new birth certificate abroad?
If US citizens living abroad adopt a child from abroad, do they get a new birth certificate issued? If so, who would issue that birth certificate with the adoptive parents' names on it? The US consulate?

If you can/do get a new birth certificate issued this way, is that all that is then needed to get a US passport for the child?

I'm just thinking of a situation where a family lives abroad and adopts following the laws of the country they live in, and later decides to move back to the US. That can't be considered an international adoption, right? So the normal requirements for a visa for the child wouldn't apply, right? Wouldn't the child have US citizenship then by virtue of having 2 US parents listed on their (revised) birth certificate?

Or do other countries not issue new birth certificates, only adoption decrees?

Thanks so much for your insights on this!
In the U.S., birth certificates for any child, homegrown or adopted, are issued by the parents' state of legal residence. By LAW, any child born inside the U.S. automatically becomes a U.S. citizen, even if his/her parents are undocumented immigrants/illegal aliens. As a result, a state birth certificate showing that a child who was born in the U.S. is automatically proof of citizenship for the child.

The situation is different for kids born abroad to U.S. citizen parents. While specific requirements vary, depending on whether both parents are citizens or only one is, and on whether the child was born within or outside of marriage, the registration of birth is done by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in that country, which can issue a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, if the parents qualify, and the child may or may not qualify for citizenship, depending on the specific circumstances. You can read more about the requirements at [url=]Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by a Child Born Abroad[/url]

With regard to children adopted by American citizens and brought to the U.S., while state practices vary widely, most states issue a document called a Certificate of Foreign Birth to a child who has been born abroad, legally adopted abroad, and legally immigrated to the U.S. on an adoption visa. The Certificate of Foreign Birth lists the name(s) of the adoptive parent(s), and lists the birthplace as the province and country from which the child was adopted. In some cases, states require that parents readopt in the U.S. before a Certificate of Foreign Birth can be issued.

A U.S. birth certificate or Certificate of foreign birth is NOT proof of citizenship UNLESS it shows that the child was born in the U.S., which a Certificate of Foreign Birth does not. The reason is that, by law, ANY child born in the U.S., even if he/she was born to an illegal immigrant, becomes a U.S. citizen automatically.

Since a child born overseas may or may not have become a U.S. citizen once he/she arrived in the U.S., you need to prove citizenship by obtaining either a CoC or U.S. passport for him/her, even if you have a state Certificate of Foreign Birth for him/her.

If you adopt a child overseas, he/she cannot automatically get a visa to come to the U.S., even if both parents are citizens of the U.S.

If the family has gone through the adoption visa process, which involves filing the I-600A/I600 or I-800A/I-800, a visa (IH,IR-4, or IR-3) may be granted if the parents and the child meet all requirements specified in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. As an example, the child must have qualified as an "eligible orphan"; the parents must have proved that they have met requirements concerning health, financial capacity, lack of criminal issues, and so on; and the adoption must have satisfied all legal requirements. Prospective parents can use the adoption visa process if at least one parent is a U.S. citizen. The adoption visa process can be used by Americans residing abroad, under certain circumstances, which can be described by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country.

If a family adopts a child and either has not applied for an adoption visa or has adopted a child who does not qualify for an adoption visa, the parents will need to live abroad with the child for at least two years, before applying to bring him/her to the U.S. on a regular visa.

If parents have successfully gone through the adoption visa process, CERTAIN children will become U.S. citizens automatically upon entering the U.S. Any child who has a Hague visa (IH-3 or IH-4) because the adoption was from a country that raitified the Hague Convention on international adoption, or an IR-3 visa (meaning that both parents saw the child overseas before finalizing the adoption) becomes an automatic citizen as soon as he/she enters the U.S., if the parents live in the U.S.

If both parents have NOT seen the child prior to the finalization, or if the child is being brought to the U.S. under a decree of guardianship for finalization in a state court, the child comes home on an IR-4 visa and does not become a citizen until the family readopts/does a recognition in the US, and files the N-600 to get a CoC. It doesn't matter that both parents are citizens.

The situation for Americans living abroad is a bit different. If they go through the adoption process, and get an IH or IR-3 (not IR-4) visa for their child, there is a way in which they can travel to the U.S. (many expats choose Hawaii, because the USCIS office there is familiar with the citizenship issues of expat adopted kids) and apply for expedited citizenship for their child. Consult the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country.

Newly adopted children from overseas come home on the passport of their foreign country, since they do not gain U.S. citizenship until they are in the U.S., as mentioned above.

U.S. Passports are issued ONLY to U.S. citizens. In the case of adopted children who qualify for automatic citizenship under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act -- kids with IR-3 or IH visas with or without readoption, and kids with IR-4 visas who have been readopted in the U.S. -- "SOME", but not all, children can get passports without showing anything but their foreign passport with the appropriate visa stamp, their foreign and/or U.S. birth certificate, their adoption decree (if IR-4), and their foreign passport, plus ID for the parents.

The reason is that the Passport Agency is a branch of the U.S. State Department and, as such, is authorized to "adjudicate status" -- determine who is and who is not a citizen. HOWEVER, nowadays, many Passport Agency offices do require a CoC before issuing a passport, because the staff do not want anyone except the USCIS determining the child's citizenship. They do not want to be held responsible if a terrorist is accidentally admitted. You can appeal if your application for a passport for your child is turned down, but you may or may not prevail.

As to your last question, all children applying for an adoption visa must present their foreign adoption decree, foreign passport, and foreign birth certificate as part of the application process. With regard to the foreign birth certificate, adoptive parents receive it at the time of adoption, and it has usually been reissued so that the adoptive family is listed as the parents and the child's birthplace is still shown as the actual country in which he/she was born.

The bottom line is that, if you plan to adopt while living abroad and will want to bring your child home to the U.S. soon afterwards, it is important to go through either the I-600A/I-600 process or the I-800A/I-800 process, depending on whether the country from which you are adopting has ratified the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.

If you do not, then you will have to live overseas for two years with your child before he/she is allowed to obtain a visa in his/her foreign passport. The I-600 and I-800 processes determine that the adoption process has been legal, that you qualify to bring an adopted orphan into the U.S., and that your child qualifies under the Immigration and Nationality Act as an "eligible orphan". If you go throughone of these processes and everything is OK, your child can get an IR-3, IR-4, or IH-3 visa immediately.

Remember that an adopted child is not considered a U.S. citizen, just because two U.S. citizens adopted him/her. Some adopted children (IH-3 and IR-3) will become citizens as soon as they enter the U.S., because their adoptions are considered "full and final" overseas and the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 applies to them. Other adopted children (IR-4) will become citizens only after they are readopted in the U.S., because, even if a final decree was issued abroad, the child was not seen by both parents before the decree was issued. If you get a visa for your child OTHER than an adoption visa, your child will NOT become an automatic citizen, either immediately upon entering the U.S. or after readoption, and you will have to naturalize him/her. Again, adopted children do NOT get automatic citizenship just because their adoptive parents are U.S. citizens.

When you file your I-600 or I-800, you will need to supply the child's birth certificate, adoption decree, and foreign passport or, if the child is being brought to the U.S. under a decree of guardianship for adoption here (only a couple of countries allow this), the birth certificate, guardianship order, and foreign passport. These items will be given to you by the foreign country, at the time of the adoption or granting of guardianship. The child's birth certificate will list you as the parents, and the child's country of birth as his place of birth.

If you live IN the U.S., and your child comes home on and IR-3 or IH visa, you will not need to readopt unless your state requires it or unless you wish to do so. Your child will become a citizen as soon as he/she passes through Immigration, and he/she will get a Certificate of Citizenship in the mail within a couple of months. You can use that to obtain a U.S. passport for your child.

If you live IN the U.S., and your child comes home on an IR-4 visa, you are required to do a readoption or "recognition" in your state of residence. Your child becomes an automatic citizen as soon as the readoption or recognition is done, but you will have to file the N-600 with the USCIS, and pay the required fees, in order for him/her to get a Certificate of Citizenship.

If you live outside the U.S., but are U.S. citizens, there is a process by which you make a trip to the U.S. (usually to Hawaii) to apply for your child's citizenship, and it is handled on an expedited basis. Consult an expat adoption board or the U.S. Embassy where you are living for full details.

I hope this is clear.

Wow, Sharon, that is a lot of information, thanks! I guess one thing I'm still not clear on is that if the country where the child is born does issue an amended birth certificate naming adoptive parents as the parents, when it comes to getting a US passport at the embassy, how do they know whether the birth certificate you present is an amended one and the child was adopted, or whether the child was born to you and there was no other birth certificate before the one you're presenting?

The other thing I see is that it's possible for the adoption to be considered legit in the country of origin, but not by the US, but it sounds like there is a way to get around that if it turns out the child that was already adopted and lives with you is deemed by the US as somehow "not" your child, namely by living together in the country for 2 years and then applying for an immigration visa for a relative rather than an adoption-related visa. Am I understanding this correctly?

Thanks, Sharon!

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