Integrity Legal

25th December 2010

This author recently came across an interesting piece of information on the official website of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Apparently, the United States legislature has enacted legislation that would simplify the adoption process for Americans adopting a child, or children, outside of the United States of America. To quote directly from a recent AILA posting:

On 11/30/10, President Obama signed into law the International Adoption Simplification Act (P.L. 111-287).

The law amends the INA to include in the definition of “child,” and thus in the exemption from required admissions vaccination documentation, certain children who have been adopted in a foreign country that is a signatory to the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) or who are emigrating from such a country for U.S. adoption.

It includes in such definition and exemption a child who is under the age of 18 at the time an immediate relative status petition is filed on his or her behalf, has been adopted abroad or is coming for U.S. adoption, and is the natural sibling of: (1) an adopted child from a Hague Convention signatory country; (2) a child adopted under the age of 16 who has lived with the adoptive parents for at least two years, or a child who has been abused; or (3) an orphan who was under the age of 16 at the time an immediate relative status petition was filed on his or her behalf.

The bill was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on 7/21/10, and passed by the House of Representatives by a voice vote on 11/15/10.

It should be noted that not all countries are signatories to the Hague Convention noted above. However, for the USA, which has joined the Hague Convention, the simplification of the adoption process could result in families being reunited in the USA much more quickly compared to the process in the recent past.

In many ways, the foreign adoption process is somewhat similar to the process of obtaining American immigration benefits for a child purusuant to the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The CCA’s provisions can grant United States Citizenship by operation of law to the natural born child or children of an American Citizen. That said, the process for obtaining such benefits is often very much the same as the process utilized by those Americans wishing to bring a step-child of foreign nationality to the USA. The major difference between these two processes occurs at the United States Port of Entry where children of American Citizens born abroad become US Citizens by operation of law upon admission to the USA on an Immigrant visa in the company of the American parent.

Fore related information please see: Child Citizenship Act.


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