DaveE

Step daughter adoption

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After all the DIY success I have had in the immigration process, I wanted to jump to the next level. My step daughter asked me to adopt her as she is the only one with a different last name. She just turned 16, and I was so honored that she asked me to go forward with it.

Every attorney in the local area wanted around $4000 for their expertise. I said why not try to do it ourselves, how much harder than immigration paperwork can it be. Well we studied the laws on step child adoption, researched the necessary forms and procedures, and went to work. We thought we were pretty thorough so we took our package to the county court house and filed. The filing fee was $205, and the clerk said she had never seen anyone try an adoption without an attorney. She also said that if the Judge rejected our forms that our filing fee would not be refunded.

We waited almost a month and nothing from the court, (I thought we had messed up big time). While in California on business two weeks ago, I got an email from my step daughter saying that we had gotten a letter from the court, and attached a scanned copy.

The letter basically had two provisions. First, on August 20th, my step daughter and wife have to meet the judge to discuss the adoption, (and to make sure it is what they want). Secondly, my step daughter must affirm (sign), in the presence of the court, a document that states that she wants to be adopted. This is a requirement in Georgia for any child over 14. My step daughter just turned 16.

Second paragraph of the letter says that all of us must be in court on September 6th to finalize the adoption. What is neat is that he waived the publication order, and the home study order, thus saving a bunch of time.

As soon as the adoption is final, she becomes a US citizen and can apply for her passport under the Child Citizenship Act.

Poor mom, she will have to remove conditions alone, and her daughter will beat her to Citizenship by over a year.

I am stoked.

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Must have been given bad advice from my attorney, since my stepdaughter was born and came from Venezuela, he said it had to be done there. Is there a biological parent involved with your adoption proceedings? That seemed to be the major hang up in our case.

Hope everything works out of you. Best I could do was to add my wife's name to my home deed myself, major obstacle was trying to find the form. Saved over $500.00 by doing that myself, and the register of deeds said it was perfect as she said these attorneys make many errors.

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Must have been given bad advice from my attorney, since my stepdaughter was born and came from Venezuela, he said it had to be done there. Is there a biological parent involved with your adoption proceedings? That seemed to be the major hang up in our case.

Hope everything works out of you. Best I could do was to add my wife's name to my home deed myself, major obstacle was trying to find the form. Saved over $500.00 by doing that myself, and the register of deeds said it was perfect as she said these attorneys make many errors.

My step daughter is my wifes biological child. She came here on a K2 Visa with my wife. All that is needed to adopt here, (Georgia), is legal permanent residence for the child. They do no have to go back to their home country.

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Dave... Sorry, but if you adopt a kid older 16, she cannot become a US citizen. It works only if child under 16, or between 16 and 18 when siblings adopted together. She should remove condition with her mother, and she will be able to apply for citizenship after 5 years from her first green card, Again, sorry... That is from my personal experience. My husband adopted my kids, oldest was 17 when we started, and I studied it. I knew he can become a citizen only if it will be made for all three kids in one day. Even if we had it so close and finished all cases at one day, we lost this possibility because our judge didn't like immigrants and signed the order after my son turn 18 (just three days!). We were mad, but couldn't change it. My daughters are citizens, I'm in process, and my son will apply after two years.

Still, your step-daughter can have some benefits being your daughter, but not for the immigration.

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Must have been given bad advice from my attorney, since my stepdaughter was born and came from Venezuela, he said it had to be done there. Is there a biological parent involved with your adoption proceedings? That seemed to be the major hang up in our case.

Hope everything works out of you. Best I could do was to add my wife's name to my home deed myself, major obstacle was trying to find the form. Saved over $500.00 by doing that myself, and the register of deeds said it was perfect as she said these attorneys make many errors.

NickD you were not given bad advice regarding your stepdaughter.

DaveE was able to adopt his stepdaughter in the US because the way the laws are in the Philippines. So the adoption would be recognized in the Philippines. I want to say it is because the way they give sole and complete custody to the mother and the father has no rights(unless he does something to get it?). So they don't need to remove the fathers rights or have him consent to it. Does that make sense? This is not something that many countries do, so very country specific.

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Dave... Sorry, but if you adopt a kid older 16, she cannot become a US citizen. It works only if child under 16, or between 16 and 18 when siblings adopted together. She should remove condition with her mother, and she will be able to apply for citizenship after 5 years from her first green card, Again, sorry... That is from my personal experience. My husband adopted my kids, oldest was 17 when we started, and I studied it. I knew he can become a citizen only if it will be made for all three kids in one day. Even if we had it so close and finished all cases at one day, we lost this possibility because our judge didn't like immigrants and signed the order after my son turn 18 (just three days!). We were mad, but couldn't change it. My daughters are citizens, I'm in process, and my son will apply after two years.

Still, your step-daughter can have some benefits being your daughter, but not for the immigration.

US State Department says the child must be under 18. Here: Child Citizenship Act

And Here: State Department

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Dave... Sorry, but if you adopt a kid older 16, she cannot become a US citizen. It works only if child under 16, or between 16 and 18 when siblings adopted together. She should remove condition with her mother, and she will be able to apply for citizenship after 5 years from her first green card, Again, sorry... That is from my personal experience. My husband adopted my kids, oldest was 17 when we started, and I studied it. I knew he can become a citizen only if it will be made for all three kids in one day. Even if we had it so close and finished all cases at one day, we lost this possibility because our judge didn't like immigrants and signed the order after my son turn 18 (just three days!). We were mad, but couldn't change it. My daughters are citizens, I'm in process, and my son will apply after two years.

Still, your step-daughter can have some benefits being your daughter, but not for the immigration.

You are confusing different immigration benefits.

To obtain an immigration visa or adjust status for an adopted child, the adoption must be before the child's 16th birthday.

This is not for an immigration visa or adjustment of status. This is US citizenship. Different laws means different rules.

Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, the requirements are that the child be under age 18, living with the adopting USC parent, and have a green card. The OP's adopted daughter will meet all these requirements.

Don't mix different requirements from different laws.

--------

From the US State Department; http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86759.pdf

See page 15. See the boxed information which states "Note: This should not be confused with the Child Citizenship Act of 2000" when discussing the age of 16 for expediting naturalization for an adopted child.

Edited by aaron2020

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After all the DIY success I have had in the immigration process, I wanted to jump to the next level. My step daughter asked me to adopt her as she is the only one with a different last name. She just turned 16, and I was so honored that she asked me to go forward with it.

Every attorney in the local area wanted around $4000 for their expertise. I said why not try to do it ourselves, how much harder than immigration paperwork can it be. Well we studied the laws on step child adoption, researched the necessary forms and procedures, and went to work. We thought we were pretty thorough so we took our package to the county court house and filed. The filing fee was $205, and the clerk said she had never seen anyone try an adoption without an attorney. She also said that if the Judge rejected our forms that our filing fee would not be refunded.

We waited almost a month and nothing from the court, (I thought we had messed up big time). While in California on business two weeks ago, I got an email from my step daughter saying that we had gotten a letter from the court, and attached a scanned copy.

The letter basically had two provisions. First, on August 20th, my step daughter and wife have to meet the judge to discuss the adoption, (and to make sure it is what they want). Secondly, my step daughter must affirm (sign), in the presence of the court, a document that states that she wants to be adopted. This is a requirement in Georgia for any child over 14. My step daughter just turned 16.

Second paragraph of the letter says that all of us must be in court on September 6th to finalize the adoption. What is neat is that he waived the publication order, and the home study order, thus saving a bunch of time.

As soon as the adoption is final, she becomes a US citizen and can apply for her passport under the Child Citizenship Act.

Poor mom, she will have to remove conditions alone, and her daughter will beat her to Citizenship by over a year.

I am stoked.

Dave, you are a good man for making a commitment to your daughter.

She will be able to derive US citizenship from you under the Child Citizenship Act. See my previous posts.

The adoption will terminate the child's legal relationship with her biological dad and his family. She will never ever be able to petition for any of them. Don't know if this is relevant or not to you. Just pointing it out since family relationships can be complex.

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Dave, you are a good man for making a commitment to your daughter.

She will be able to derive US citizenship from you under the Child Citizenship Act. See my previous posts.

The adoption will terminate the child's legal relationship with her biological dad and his family. She will never ever be able to petition for any of them. Don't know if this is relevant or not to you. Just pointing it out since family relationships can be complex.

Thanks, they are aware of that, and I am sure that is one of the things the judge will talk to them about.

Edited by DaveE

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Thanks, they are aware of that, and I am sure that is one of the things the judge will talk to them about.

Maybe. Family law judges may not be aware of the immigration implications. Don't assume a judge is versed in all areas of the laws.

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Go to the original source - USCIS. From HERE :

Automatic U.S. Citizenship After Birth - But Before the Age of 18

A Child Born Outside the U.S. is a Citizen after Birth IF… The child was adopted by a U.S. citizen parent

AND... The child resides legally in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent and meets the following conditions after February 27, 2001 but before his or her 18th birthday:

The adoptive parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or, in some cases, 18th birthday (my comment: in siblings case)) and had legal custody of the child and resided with the child for at least two years; OR....

I am not going to argue, I think I am right. I don't want you to be disappointed later. Go to Instruction for N-600 form. Paragraph 2, you have to apply to your child 2a and 2b and 2c and 2d and 2e or 2f, where 2f is not your case, and 2e says about 16 again. Of course, I can make a mistake. Check it again.

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Go to the original source - USCIS. From HERE :

Automatic U.S. Citizenship After Birth - But Before the Age of 18

A Child Born Outside the U.S. is a Citizen after Birth IF… The child was adopted by a U.S. citizen parent

AND... The child resides legally in the U.S. in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent and meets the following conditions after February 27, 2001 but before his or her 18th birthday:

The adoptive parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or, in some cases, 18th birthday (my comment: in siblings case)) and had legal custody of the child and resided with the child for at least two years; OR....

I am not going to argue, I think I am right. I don't want you to be disappointed later. Go to Instruction for N-600 form. Paragraph 2, you have to apply to your child 2a and 2b and 2c and 2d and 2e or 2f, where 2f is not your case, and 2e says about 16 again. Of course, I can make a mistake. Check it again.

Heck nobody argues on VJ, (except in P&R). If she is not eligible for citizenship, so be it, although it would have been nice. I wasn't going to get the citizenship paper in any case, only the passport. When complete I am still sending off for the passport just to see what happens.

The bolded part of your comments about the instructions for the form N-600 don't talk about adopted prior to 16, they talk about "legitimated" by a biological parent prior to 16, a completely different issue.

Thanks for caring\\

Dave

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