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Internationally adopted kids applying to college

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Replies to: Internationally adopted kids applying to college

  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3898 replies291 threads Senior Member
    No one needs a visa for their kid unless the kid was adopted internationally.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23270 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I should have said that some adoptions require additional steps in the US, which may have to be done in a state court, before the Child Citizenship Act kicks in and citizenship is conferred. It is not automatic upon entering the US for everyone.

    Some children enter the US and once they clear US immigration, they are citizens. Poof, magic. The USCIS will send a certificate of citizenship for proof or the parents can apply for a passport using all the required (originals, no copies of documents have ever been accepted for passports, even for US born applicants) documents and the child's passport with the "A" (alien registration) in it because the passport agency can crosscheck the citizenship with that number and can confer proof of citizenship by issuing a passport.

    But if additional steps are needed, to complete the adoption in state court, the child becomes a citizen if and when those steps are taken. Problem is the state court cannot confer citizenship so now you have to take more steps to get proof your child is now a citizen. No magic. You can apply to USCIS to get a C of C, or you can apply to get a passport. Either agency can take those state documents and all the foreign ones and determine you have completed all steps and the child is a citizen under the Act. No other federal or state agency can make the determination, including the SSA and including your college. If you have applied for a SSN before completing the steps while the child was not a citizen, the original status will be 'Alien with right to Work' (charming, right?)

    Once you have that proof of citizenship, you can take it to the SSA and they will issues a SSN as a citizen or change the status if you already have one.

    Like @oldmom4896 , I usually just give the agency, doctor, airline, DMV the passport because I don't like arguing with clerks. We use passports when other documents would be acceptable (like on a cruise you can use the passport or birth certificate) because it is easier to have one document. However, at schools I stand my ground. Regulations do require the FA officer to confirm legal status IF there is a problem or question and see an original document showing status, like a passport, CofC, green card. Those requesting just copies either really don't have a citizenship confirmation problem or they are not following the regulations and physically viewing an original. If they say they can start processing the FAFSA with a copy but then must see an original before anything is disbursed, then I guess I'd send the copy, but only if there was a problem or question of status, not just because 'they always do it that way' or 'we require this of all foreign born students.' No, that I'll argue as an out of date policy and not required by FAFSA.

    Do you think children born overseas to military members or ex pats are always asked these questions? Their birth certificates show they were born in a foreign country but no one questions their citizenship.

    If everyone has to show proof of citizenship (like at the DMV), I do it. And I understand why others just provide the requested documents because it is easier and there have been times I've done it too. I have two children the same age it is obvious when they and their information are treated differently. I've had state and school officials tell me that a passport isn't proof of identity or citizenship, and I usually just stare at the person until he says something like "I guess I can try using this." Are there clerks at SSN who will interpret the Child Citizenship Act and take your state court papers and decide the child is a citizens? Of course there are, they just don't have the authority to do it. If you found one, good for you (and double check that the status was changed because maybe the clerk didn't have the power to make the change at all). If you've gotten a passport issued based on copies of a C of C, you were lucky as that is not allowed, you must submit an original and they will mail it away and you will worry and fret until you get it back.

    I don't give SSNs to the dentist or the hockey team or even the high school that claimed it needed it for college applications; it turns out they didn't as my kids are in college and I never provided the SSNs. I always ask why the information is needed, and even then I still may not provide it. It is really more to do with financial fraud than adoption, but I just don't like all that information 'out there' if there is no requirement for it to be provided.
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  • BarbalotBarbalot 681 replies18 threads Member
    No issues for college for my daughter, who was adopted from China in 1998.

    But I did have to prove she was a citizen and entered the country when she did so she was not forced to take hours of ESL tests just to go to kindergarten orientation. I had to rush order her a passport to meet the documentation requirements. Still makes me mad.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13147 replies35 threads Senior Member
    "I should have said that some adoptions require additional steps in the US, which may have to be done in a state court, before the Child Citizenship Act kicks in and citizenship is conferred. It is not automatic upon entering the US for everyone."

    Ok. I assumed you were saying that some international adoptees still had to go through the naturalization process.

    I don't believe you have to take any additional steps to get citizenship - your child is, in fact, a citizen after adoption.
    One has to show some form regardless if you are born in the US or not to get a passport or SS#. International adoptees just have to show different proof than a person born here.


    "But I did have to prove she was a citizen and entered the country when she did so she was not forced to take hours of ESL tests just to go to kindergarten orientation. I had to rush order her a passport to meet the documentation requirements. Still makes me mad."

    That seems very bizarre. Where was this and when?

    I didn't have to show any proof of citizenship to enroll my S in kindergarten in 1998. All I showed them was his birth certificate.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23270 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Check the wrong box and it's difficult to get out of the ESL track, especially if you are in a district with a lot of non-English speakers as we were. The question asked if my daughter's original language was English, I checked no and they kept testing her. In middle school. She always scored very high in English language acquisition because that's all she'd heard or been speaking for 10+ years, and the school liked it because it made them look good. When we moved, I check the 'yes' box for English as first language and that ended the testing. If I showed the foreign birth certificate at school registration, I could again end up having to prove the kid speaks English. I just stopped showing them the certificate of foreign birth.

    There can be internationally adopted children who are not citizens under the Act. If the parents don't complete the steps required, they will not become citizens. I know some (older now) who never did. I know some who didn't have legal adoptions from the birth country and can't complete the process. Yes, they would have to go through the naturalization process if they can't get qualified in time under the Child Citizenship Act. I helped a guy with his step daughter's process. She was adopted by his wife, maybe by him, no one was really sure, country without a lot of good documentation and adoptions sort of 'friendly', he was a US citizen, wife was not. I finally asked him if the daughter had an "A" visa stamp in her passport, she did, and they issued her a US passport based on that. Could we have successfully argued that she deserved citizenship if they hadn't issued the passport? Probably not, but he got lucky He'd also asked at immigration and they agreed with me he should just try to get the passport as his 600I application had expired and everything was all mixed up and they weren't going to process a certificate of citizenship based on what he had by way of adoption documents. Not all countries have straight forward processes.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7941 replies158 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    Obviously, we all have had a variety of experiences here.

    But I think it's good to have a thread at least opening up the discussion, so future adoptive parents will have some idea of what's going on.

    Perhaps my experiences differed from some of yours because of the way Korea does adoption. We never travelled; I met my son for the first time at JFK. We never adopted him in Korea. As a result, both my husband and I had to formally adopt him in the US. As I mentioned, the change in law was just happening at that point in time.

    I do have a question, I guess it's in particular for parents of Korean kids, but I'll take anyone's input: So many of you mention passports. The odds are good that we're not leaving the US anytime soon. (Not a political statement, more of a financial one.) All our family is in the US. We haven't left the US since we became parents. None of our kids have passports and both of ours have expired.

    Is there any overriding reason why my son (the only one of my 3 who was adopted) should get a passport before his 18th birthday in June? Or after, for that matter, if he's not planning any international travel?
    edited February 2016
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  • K8sMom2002K8sMom2002 9 replies2 threads New Member
    Oh, yes, in this day and age of immigration issues, a passport is ABSOLUTE proof that you are an American citizen. In fact, it was the ONLY way we could get our daughter's SSN status changed. We adopted her from China when she was 8.5 months old.

    We live in Georgia, and we have to show proof of citizenship when we get/renew our driver's license. I've got to start the process of getting my DD's passport renewed so that she can apply for her learner's. They will NOT accept a certificate of foreign birth in Georgia for ANYTHING.
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3898 replies291 threads Senior Member
    I think a passport is a good idea for anyone 16 or over, especially if that person was born elsewhere and especially if that person is not white (alas). Several states' drivers' licenses are no longer accepted for travel in the Western Hemisphere.
    https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs

    At age 16, adult passports are issued and they are good for 10 years and renewable by mail.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13147 replies35 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    Yep, get the passport.

    My S also got the enhanced NYS drivers license which was good to use to get into Canada but it wont be acceptable ID even for air travel in the states and NYS hasnt complied with the new law yet ( they got an approved extension for now.) He lives in Massachusetts now but I'm not sure if their DL's are compliant yet either.
    edited February 2016
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  • wis75wis75 14112 replies64 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    Boy, you guys had it so much worse than we did with our son born in the US of a born/raised US mother and an immigrant US citizen father whose English was better than 90% of the US born population. Because H's home Indian language was not English it triggered a form when he entered kindergarten (early and already reading). I guess it was better that the school identified students early on for help with language. The hoops we jump through... Although 99% of the people are honest there are enough scams that require proof.
    edited February 2016
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13147 replies35 threads Senior Member
    I am curious if those who didn't have to show proof of citizenship to the college or university didn't apply for FA? I know that it was the FA office at my son's college that needed the proof. I think if we hadn't applied for it we wouldn't have been asked.
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  • hs2015momhs2015mom 622 replies54 threads Member
    My D applied for financial aid and was not asked for proof of citizenship or any additional documentation.
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  • kidzncatzkidzncatz 983 replies7 threads Member
    As I mentioned in my previous post, my son received both Pell and PA state grants through the community college's financial aid office with no additional documentation required. Some schools may require additional documentation for awarding institutional aid, and some states may have more more stringent documentation requirements than PA for state grants.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23270 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I was thinking about this more and I guess a school could require proof of citizenship (from all students) if granting instate tuition requires citizenship or legal status, or if granting its own aid does. Federal aid does require proof, but that can be done with the FSA ID, and cannot be done with adoption papers.

    I did get a passport for my daughter just before the law changed requiring 'all' parents to appear at the post office to get the passport. I think it was 2001 or 2002. Anyway, it was the easiest process and always has been to get new passports (children's don't renew, you get a new one every time). We never traveled on that one, but I used it for ID for all kinds of things that required a birth certificate because it was easier than showing and explaining the foreign birth certificate. For $100, that's only $20 year for convenience. We have since used the passports for foreign travel, and it is so much easier even when another document could be used, for cruise ships, border crossings. Shes traveled with my brother to Mexico and no questions were asked, with friends to St. Maartins and no problems. As someone else said, it was useful to get the drivers license which would have required the certified birth certificate (also required of her US born sister and me) and CofC. Passport is just easier. I really don't think I've shown anyone the CofC since she got the passport (s). If your son gets a passport before age 18, you'll have to sign for it, but after he's 18, he can go alone to the agency.

    Although Chinese and not Korean, my daughter did have to be 're-adopted' in my state and did become a citizen under the Child Citizenship Act on February 27, 2001 ( but she has a certificate of citizenship).
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  • DolcegirlDolcegirl 8 replies7 threads New Member
    My daughter adopted from China (born 1997;adopted 2003) had no problems. We did not readopt in the US, as some do. We did get her a US passport though and have kept it current. That would serve as her proof of citizenship if challenged.
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  • begoodbegood 17 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Our daughter (adopted from China in 2002) is in 8th grade, but the college admissions morass seems so daunting I figure there's no such thing as starting too early to learn about it!

    We got her US passport when she was 8 months old, and then we used it to get her SSN. Would that mean she is a US citizen to the SSA? I guess I'm trying to figure out how to confirm that her SSN has her listed as a citizen. Anybody know how to do that?

    We never let her passport lapse, and I've told her she must always keep her passport current as she goes through life. We do not have a C of C.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23270 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Her SS status should be right if you presented a passport to get the SSN, but with the SSA you never know. You can go in and check the status, or you could try to send an email and see if anyone answers. It needs to say 'citizen' not 'right to work'.

    Don't panic if her passport does expire. My daughter's had two that were issued with the old, expired passport as proof of citizenship. We used the C of C only to get the first one and have never presented it (to anyone) again. Some places will not accept an expired passport (like the DMV) but surprisingly, the passport office will and my employer, the United States of America, accepted my expired passport as my second form of ID when I started.
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  • begoodbegood 17 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thank you for that reassurance, twoinanddone! We've kept all her old, expired passports too - I figure once a citizen, always a citizen. :)
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  • kidsandlizkidsandliz 5 replies0 threads New Member
    My child was originally required to show her Certificate of Citizenship. I had changed her SS number to citizen. I wanted to show her passport because we keep her C of C in a safety deposit box and the passport was handy. I argued that you have to send your C of C to get the passport. They argued that a passport doesn't show citizenship. I gave them a copy of the law. Round and round. I finally capitulated and sent a notarized copy of her C of C. That wasn't acceptable to them. I finally went over their head and notarized copy was accepted.

    Incidentally we are still fighting with the driver's license people over getting her a learner's permit since they won't accept her birth certificate from her original country - they said they need a USA one to prove citizenship and I didn't readopt here because it was not required in this case and it costs around $4000 here to do so. I showed them the child citizenship act law. Showed them the C of C. Showed them the passport (current, not expired). Nope none of those are good enough. Hoping to get her a learner's permit in whatever state she will end up in when she goes to college. This is absurd.

    Good luck to anyone who has to deal with this idiocy and the college is not nearby where you can walk in the door to show them whatever documents those fools want to see. Clearly common sense is not part of what goes on in some financial aid offices. A passport does not document date of birth and citizenship? Really? In what universe is that? Sigh.
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  • kidsandlizkidsandliz 5 replies0 threads New Member
    edited April 2016
    In response to an earlier post. If the child comes in with an IR-3 citizenshipt is automatic. If they come in with an IR-4 the adoptive parents need to adopt the child in the USA and then it is automatic. BUT the parent(s) then need to take the proof of citizenship to social security so that their social security card is in the system as citizen rather than under a green card designation. Failure to do that and their SS will be flagged as not citizen.
    edited April 2016
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