The CCA became effective on February 27, 2001. The CCA represents a significant and important change in U.S. immigration law. 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 United States.
Under the CCA, the adopted child will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship on the date that all of the following requirements are satisfied:
For the adopted child whose parent(s) is a U.S. citizen: After the adoption is completed and the child has entered the United States as a permanent resident, the adoptive parent may apply for citizenship on behalf of the child by filing Form N-643. This must be done before the child is 18 years old in order for the child to become a U.S. citizen. If the naturalization process is not completed before the child's 18th birthday, the child will have to apply for naturalization on his own behalf.
If the adopted child is unmarried and under 18 and his parent(s) is a U.S. permanent resident, he can be included in the naturalization petition of his alien parent(s) as a derivative beneficiary by filing Form N-400. He must also be a permanent resident and reside in the U.S. before his eighteenth birthday.
If the adopted child is 18 years or older, he must apply for naturalization independently and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful permanent residents.
In order for a foreign-born child living outside the United States 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 United States temporarily to complete naturalization processing and take the oath of allegiance.
To be eligible, a child must meet the following requirements:
For more detailed information on I-130 Process Adoption and Immigration, please visit on one of the following relevant links: