HR 2883 amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to grant automatic citizenship to children born abroad who are (1) under 18 years of age; (2) admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident; and (3) in the legal and physical custody of at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen. The bill eliminates the current requirement that the parents of such children submit an application to have their children naturalized. It applies equally to all children of U.S. citizen parents who are lawfully admitted for permanent residence, regardless of whether or not they were adopted*.
When did the bill go into effect?
The Act was signed into law on October 30, 2000. It took effect 120 days later, on February 27, 2001.
How will the bill affect adopted children?
Under the bill, children adopted from abroad by U.S. citizens receive the same treatment as children born abroad to U.S. citizens. A child whose adoption is completed abroad becomes a citizen immediately upon entry into the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. In cases where the child is coming to the U.S. for purposes of adoption (but has not yet been adopted), that child becomes a citizen (having entered the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident) the moment the adoption becomes final.
Will the bill apply to children adopted before it went into effect?
Yes. The bill will confer automatic citizenship on any child who meets the three conditions set forth above as of the effective date, regardless of the date of the child's adoption or entry into the U.S.
Does automatic really mean automatic, or will parents still be required to take steps to ensure that their children are granted citizenship?
Once the conditions have been met, citizenship will be conferred by operation of law, without any further action required on the part of the family or the government. However, parents may still wish to obtain a document showing proof of citizenship for the child, such as a passport or certificate of citizenship, and we anticipate that the INS will issue guidance as to how this may be done.
What should parents do if they have already applied for citizenship for the child?
Nothing. If the bill goes into effect while the application is pending, the child will become a citizen as of that date and will no longer need to be naturalized.