Adopted Children

Effective immediately, USCIS is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify how U.S. citizenship and naturalization provisions apply to adopted children.

The updated guidance:

  • Describes requirements for adopted children to meet the definition of a child for citizenship and naturalization purposes, including having an adoption that is considered full, final, and complete for immigration purposes;
  • Explains eligibility for U.S. citizenship for adopted children who reside in the United States and how to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship;
  • Explains eligibility for U.S. citizenship for adopted children who reside outside of the United States and how to apply for citizenship and issuance of a certificate; and
  • Provides guidance on acquiring citizenship and naturalization when an adoption is disrupted or dissolved.

Some children immigrating based on adoption automatically acquire U.S. citizenship when admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents. Others do not, and their adoptive parents need to take additional steps before an adopted child turns 18 for the child to obtain U.S. citizenship through an adoptive parent. Adoptees who do not obtain citizenship through their adoptive parents before turning 18 may be eligible to apply for naturalization after the age of 18.

Erickson Insights

The updated guidance does not change the requirements for adopted children to become U.S. citizens. USCIS is updating this guidance to help adoptive families and adoptees understand these requirements so adoptees may secure U.S. citizenship and documentation of their citizenship if they are eligible. Visit the Policy Manual Feedback page to comment on this update.

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to share updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.