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Is your child a legal US citizen?

We’ve seen increase in requests from families of driving and college-aged children.

It's important to be sure that your child has all the legal protections of citizenship. Here are a few suggestions for ensuring your child’s documents are in order.

If you adopted your child prior to February 27, 2001 your child was not eligible for the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 and therefore might not have a U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (COC). In some cases you might be able to apply for and receive the COC from the USCIS.

Any person living in the U.S. over the age of 18 and who is not a full legal U.S. citizen, may be deported to their country of birth in the event of a criminal conviction. There are cases of adoptees being deported.

If you adopted while living in Hawai’i and did not complete the Procedure to Establish Foreign Adoption in the local courts, you may wish to do this now. This process results in a local adoption decree and a Hawaii Certificate of Foreign Birth. By obtaining these documents for your child, you give your child the ability to request additional copies which may be needed for school, driver’s license, or other important events in the future. Families can protect the unique and irreplaceable foreign adoption documents in a safety box, and use the Hawai’i-issued documents anytime an official document is required in the future.

Many of our HIC/AFT families are beginning their Procedure to Establish Foreign Adoption (aka “readoption”) processes years after their children were adopted. There’s no shame in this, and better late than never!

The readoption process can be completed pro se (on your own); using an attorney, or by us at A Family Tree.

Please consider conducting this quick check of your child’s documents to ensure your child will be safe and able to do whatever they wish, without legal or citizenship concerns:

- Social Security Card (SS) – with the proper name and proper spelling of name - U.S. Passport (not expired) - U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (COC) - Adoption Decree issued by your state of residence - Certificate of Foreign Birth issued by vital records in your state of residence

If your child does not have a Certificate of Citizenship (COC), please go to the USCIS website and follow these instructions.

If your child needs a U.S. passport, please go to this website.

If your child needs to update their social security card, please go to this website:

If you would like help with any of these issues, please feel free to contact us at A Family Tree.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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