Generally, any child who immigrates to the U.S. as the adoptee of a U.S. citizen automatically becomes a U.S. citizen if the adoption is completed before the child turns 18.

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  However, there are a few exceptions for receiving a Certificate of Citizenship for your child immediately:

  • If your child is between 14 and 18 when he or she enters the U.S. they must take and sign an oath of allegiance to the U.S. in order to receive a Certificate of Citizenship.  
  • If your child is at least 18 years old when he or she enters the U.S. with an immigrant visa, the USCIS will send a Green Card by mail.  Form N-400, Application for Naturalization is required for your child to become a U.S. citizen.  The most important requirements for naturalization are that the applicant must have been a permanent resident alien for a minimum of 5 years and must have lived in the U.S. for half of that period, must have good moral character, be able to speak, read and write English, and have basic knowledge of American government and history.  
  • If your child has not established residency and is not a U.S. citizen, they must be residing in the U.S. to receive a Certificate of Citizenship.  
  • If your child entered the U.S. before January 1, 2004, you can request a Certificate of Citizenship with Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.  The USCIS did not have the resources to create evidence for children who entered prior to 2004. The act was effective February 27, 2001.

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