KOREAN ADOPTEES AND U.S. CITIZENSHIP
Since World War ll, more than 112,000 South Korean children have joined American families through intercountry adoption. To date, the immigration status of 19,000 South Korean born Adoptees is unconfirmed.
The Child Citizenship Act of 2001 made U.S. citizenship automatic for intercountry Adoptees born after February 21, 1983. To qualify for citizenship under the law, the adoptee must possess permanent resident status and the final adoption must occur in the Unites States.
Adoptees born before Februrary 21, 1983 who were not naturalized before their 18th birthday are subject to standard policies for U.S. citizenship. This legal loophole has led to deportation and other immigration problems for intercountry Adoptees.
KNOW YOUR U.S. STATUS AND RIGHTS
It is important to know your rights whether you have US citizenship, Legal Permanent Residence or if you are undocumented Understanding your U.S. citizenship status is critical to your safety and protection. Proof of citizenship or legal resident status (green card) is necessary for obtaining government benefits, employment verification, banking, and other basic life endeavors.
State birth certificates, adoption records, or Social Security cards are NOT proof of citizenship for persons of foreign birth. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may not automatically accept a U.S. passport or passport card as proof of citizenship.
Korean adoptees who were not naturalized as U.S. citizens during adoption remain Korean citizens. You can find the brief introduction of the Korean nationality law and the mandatory military service from the attached document.
The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Houston can also assist Korean Adoptees who are uncertain of their immigration status or who are without U.S. citizenship. The Consulate may assist with documentation verification issued by the Korean government, Korean passport application, and in some cases, Korean military exemption. Please contact the Consulate in Houston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Consulate also recommends contacting the Adoptee Rights Campaign, (ARC). ARC acts as a source for general information on adoptee citizenship issues and in some cases, may offer referral services for legal representation and or assistance with the U.S. citizenship application process. For general information on your rights, how to prepare, or how to locate legal assistance, visit Informed Immigrant or Adopteerightscampaign.org