Passport for an Adopted Child

Obtaining a Passport for an Adopted Child

As involved as the adoption process is already, it may seem overwhelming to have to consider obtaining another legal document for your child. However, the process for obtaining a passport for your adopted child is relatively straightforward. If your child was adopted overseas, he or she is automatically eligible for United States Citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. As such, your child does not have to wait for US Citizenship and Immigration Services to mail a Certificate of Citizenship but can obtain a US passport as a valid legal document. Expediting this process is important as a passport can be used as a basis for procuring a Social Security number as well as other identification documents.

Steps for Obtaining a Passport for Your Adopted Child

While the process is fairly straightforward, you do have to follow specific steps and guidelines to successfully obtain your child’s passport. Without the necessary documentation and requirements, your child will not be able to receive a passport until all of the requirements are satisfied. Follow these steps to successfully obtain a passport for your adopted child.

1. Determine US Citizenship Eligibility – The first consideration you need to make regards your child’s US citizenship. If the adoption has been finalized upon your child entering the country, the child was under the age of 18 as of February 27, 2001, and he or she is in the custody of at least one US citizen parent, he or she becomes a naturalized US citizen immediately upon entering the United States. These guidelines are set forth by the Joint Council on International Children’s Services.

2. Obtain a Copy of the Child’s Adoption Decree – The adoption decree is synonymous for an adoption certificate. This document is the official document that declares the adoption finalized. If it is in a foreign language, you will need to secure a copy of the original as well as an accompanying certified English translation, as outlined by the US Department of State. If you or the child’s other parent did not see him or her prior to the adoption abroad, the US does not consider the adoption final and requires that the child be re-adopted in the United States before a passport can be issued.

3. Secure Documentation of the Child’s Permanent Residency – To prove that your child is a lawful and permanent resident of the United States, you will need to provide necessary documentation. To do so, obtain the child’s passport with the I-551 stamp or a copy of the child’s permanent residence card.

4. Provide Evidence of at Least One Parent’s Identity and Citizenship – To become a lawful citizen and obtain a passport, your child needs proof that at least one of his or her parent’s is in fact a United States Citizen as well. To do so, you must provide the appropriate documentary proof that at least one of the child’s parents is a US citizen. To do so, you can provide an original of a valid United States passport or other accompanying documentation, such as a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county, or state of birth.

5. Visit the Passport Acceptance Facility and Present Your Documentation and Application – After you have collected all of the appropriate and necessary documentation, you must visit the passport acceptance facility in person. You’ll want to select the facility that is nearest your United States residence and consider making an appointment beforehand as many facilities do not accept walk-in clients. Prepare your file of documentation including each of the aforementioned documents. Submit the documentation to the appropriate officer and complete any additional action steps. It is important to note that your adopted child must appear in person at the passport acceptance facility if he or she is younger than 14 years of age, a requirement established by the Joint Council on International Children’s Services.

Once you have completed all of these steps and provided the necessary documentation to the facility, your child’s passport will be finalized and mailed to you. Following receipt of the passport, you and your child are free to travel and to utilize his or her passport as an identifying document.