is there a difference if adopted by US relative or non US relative?
I would need more facts to fully answer this question. But, in general, if a child living in the United States with LPR status is then adopted by a US citizen parent while under the age of 16, he or she becomes eligible for citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 after (1) the child has been living with the adoptive parent for two years, and (2) two years of legal custody has accrued following the adoption and if (3) the child is still under the age of 18 when the other criteria have been met. If these are the facts you are asking about, I recommend that you contact an immigration attorney in order to get help making sure the criteria are met and that you file the forms necessary with USCIS to receive an official certificate of citizenship. My office does this regularly. Please feel free to contact us for a consultation.
If, instead, the child has LPR status, and is living in the U.S. and is then adopted by a non US citizens relative, the child would not be eligible for automatic U.S. citizenship, but could apply for citizenship when his or her case becomes ripe (usually five years after receiving LPR status).
On the other hand, if the child was adopted abroad by U.S. Citizen Parents and entered the United States on an IR4 visa (to be adopted in the United States) he or she will acquire American citizenship when the adoption is full and final in the United States.
Again, this is a complicated field, and I recommend you contact an attorney with both immigration and adoption experience. My office specializes in this and would be glad to set up a consultation for you. Otherwise, you can find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through http://www.ailalawyer.com/ and other experienced adoption attorneys through www.adoptionattorneys.org.
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I am licensed to practice solely in Georgia, and do not intend to give legal advice or create a lawyer/client relationship. Please consult an attorney in your state for detailed advice on your legal question.
More facts are required in order to answer your question.
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Carl Shusterman, Esq.
Former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82)
Board Certified Immigration Attorney (1986 - Present)
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(213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.