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Internationally adopted kids applying to college

bjkmombjkmom 7941 replies158 threads Senior Member
edited February 2016 in Parents Forum
My 17 year old son was adopted as an infant from Korea. He was born in 1998 and arrived in the US in 1999.

In early 2000, a law was passed that made it unnecessary for infant adoptees to go to court to attain citizenship. Since that time, all that's necessary is adoption. (Though, because the law was still being passed, we did in fact go to court.)

But the kids who were adopted as infants are just now getting accepted to college.

OK, here's my point: Two of my son's schools have called, requesting proof of citizenship before they can review his FAFSA. I asked what documents they needed, and it was both his revised birth certificate and his adoption certificate. I just emailed a photo of the documents to the schools, and will probably forward the document to the other schools that have accepted him.

Anyone else in the same boat may want to be proactive and send the documentation.
edited February 2016
227 replies
Post edited by sybbie719 on
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Replies to: Internationally adopted kids applying to college

  • kidzncatzkidzncatz 986 replies7 threads Member
    I think this varies by school. My S15, adopted from Vietnam, decided to attend community college and received both Pell and state grants for this year with no documentation other than SSN requested. I'll keep this in mind for my other 3 internationally-adopted teens. Thanks for the alert.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23277 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I was not asked for any documents. Not one. D's SSN was correctly changed to 'citizen' status years ago, she has a C of C and a passport, but no one asked for them. There was no problem with the FAFSA filing online and it was processed just as her sister's was (born in the US). If the school asked for a birth certificate as part of the application (I don't remember but I don't think so), D's says 'certificate of foreign birth and NOT proof of citizenship' right on the document. My sending it to a school would prove nothing. Well, it would prove she was born I guess.

    A school cannot look at your adoption documents and a birth certificate and determine that your child is now a citizen and eligible for federal benefits under the Child Citizenship Act. Did the child enter on a IR-3 visa? An IR-4? Does the FA office have any idea of the difference? Only Homeland Security and the state department (through a passport agency) can do that. Even the SSA cannot determine citizenship and SSA will not change status to 'citizen' without one of those two agencies giving proof, through a passport or Certificate of Citizenship, that the person is now a citizen. Yes, I'm sure there are SSA clerks who have done it, but it is not allowed by law, and I know 100 people who stood at the SSA office with a copy of the documents and a copy of the Act and the status was not changed, even after a lot of shouting and tears. Period. The school can look at the [BOLD]original[/BOLD] C of C or passport to affirm citizenship if the SSN is not showing the correct status through the FAFSA ID, but looking at the adoption papers and birth certificate (or copies) will not comply with federal financial aid regulations.

    It is not correct that all internationally adopted children automatically become citizens when they arrive in the US or when they are adopted. It depends on what type of visa they entered the US under, and whether the adoption was finalized in the birth country or needs state action in the US. That's why only Homeland security or State Dept can interpret documents to prove citizenship.
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 threads Senior Member
    Nothing to add, but mods, I wonder if this should be a stickied thread? Seems like it's chock full of helpful advice for parents in this situation.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13147 replies35 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    "Anyone else in the same boat may want to be proactive and send the documentation."

    My S was adopted from Korea in 1993 and graduated last May from college. I was asked all four years to provide docs that he was a US citizen. Each spring I sent a copy of his passport. That was all they required.


    "It is not correct that all internationally adopted children automatically become citizens when they arrive in the US or when they are adopted. It depends on what type of visa they entered the US under, and whether the adoption was finalized in the birth country or needs state action in the US. That's why only Homeland security or State Dept can interpret documents to prove citizenship."

    I don't believe that is correct. Here is the law.

    Here is the law: http://www.visaus.com/delahunt.html

    To get his passport I has to send his birth certificate and his adoption papers along with his passport application. It was the same time when there was a rush on passports because of the requirement to have on if traveling to Mexico. It became a huge boondoggle and his application, along with the original docs were in a lock box somewhere in New Hampshire (iirc.) I had to get both my Congressperson's office and my Senators office to intervene as he needed his passport to go on a trip to Canada from summer camp and he wasn't driving age and his birth certificate had Korea on it as place of birth so was not proof. Thankfully when he had to get a new passport after turning 18 we didn't need to do anything.
    edited February 2016
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3899 replies291 threads Senior Member
    My daughter (born in China in 1996, adopted in 1998) was asked for proof of citizenship. I emailed a scan of her U.S. passport.
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  • hs2015momhs2015mom 622 replies54 threads Member
    My daughter, born 1997 in China and adopted 1998, applied to a number of schools last year and none asked for proof of citizenship or any additional documentation.
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  • MidwestDad3MidwestDad3 2172 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Had several back and forths with the college on what they needed. Finally they required that she bring her own passport to the fin aid office in person (no photocopies).
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23277 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Was there a problem with the SSN status?^^ This is required if there is a problem with the citizenship status.
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  • OspreyCV22OspreyCV22 1666 replies20 threads Senior Member
    I have two adopted from overseas. I've belonged to various adoption forums so I knew to readopt in my state right away. Used the same Home Study. They have VA birth certificates. The certificates are identical to my other U.S. born child's but say "Certificate of Foreign Birth." I also applied for and received C of C's back when they were young and the fee was a lot less than now.

    After getting the C of C I remember having to go to the SS office to change their status with Social Security. The number didn't change. If status was not changed their SS# would be kicked back as ineligible to work when they become employed. I was advised to take a copy of the 2000 law that confers automatic citizenship and had to speak to a supervisor to get the status change. The clerk had no idea what I was talking about.

    I believe @twoinanddone is correct about the type of visa the child enters on. Somewhere I dimly remember that children from some countries enter on a different visa that does not confer automatic citizenship.

    I've been told that a U.S. Passport will work as proof of citizenship. To get it you have to take the foreign adoption decree and a certified translation and their birth certificate to the passport office at the post office. The worker there can verify their citizenship and the paperwork won't have to be mailed away.

    My philosophy has been to have two ways to prove they are citizens. They can easily send away for copies of their birth certificates and they have the C of C. I've been meaning to get passports. I also got them state i.d. cards issued by our DMV. Those were only $10.

    My younger son had to submit a security questionnaire for the Secret Service a couple of years ago. He was visiting the White House. He had to prove citizenship and I guess he passed.

    I can't believe we waded through all that paperwork. I'm sure it got worse after 9-11. Even the FAFSA does not compare.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13147 replies35 threads Senior Member
    @0spreyCV22,

    I wonder if it's different if you only do adoption in the US (we didn't do a foreign adoption.) I didn't need to do anything special in regards to SS # and he has never had any problem when getting hired.

    I wonder if they changed the requirement of having to send original docs to get a passport. S got his in 2007, iirc.

    "I believe @twoinanddone is correct about the type of visa the child enters on. Somewhere I dimly remember that children from some countries enter on a different visa that does not confer automatic citizenship."

    I don't see anything in the law which says children entering from certain countries or on a certain type of visa don't get automatic citizenship. Does anyone have a link to that information?
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3899 replies291 threads Senior Member
    If the child was seen by the parents (both parents if it's a married couple) before the adoption takes place in the foreign country, then it is necessary to readopt. In some countries the adoption takes place before the parent sees the child. In some countries (like Korea), the child comes here still a citizen of that country and the adoption takes place here. If only one parent of a married couple travels to the country where the adoption takes place, the adoption is not official here when the child enters the country. In that case the adoption is not official until the state of residence recognizes it, which often requires readoption. And the child is not a citizen until that takes place.

    When I adopted in 1996, it was necessary for the parent(s) to apply for a certificate of citizenship for the child to become a citizen. After the Child Citizenship Act, citizenship became automatic when the conditions in paragraph 1 (lol) took affect but the parent(s) still had to apply for the certificate. Now the certificate is sent automatically a few weeks after the family enters the U.S.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13147 replies35 threads Senior Member
    ^ But it sounds to me that Osprey and twoinanddone are suggesting that some foreign adoptees are not conferred automatic citizenship under the law and still need to be naturalized.

    We have no C of C because we were lazy and then the law was passed and S met the requirements of auto citizenship. He is obviously a citizen because the goverment granted him a passport without a C of C when he applied.
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  • Chinamom2Chinamom2 46 replies0 threads Junior Member
    We have 2 daughters adopted from China (1996 & 1998) and have not been asked for any additional documentatio.
    One is now a junior in college, studied abroad, the youngest has applied to numerous colleges this year.
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3899 replies291 threads Senior Member
    emilybee, the parents of some children who were not citizens when they entered the country because they weren't seen by a single parent or both parent before the adoption took place in the foreign country need to readopt or gain recognition of the adoption by their state before they are automatic citizens. As soon as that recognition/readoption takes place, they are automatically citizens. In the case of Korean adoptees, they automatically become citizens once the adoption is completed here in the U.S. Having the certificate or not having the certificate does not make them citizens but as soon as they are eligibble for passports, they are citizens.
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3899 replies291 threads Senior Member
    I get irritated when they require extra documents for my daughter. I know she can't be President of the US, but in all other ways she should be treated just like every other American kid. If another applicant doesn't have to provide proof of citizenship, why should she? Her SSA status is 'citizen'. FAFSA doesn't, and shouldn't, require more than that if all other students are getting their FSA ID with nothing more than their SSNs.

    I agree 100 percent. But after all the hassle of college admission and financial aid, added to the fact that my father died the day after accepted-students day for my daughter, I just didn't have it in me to argue!

    Because my daughter was born in China and despite the fact that she hadn't set foot there since our adoption trip at 23 months of age, the student health office at my daughter's university required proof that she didn't have active TB. Again, it was much less stressful to comply than to give them a fight about it.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13147 replies35 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    "the parents of some children who were not citizens when they entered the country because they weren't seen by a single parent or both parent before the adoption took place in the foreign country need to readopt or gain recognition of the adoption by their state before they are automatic citizens. As soon as that recognition/readoption takes place, they are automatically citizens. In the case of Korean adoptees, they automatically become citizens once the adoption is completed here in the U.S. Having the certificate or not having the certificate does not make them citizens but as soon as they are eligibble for passports, they are citizens."

    I k is that. It is clearly spelled out in the law. Once they are adopted theyare automatic citizens. Osprey and twoinanddone seem to me to be talking about a class of other adoptees then those.

    This is what twoinanddone said: "
    It is not correct that all internationally adopted children automatically become citizens when they arrive in the US or when they are adopted. It depends on what type of visa they entered the US under, and whether the adoption was finalized in the birth country or needs state action in the US."

    All international adoptees, IMO, are automatically citizens when adopted per the law.
    edited February 2016
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3899 replies291 threads Senior Member
    If the child was not seen by both parents or the single parent before the adoption took place in the foreign country, when they enter the U.S., they get a different kind of visa stamped in their foreign passport. They automatically become citizens once the adoption is finalized in the state of residence.
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  • emilybeeemilybee 13147 replies35 threads Senior Member
    i don't think that is the situation they are referring to, but maybe I'm reading what they said wrong. I am just asking them to clarify what Twoinanddone meant by, "or when they are adopted." She didn't mention because adoption having taken place overseas.
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