In this section:

Pediatric Links
Growth Charts
Adoption Finalization
Social Security
US Citizenship


Our Story
Getting Started
Choosing Korea
Selecting the Agency
The Homestudy
The Referral
Post-Arrival Issues
Adoptive Parenthood
For Adoptees
Resource Links
Book Browse

Adopting from Korea - A Parent's Guide to Korean Adoption

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Applying 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.

About the US Passport


  • Cheaper

  • Easier to replace

  • Shorter timeframe to process and receive

See 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.

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About the Certificate of Citizenship


  • Provides incontrovertible proof of your child's citizenship

Download the N-600, 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 more secure.


Important Info About Your Child's SSA US Citizenship Status

(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.

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One Last, but Important Paperwork Step

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 is complete.

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 behind you,
your child is truly yours in the best sense of the word.

Now to the realities of adoptive parenthood...

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, Adoptive 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.

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Additional Information

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