for Proof of US Citizenship
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000
confers automatic US citizenship upon all
internationally adopted children upon the finalization of their adoption in
court. For Korean-born children, this happens in your local county court.
The problem is, at least at this writing, your child's
finalization papers aren't accepted as proof of US citizenship. (Go figure.)
That means you'll need to apply for either a US Passport or a Certificate of
Citizenship for your child.
the US Passport
Application for US Passport and Instructions for complete info.
Note: BOTH parents in a two-parent home must sign child's
application (option: there is a consent form that can be used if only one parent
can deliver application in person).
Take one of ALL original adoption-related documents (including
the Korean passport) AND a copy of same with you, as what you're requested to
produce varies with whom you encounter. You will likely be required to surrender
some original documents, including Korean passport (make copies), but you should
get everything back.
About the Certificate of
Application for Certificate of Citizenship here.
Some parents have decided to get both because of the vague
language of the law and how it's applied. (Passports are issued by the State
Department. Certificates of Citizenship are issued by USCIS.)
My own feeling is that getting both is like wearing suspenders
and a belt to hold your pants up. Only one is needed but both will make you feel
(This is a repeat from the
Social Security Page
but it's so important, it bears repeating here.)
SSA does not have the authority to determine who and who is
not a US citizen. Therefore until the law is changed, you MUST get the passport
or the Certificate of Citizenship and present it to SSA as proof of your child's
US citizenship and to have his/her status changed. Otherwise, your child status
remains as Permanent Resident Alien and you place him/her at risk of reduced or eliminated benefits if needed.
One Last, but Important
Make sure that you contact your closest Korean embassy or consulate and
request, in writing, that your child's name be removed from the Korean citizenship roles.
There is a special form that is used and you will receive a confirmation after the removal
Your agency may handle this for you, or assist you in the proper
execution of this form. In any case, this, again, is a must, especially if you
have a son. Otherwise, your child is still eligible for automatic conscription
into the South Korean Armed Forces.
And with it completed and
your child is truly yours in the best sense of the word.
Now to the realities of
When I originally wrote Adopting from Korea, we hadn't as
yet completed some of this paperwork and we were in process for Piper's
adoption, as well. A few years later, my babies aren't babies anymore and the
realities of adoptive parenthood - especially the transracial/transcultural
aspects - aren't abstractions any longer.
My next section,
Parenthood is going to be an ongoing mix of useful links, articles,
essays, and my own thoughts about this process. I hope to make it an interactive
experience, as well, very soon.
I look forward to continuing to share the journey with you.