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We are home! We had quite a time coming in to Newark International with immigration. The woman asked us if the US Embassy told us our girls woulld be citizens once they arrived in the US. To which we excitely responded "yes". She in turn insisted that no matter what the US Embassy told us, our girls are NOT citizens :hissy: and that they will receive green cards and we need to apply for citizenship. In my tired state I pointed out that their visas are IR3 visas and that we should not need to apply for citizenship. Needless to say, my more sane husband, nudge me to "be quiet before you get arrested" and when she assured me she would be sending the paperwork from the US Embassy to a "central location" and handed me back the girls passports stamped arrived on IR3 visa, we left.
Has this ever happened to anyone? I think the sleep deprivation and the "burst your bubble" tone of voice of the woman in immigration had me so annoyed that I probably was overly emotional about the situation. We were so excited to be on US soil that, I was shocked and forgot how rude people can be! (Needless to say they weren't nice to anyone in the place during our 1.5 hour wait there!)
Thanks for your thoughts and opinions!
Megan
I also found airport people don't know anything. I took us almost three hours to process in Dallas. Luckily I had called my husband as soon as we landed so he knew we were on the flight. They also had misplaced my son's wheelchair and it took forever to find. I got in one line (that someone told me to get in) and waiting and got to the front only to be told I needed to be in another line, the third line was right. It took forever and I had a bored six year old and our carry on stuff. NO fun. Lucky for dh one thing I did was I got us all matching red, white and blue tye dye t-shirts and my son and I had them on under sweatshirts. We took off the sweatshirts while in line cause it was hot, hot. (it had been freezing when we left poland) someone else saw us in line and then saw my husband and other three kids in the same sweatshirts and told them about our problems with the wheelchair and that we were in line still.
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Megan,
My daughter got her citizenship certificate and my son a green card. I called, but people on the other end told me they couldn't make any decision. I wrote my local office, but they didn't reply. I will have to go down there in person. I don't really have the time. I complained about Poles but Americans are no better.
I'm sorry you have to go through it, too.
However, welcome back!!!
We got our trio's Citizen Paperwork in the mail abut 6 weeks after getting home (all in the same mail delivery). We had to take that and their stamped paperwork to our local social security office to get SS numbers. They did not come automatically.(BTW, I printed out things from the INS website explaining the diferrent between IR3 visas and the IR4 visa and what consituted an American citizen.)
And the the BOSTON INS people were no great shakes at processing us through either. Huge waits and less than polite people. Does make you understand why folks in other countries say negative things about America if this is how they are treated when visiting our country.
This is also the number one reason why I tell people to arrange thier flights home so that thier first landing in the US is thier home airport. For our first adoption we landed in Atlanta and then had to catch a flight three hours later for Dallas and we nearly missed it dealing with immigration, and there they were actually nice and moved us to the front of the line. (of course this was pre 9/11 so things were different)
This time it was so much better to be done with airports after we finnished.
Hmmm...Must have to take a very special test to be an INS clerk at an airport. We landed at O'Hare and the INS "office" was in a roped off part somewhere. It was dark and no one was around. Worker finally came. Not friendly. Waved me up a few times to answer his question. Still not friendly. I think he thought we were both foreign or something. He finally realized I was truly American (must have been the passport and native accent) and the kids were not one of our relatives and it was a non-relative adoption. Then he became overly helpful and told me what to do about passports. He was even going to make copies of some of the paperwork that was in our immigration packet so I'd have it for the passports! He told us that children derive their citizenship from their mother, and as long as I have proof I am their mother (birth certifictes), then they are Americans. He said I could have travel back from Germany to the US w/ their expired passports as long as I had mine and the birth certificates (I'm not going to try that one!) As we gathered up our belongings he went back to being gruff to the rest of the people.
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LisArno,
Your guy is no better informed than the one who dealt with MSchaefer.
Adopted children do not become citizens just because they have certificates of foreign birth showing that their adoptive parents are Americans.
Up until February, 2001, adopted children had to go through naturalization, just like any other foreign-born people wishing to become American citizens.
In 2000, the Child Citizenship Act was passed; it took effect in 2001. Under that law, children adopted from overseas were granted automatic citizenship under certain conditions -- among others:
1. They must have a "full and final" adoption under federal law. Basically, according to the USCIS, kids who were seen by all relevant parents before a final decree of adoption was issued overseas, and who came home on an IR-3 visa, were considered to have had a full and final adoption. In recent years, a certificate of citizenship has been issued automatically upon entry into the U.S. However, kids who were not seen by all relevant parents before a final decree of adoption was issued overseas, and who came home on an IR-4 visa were NOT considered to have had a full and final adoption, unless their parents readopted them or did a "recognition" of their overseas adoption in their home state. They became automatic citizens only after a judge's readoption order or a state recognition statement was issued. Parents must apply for a COC for their children, using the N-600 process.
2. They had to enter the U.S. legally on an adoption visa (IR-3 or IR-4).
3. At least one of the adoptive parents -- mother OR father -- had to be a U.S. citizen.
4. If they were adopted prior to 2001, and were never naturalized, they needed to be under 18 at the time the law took effect.
There are some specific issues related to children of U.S. citizens living abroad at the time of adoption. You can read the relevant material on the website of the U.S. Department of State and the USCIS.
Sharon
An IR-3 is one of two types of adoption visa issued in non-Hague adoptions.
Your child will be given an IR-3 visa if both spouses (in a two-parent family) traveled and saw the child before the issuance of a final adoption decree overseas. In a single parent family, the single parent must travel and see the child overseas before the adoption decree is granted.
Your child will be given an IR-4 visa if EITHER:
1. A final decree was issued overseas, but both parents did not see the child before it was issued. The IR-4 is often given, for example, where just one spouse is able to travel, or if there is an adoption finalization before any parent comes to meet the child and take him/her home.
2. The foreign country does not finalize the adoption, but grants the family guardianship, so that the child can be adopted in the U.S. Korea is one of the countries where all children come home under decrees of guardianship.
The advantage of getting an IR-3 visa for your child is that the U.S. government considers the adoption "full and final", and readoption/recognition in the U.S. is not necessary unless your state requires it or unless you choose to do it. The child becomes a U.S. citizen as soon as he/she enters the country, and a Certificate of Citizenship is sent automatically to the parents within about 60-90 days, with no paperwork or fees required.
With the IR-4, the U.S. government does not recognize the adoption as full and final, even if a final decree was issued overseas. Where a final decree was issued overseas, but the child was not seen by both spouses, the family must either readopt or do a recognition in their home state before the adoption is considered final for purposes such as citizenship. Where a child came home under a decree of guardianship, the child must be adopted in the parents' home state. In either case, citizenship does not occur automatically until AFTER readoption/recognition or domestic finalization. At that point, the parents must use the N-600 and pay a steep fee to obtain a certificate of citizenship for their child.
Hague adoptions work a bit differently, and my understanding is that the U.S. government is viewing them as full and final, once a final decree is issued overseas, even if only one parent travels.
Sharon
Sharon
An IR-3 is one of two types of adoption visa issued in non-Hague adoptions.
Your child will be given an IR-3 visa if both spouses (in a two-parent family) traveled and saw the child before the issuance of a final adoption decree overseas. In a single parent family, the single parent must travel and see the child overseas before the adoption decree is granted.
Your child will be given an IR-4 visa if EITHER:
1. A final decree was issued overseas, but both parents did not see the child before it was issued. The IR-4 is often given, for example, where just one spouse is able to travel, or if there is an adoption finalization before any parent comes to meet the child and take him/her home.
2. The foreign country does not finalize the adoption, but grants the family guardianship, so that the child can be adopted in the U.S. Korea is one of the countries where all children come home under decrees of guardianship.
The advantage of getting an IR-3 visa for your child is that the U.S. government considers the adoption "full and final", and readoption/recognition in the U.S. is not necessary unless your state requires it or unless you choose to do it. The child becomes a U.S. citizen as soon as he/she enters the country, and a Certificate of Citizenship is sent automatically to the parents within about 60-90 days, with no paperwork or fees required.
With the IR-4, the U.S. government does not recognize the adoption as full and final, even if a final decree was issued overseas. Where a final decree was issued overseas, but the child was not seen by both spouses, the family must either readopt or do a recognition in their home state before the adoption is considered final for purposes such as citizenship. Where a child came home under a decree of guardianship, the child must be adopted in the parents' home state. In either case, citizenship does not occur automatically until AFTER readoption/recognition or domestic finalization. At that point, the parents must use the N-600 and pay a steep fee to obtain a certificate of citizenship for their child.
Hague adoptions work a bit differently, and my understanding is that the U.S. government is viewing them as full and final, once a final decree is issued overseas, even if only one parent travels.
Sharon
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Thanks for this information, very much appreciated. My next question is, who issues the IR-3 Visa? What USCIS form should I use?
I'm in the process of finalizing an adoption and so I feel like I need to start my research too on how to bring her here.
Any information helps.
Thanks,
Janice
sak9645
An IR-3 is one of two types of adoption visa issued in non-Hague adoptions.
Your child will be given an IR-3 visa if both spouses (in a two-parent family) traveled and saw the child before the issuance of a final adoption decree overseas. In a single parent family, the single parent must travel and see the child overseas before the adoption decree is granted.
Your child will be given an IR-4 visa if EITHER:
1. A final decree was issued overseas, but both parents did not see the child before it was issued. The IR-4 is often given, for example, where just one spouse is able to travel, or if there is an adoption finalization before any parent comes to meet the child and take him/her home.
2. The foreign country does not finalize the adoption, but grants the family guardianship, so that the child can be adopted in the U.S. Korea is one of the countries where all children come home under decrees of guardianship.
The advantage of getting an IR-3 visa for your child is that the U.S. government considers the adoption "full and final", and readoption/recognition in the U.S. is not necessary unless your state requires it or unless you choose to do it. The child becomes a U.S. citizen as soon as he/she enters the country, and a Certificate of Citizenship is sent automatically to the parents within about 60-90 days, with no paperwork or fees required.
With the IR-4, the U.S. government does not recognize the adoption as full and final, even if a final decree was issued overseas. Where a final decree was issued overseas, but the child was not seen by both spouses, the family must either readopt or do a recognition in their home state before the adoption is considered final for purposes such as citizenship. Where a child came home under a decree of guardianship, the child must be adopted in the parents' home state. In either case, citizenship does not occur automatically until AFTER readoption/recognition or domestic finalization. At that point, the parents must use the N-600 and pay a steep fee to obtain a certificate of citizenship for their child.
Hague adoptions work a bit differently, and my understanding is that the U.S. government is viewing them as full and final, once a final decree is issued overseas, even if only one parent travels.
Sharon
Sharon
I assume that you will be using an agency. If so, the agency will advise you. Pick an agency that is known for high ethical standards, long familiarity with both the foreign and the U.S. procedures, and a commitment to client service.
In general, once you complete your adoption in the foreign country, you proceed to the U.S. Embassy in that country. You submit the child's adoption paperwork, including the birth certificate, adoption decree, and foreign passport that you were given in the child's province. You submit the I-600, which is the companion document to the I-600A that you submitted at the beginning of your adoption process, and some other documents, such as the results of a medical exam at an Embassy-approved clinic, etc. If the paperwork is in order, and no further investigation is needed, you will receive your child's passport back, with a visa stamped into it. It will be either an IR-3 or an IR-4, depending on the issues I mentioned above. That visa is what you will need to bring your child into the U.S., and once you get it, you may return home.
You won't be able to submit the I-600 until you have all the child's documents, since it is the part of the process that primarily concerns him/her and whether he/she is eligible for a visa. The earlier I-600A was what the USCIS used to approve YOUR qualifications, although there will be some additional review of your situation as part of the I-600, as well.
Sharon
Hi Sharon,
Your knowledge on this matter is really appreciated, for it is helping me learn a lot quicker.
To answer a few of your questions, no, I am not using an agency to help me process my adoption of my neice because I started petitioning her adoption since she was 3 years old in the Philippines (I was a filipino citizen too). But prior to the decision or award, I came here in the US and got married (now divorced), had a son, and now a US citizen. So the court archived my petition until last month when I was finally able to afford and visit the country back, to finalize the adoption (She's now 13 years old, but I've been supporting her financially and really kept in touch with her all these times).
With this being said, I'm afraid IR-3 might not be an option because under Hague Convention rules it specifically said this: NOTE: The adoption MUST NOT take place prior to filing Form I-800A/I-800, doing so contradicts the Hague Convention agreement. Is this correct?
Technically I filed my adoption prior to filing an I-800 form to USCIS, am I right?
As of today, the judge actually already decided to award the child to me, all we are working is my change of status being a US citizen, and my last name which was changed when I got married which I am keeping. As soon as this will be approved and verified, she should be considered my daughter and that's when I would need a visa for her to come here.
So if you have more information that would fit to help my situation, I would, as always, appreciate your help.
Thanks,
Janice
First off, as I noted above, the IR-3 and IR-4 are used ONLY in NON-HAGUE adoptions. There is a special Hague visa for children coming in after going through the Hague process. From what I understand of the situation, the USCIS does NOT care if only one spouse in a married couple travels to complete the adoption, if a child is eligible for a Hague visa. The child will be considered to have had a "full and final" adoption overseas, readoption won't be necessary unless one's state of residence requires it, and a certificate of citizenship will come automatically.
However, I am a little concerned that you have had a finalized adoption before filing any U.S. paperwork. I would not want to see you get a denial of a visa. My understanding is that the U.S. State Department (the Central Authority for the U.S., under the Hague) must approve the adoption before it is finalized. Have you worked at all with the State Department or the USCIS? Didn't you have to file some U.S. documents with the Philippine Central Authority, in the process of doing your adoption?
Sharon
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Hi Sharon,
Again, thank you for these valuable information you are sharing with me, this really help me a lot while I am doing my research on this matter.
I agree, there is a risk of being denied with a visa because of the procedure that I have went through.
I will find other ways possible and hope for the best because this procedure was different than normal. I never thought I would be here while starting the petition, and it took me a while to go back and decided to follow through what I have left off.
I will seek some advise from USCIS on this matter, and if needed, may hire some legal advise from any immigration lawyer who also knows about international adoption.
Again, thank you very much. Any more new information about this topic, please share.
Janice
sak9645
First off, as I noted above, the IR-3 and IR-4 are used ONLY in NON-HAGUE adoptions. There is a special Hague visa for children coming in after going through the Hague process. From what I understand of the situation, the USCIS does NOT care if only one spouse in a married couple travels to complete the adoption, if a child is eligible for a Hague visa. The child will be considered to have had a "full and final" adoption overseas, readoption won't be necessary unless one's state of residence requires it, and a certificate of citizenship will come automatically.
However, I am a little concerned that you have had a finalized adoption before filing any U.S. paperwork. I would not want to see you get a denial of a visa. My understanding is that the U.S. State Department (the Central Authority for the U.S., under the Hague) must approve the adoption before it is finalized. Have you worked at all with the State Department or the USCIS? Didn't you have to file some U.S. documents with the Philippine Central Authority, in the process of doing your adoption?
Sharon
I'm just revisiting an old topic to update my earlier posts.
When you adopt from a Hague country, you must use its Hague process. You cannot use the domestic process that people use when they live in the country and adopt. If you use the domestic process, your child will NOT qualify for an adoption visa to enter the U.S..
It "may" be possible to live overseas with the child for two years, and then apply for a visa for your child. That's what is recommended in non-Hague countries, although most families cannot afford to do that and must overturn their adoptions. While you can try it in a Hague country, some countries will not issue documents for a child adopted via the domestic process to get an immigrant visa, such as a foreign passport, in such cases, because they view it as an illegal attempt to circumvent the Hague process.
In any case, you will need a competent adoption/immigration attorney.
Sharon