Q: My neighbor is an 18 year old female who was adopted from Russia when she was about two years old. She lives in Avon OH
She wanted to apply for a passport to travel to Canada in June but learned she needed to submit various documentation for this. She found the necessary paper at home and learned that her Permanent Residency Card had expired in 2012. She mailed this in and now is waiting for a response. Should she follow up and submit an application for renewal of her Permanent Residency Card now or wait until she receives a response about her paperwork? Does she need to retain a lawyer to get everything resolved?
A: She will need to retain a lawyer to properly determine the best options for her. She may or not be a U.S. citizen and there are many factors to consider when determining which process she should take.
She should really sit down with an attorney and discuss this.
An adopted child for U.S. immigration purposes is one who satisfies is all of the following:
legally adopted under the age of 16 years
in the legal custody of the adoptive parents for at least two years; and
has resided in the physical custody of the adoptive parents for at least two years.
It is important to understand that parents do not have legal custody until they assume responsibility under the laws of the state and under the approval of a court of law or other government entity. This is true even if the child was residing with you before legal custody was granted.
A child who is an adopted child becomes a U.S. citizen when the following criteria are met:
At least one parent is a U.S. citizen, either by birth or naturalization.
The child is under 18 years of age; and
The child is lawfully admitted to the United States as a permanent resident and is in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.
Once the child has met all of the requirements for automatic acquisition of citizenship, he or she is a U.S. citizen but it's a good idea to apply for a certificate as evidence of this.
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