The Visa & Naturalization

While the USCIS approves your “petition” (in essence, approving you!), it is the U.S. Department of State in the form of the American Embassy or Consulate in the child's home country that actually issues the immigrant visa (nonimmigrant visas are for tourists and other short-term travelers, not your little one) which allow the child to travel. Each U.S. Embassy or Consulate has its own specific guidelines, as well as its own hours of operation.

We have known people who relied completely on their agency only to arrive overseas hoping to pick up their new child (and her new visa) to discover that some problem they had not learned of earlier will delay the trip home. Learning independently about the actual visa process at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate can help reduce the chance of such delays; even with the best of intentions, agencies can occassionally misunderstand or forget some detail.

Naturalization

Your legal adoption of the child abroad does not automatically make the child an American Citizen. The immigrant visa issued to your child at an American Embassy or Consulate abroad allows the child to enter the U.S.

After your child enters the U.S. with her immigrant visa, you can then apply to INS for citizenship on behalf of the child. You must file INS Form N-600 , “Application for Certificate of Citizenship”, before the child is 18 years old in order for the child to become a U.S. citizen. If the process is not completed before the child's 18th birthday, she'll have to apply for naturalization on her own behalf.

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