September 16, 2008

  • Tell you what, Dad is absolutely IS hard to get accurate information.

    If I've heard him grouse about that once, I've heard him grouse about it a dozen - TWO dozen! - times.  And right he is.  e-browlift

    This afternoon Dmitry and I headed to the DPS office to get him a Texas ID.  Not a driver's license, mind, but an ID.  He really needs one, seeing as how he's 18 and his school doesn't issue school ID's.  Gathered up his Texas birth certificate, SS card, and permanent resident card, then drove to the office close to Carolyn's house.  

    Everything was going fine until the clerk was filling out the voter's registration form (seeing as how we were there, she registered him with the Selective Service, too), when she floored us by saying that if all he has is a permanent residence card, he's not a citizen.  He needs a certificate of citizenship.

    Not a citizen?  But we'd understood from the get-go that as soon as his adoption was final in Russia and he touched down on American soil, he's an American citizen.  Nope, the clerk said.  A PRC doesn't confer citizenship.  We should talk with the INS.  

    Well.  Wasn't that a kick in the head?   e-faint

    After stopping by Kroger's to pick up a dozen roses for Carolyn   - seeing as how we were right by her house, Dmitry thought it'd be nice to drop by with a bouquet for her (I told him she's a lucky girl, indeed, to have him as a boyfriend) -   we came home where I immediately headed back to Don's desk.  He said he'd like to hear that from the INS.

    So I went online and checked.

    HA!  He is so an American citizen, by golly.  Per the Child Citizenship Act of 2000:

    On February 27, 2001, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 becomes
    effective. The aim of this law, which, among other things, amends
    Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is to
    facilitate the automatic acquisition of U.S. citizenship for both
    biological and adopted children of U.S. citizens who are born abroad
    and who do not acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. We are pleased to
    note that, because of this law, U.S. citizenship will be conferred
    automatically upon thousands of children currently in the United States.

    The following are the Act's requirements:

    1. At least one parent of the child is a U.S. citizen, either by birth or naturalization.  (check)
    2. The child is under the age of 18.  (note:  As of Feb. 27, 2001, that is)  (check)
    3. The child must be residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent after having
      been lawfully admitted into this country as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence.  (check)
    4. If the child has been adopted, the adoption must be final.  (check)

    That's him all right.  He's a citizen.  Now, from what I understand if he would like a formal, official Certificate of Citizenship he can get one by filling out a form, sending in documents and almost $500.

    I think we'll just see about getting him a US passport instead. 

    Oh, and wouldn't you know it?  After January 1, 2004  -  or 2 1/2 months after Dmitry arrived home  -  the INS began automatically issuing Certificates of Citizenship instead of Permanent Residence Cards to children adopted abroad.   e-fingers_ears

Comments (6)

  • Getting him the passport sounds like a good idea. I guess I can't blame a DMV (or DPS, what's that stand for?) clerk for not knowing the ins and outs of citizenship -- how many foreign-adopted kids come across her desk? Probably not all that many. But if you ran into this at the DPS due a clerk's misinformation, the likelihood is you'll run into it in various other arenas staffed by minimally-informed clerks, where it will matter as much or more.

    But here's another (dumb, maybe) question -- if he has a Texas birth certificate, why is there any doubt about his citizenship requiring further proof in the first place? I don't have a passport or a "certificate of citizenship" (obviously) so when I need proof of citizenship, I show them my birth certificate. Says I was born right here. I have no other way of proving my citizenship, so why does Dmitry need another way?

  • I can't think of any. Like you, I thought that was the whole point of registering his adoption here in prove he's a citizen. That's why we provided copies of his adoption papers, passport, visa showing his IR-3 status, etc. How the deuce can a non-citizen have an official Texas birth certificate, even if it does show the place of birth to be Russia?

  • But here's what I mean: if you walk up to a clerk in an office that issues official IDs or whatever else you might be trying to obtain, you never mention that he was born in Russia, and you hand them his birth certificate, why would that not be enough? It's enough for me, why wouldn't it be for him? Having an accent shouldn't make you have to prove something that isn't otherwise in question.

    So, just as an experiment, next time you have to do something like this, keep the passport out of sight unless it's asked for, don't bother mentioning where he was born (legally, he was "born" in Texas to American citizen parents, according to his birth certificate, regardless of how bizarre that concept might seem) and see what happens. Logically, if a birth certificate is enough to demonstrate that you or I are citizens, it should be enough for him.

  • Oh, wait, you said it lists his birth place as Russia. Still, that doesn't matter, as all children of American citizens are American citizens, regardless of birthplace, right? And the birth certificate says you're his birth parents (which weirds me out, but hey, it's their rules.)

  • We just got through getting the COC for our two adopted children. We've heard of cases where when all the documents are presented that the passport was not accepted as proof of citizenship anyway, so we decided that we had better get the COC's. Took us only two months to get them thankfully, but entailed a trip to the INS (or whatever they are calling themselves) for an "interview". Glad that we got that final piece of the puzzle taken care of.

  • Is that what you did, then? Got an appointment with the INS? I saw that the office in Dallas doesn't take walk-in visitors, and doesn't even list a phone number. Apparently one schedules an appointment online.

    Did it cost 400-odd dollars to get the CoC?

    We may have to wait on that, if so. ISTM if kids get them automatically now, Dmitry shouldn't have to pay that much for it, but that's probably not the way it'll work.

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