Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It Takes Two to Make a US Citizen: A New China Regulation

Update: *This 7/31 memo was voided by the US Consulate on 8/1 p.m. One parent has the option to depart from China after seeing their child and finalizing their adoption, and still have their child receive an IR-3 Visa as long as one parent is present for the Visa process.

Couples adopting from China may now want to consider having both parents stay in China for the entire adoption trip. According to a new United States Consulate directive, both parents must attend the Consulate appointment in order for their new child to automatically become a US citizen.

In a memo addressed to adoption agencies today, the US Consulate announced the Adopted Child Immigrant Visa Unit will no longer issue IR-3 visas for children whose parents do not participate in the final oath-taking ceremony in Guangzhou. With an IR-3 Visa, the adopted child becomes a U.S. citizen the moment they touchdown on US soil.

“We have had families with one parent returning to the US after seeing the child and finalizing the adoption in China, but did not go on to Guangzhou for the US Visa portion of the trip due to commitments at home,” says Ann Tollefson, China Program Director for Children’s Hope. “In the past, these families were still allowed to obtain the IR-3 US Visa.”

With the new regulations, if one parent forgoes travel or returns to the States prior to the Visa issuance, their adopted child will come home on an IR4 Visa, which requires re-adoption and application for US citizenship. These extra steps will create additional paperwork and fees paid by the family.

“This is important information to consider when families decide if both parents will travel for the entire adoption trip within China,” says Tollefson.


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