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Congress Approves Citizenship for International Adoptees

The Senate on October 12 cleared, by unanimous consent, a bill (H.R. 2883) to confer U.S. citizenship upon all foreign-born children adopted by Americans. The House approved the bill on September 19 (see The Source, 9/22/00, p. 3).

Citizenship would be official upon finalization of adoption, providing that the child is under 18 years of age, at least one adoptive parent is an American citizen, and the adoptee resides with that parent in the United States. Under current law, citizenship is automatically granted if one of the adoptive parents has lived in the United States for at least five years, at least two of those years aged 14 or older. Otherwise, American families adopting foreign-born children must apply for adoptees’ citizenship separately. Anecdotal evidence has demonstrated that some families are unaware of this requirement. Instead, they assume that citizenship is automatic or that the paperwork is filed with the adoption papers.

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