Under a federal law, enacted in February 2001, all children are automatic US citizens upon adoption in his/her country. However, you still need to have a document to prove this for your child.
1. Apply for a Social Security number for your child. Present the translated adoption papers from their country and apply for a SS number in your child’s American name.
2. Apply for a birth certificate. This can be done through re-adoption in the US or if your adoption was finalized overseas and you reside in PA, you may acquire this through your local orphans court in the county where you reside.
3. Once you receive a state issued birth certificate you can apply for proof of citizenship in 2 ways. You can apply for a US passport for your child or you can apply for a certificate of citizenship through your local USCIS office or you can do both. Passports expire every 5 years at which point you have to prove citizenship over again each time you renew. Certificates of Citizenship from the USCIS are valid for the child’s lifetime and if it is lost they will simply reissue a new one to you.
4. Once you receive proof of citizenship, be it a passport or certificate from USCIS you will need to go back to the SS office and change your child’s status to reflect their current US citizenship. Your child’s SS number won’t change but a new card will be issued.