Obtaining a
US Passport


Readopting
Your Child


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of Citizenship


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Obtaining a U.S. Passport for an Adopted Child

New Update: February 2004 - The U.S. Department of State has instituted a new requirement that all minors (under the age of 14) applying for U.S. passports must personally appear at the passport office. Click here for the complete message.

A United States passport is proof of American citizenship. Aside from being necessary for travel outside the country, it can document citizenship for many purposes.

Families of adopted children who have become citizens automatically under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 do not have to wait until they receive certificates of citizenship from the INS in order to obtain passports for their children. In fact, Joint Council recommends that such families obtain passports for their children as soon as possible and use the passport until they receive certificates, for such purposes as changing the children's status with Social Security.

To obtain a passport for an adopted child who does not have proof of citizenship:

1. Verify that your child qualifies for automatic citizenship.
A U.S. passport will not be given unless the child is a citizen. Remember that, to qualify, a child must:
  1. Have been under age 18 on February 27, 2001.
  2. Be in the custody of at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen.
  3. Have had a full and final adoption. According to the INS regulations, if the child was seen by all relevant parents prior to an overseas adoption and traveled home on an IR-3 visa, the foreign adoption is considered final. Readoption, though desirable, is not mandatory, and automatic citizenship applies as soon as the child enters the U.S. If, however, a child was not seen by all relevant parents prior to an overseas adoption, or was brought to the U.S. for adoption here, and traveled on an IR-4 visa, the child must be adopted/readopted in the U.S. before automatic citizenship applies.
  4. Have entered the U.S. lawfully, on a permanent resident visa.
2. Collect all of the following documents:
  1. The child's green card or the child's foreign passport with the visa stamp.
  2. The child's adoption decree (foreign or domestic). Remember that, if the child's American name is not on the child's foreign paperwork and if you have not gone through a readoption and/or legal change of name in the U.S., the passport will be issued in the foreign name.
  3. Proof of a parent's identity.
  4. Proof of a parent's U.S. citizenship.
3. Determine where your closest application site is, by going to the website of the U.S. Passport Office. You will have to appear in person at a site in order to obtain the passport for your child.
  1. If there is a U.S. Passport Agency in your area, this is the best option. However, remember that many Passport Agency sites will NOT accept walk-ins unless a person has proof that he/she will be traveling outside the U.S. in the next 14 days. Check the listing on the website before you go to be sure that your in-person application will be accepted.
  2. There are many satellite office locations, such as libraries, courthouses, and post offices, which can receive passport applications. However, if you apply at such a location, you WILL need to hand over your child's documents for sending to the U.S. Passport Agency; they will be returned. While use of an overnight delivery service does not guarantee safe arrival of documents, some parents prefer to request this higher-cost option, in the belief that the distinctive envelope is more visible and easily tracked.
  3. You may wish to call the site first to ensure that personnel are familiar with the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 and automatic citizenship. If they are not, and this may be the case in an occasional satellite location, you could experience unnecessary difficulties.
  4. If you experience difficulties, and speaking with a supervisor does not resolve the problem, try another passport site or consult your Joint Council member adoption agency. Your agency, with the assistance of Joint Council, may be able to contact a regional Passport Agency official who can help.

Important Notice
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Passport Services

New U.S. Passport Requirement
All Minors Must Appear in Person

To enhance the accurate identification of passport applicants and aid in the prevention of international child abduction and trafficking, the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has begun requiring the personal appearance of all minors applying for U.S. passports.

This applies to all regular, official and diplomatic passports for children under the age of 14, even if the child has previously been issued a passport. Prior to the introduction of this requirement, parents were not routinely required to bring a child under the age of 14 with them when they applied on the child’s behalf. Now, when applying for a passport on behalf of a minor under the age of 14, parents are required to have their child present and submit documentation of parental relationship and consent, as well as comply with all other documentation requirements for the issuance of a passport.

The personal appearance requirement for all minors is a further step towards ensuring the integrity of the passport application process. This change will help to verify the identity of minor applicants and aid in the prevention of international child abduction and trafficking.

For additional information about passport application requirements, please visit the Passport Information page at: http://travel.state.gov/passport/index.html or call the National Passport Information Center.

National Passport Information Center
Toll-free: 1-877-487-2778
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Time
npic@state.gov




All information on this page has been reprinted with permission from JCICS, of which the Alliance For Children is a member agency.


For additional information about passport application requirements, please visit the Passport Information page or call the National Passport Information Center.

National Passport Information Center
Toll-free: 1-877-487-2778
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., EST
npic@state.gov