International adoption - What citizenship does the child hold?

Let’s say a couple from the US decides to adopt a child from China. The paper work is filled out, fees paid, and the child is taken back to the US to grow up.

What citizenship(s) does the child hold?
Chinese - because they were born there, and their parents were Chinese?
American - does adoption automatically confer citizenship, like giving birth does?

International adoptions are now ruled by the Hague Convention. Children adopted abroad from another Hague signatory country, such as China, will receive an IH-3 visa and automatically becomes a U.S. citizen upon arrival in the United States. If the adoption doesn’t fall under the Hague for some reason, additional procedures may be required once the child gets stateside.

Further details on the State Department website, here.

So the child’s citizenship is solely that of their adoptive parents? The adoption process severs their original citizenship?

It severs their original parental relationship; whether that has the effect of eliminating a claim to citizenship depends on the laws of that country. China is not a jus soli country, anyway.

It looks like a Chinese citizen who’s been adopted can renounce citizenship, if you have settled in another country, are near relatives of foreign nationals, or if renunciation is required to be naturalised in the new country.

See: Renunciation of Chinese Nationality [PDF], p. 4.

However, it doesn’t sound like it’s automatic renunciation on the event of an adoption, so presumably the child would hold both citizenships.

Note, though, that China does not recognize dual citizenship, as per the wiki article. Not sure what that means in practice.

My son was adopted from Russia. He received a US Certificate of Citizenship upon coming into the country, but Russia considers him a citizen until he’s 18. If we were ever to travel to Russia, he would have to travel on his Russian passport, not his US one. Because his US passport lists Russia as his birth county, Russia would not issue him a Visa to travel so he’d need to use his Russian passport. At least this is my understanding.

? I was adopted from India and I remember taking my US citizenship vows as a young child.

Korean kids who have been adopted abroad are no longer Korean citizens, although they are allowed to get an F4 visa, which is granted to foreign children with Korean parents and lets you work in Korea as if you were a Korean citizen.

My sister was adopted as an infant in Australia back in 1964 (my parents, American citizens, were living there at the time) and she also had to become naturalized as a toddler after they all returned home to the U.S.A.

The law changed a few years back - I’d need to poke around for the exact date, but I think > 10 years ago.

China does not recognize dual citizenship. I seriously doubt if they could retain Chinese citizenship. I do know if they try to get a Chinese visa in a US passport before the age of 18, they are required to show a US birth certificate to get the visa. Or if they don’t have a foreign birth certificate, they have to surrender their Chinese passport, which renounces their citizenship. At least that was the case for my non-adopted kids who were born in chins with Chinese citizenship

So lets say in a few years as an adult the kid walks into the X embassy with their original birth certificate from the home country and they don’t mention the adoption thing, they would be denied a passport?

Seems if one is willing to lie or omit info you could easily get a passport back.

EDIT:Or do countries without jus soli require you establish a parentage in detail?

As a side note, while adopted children are automatically eligible for US citizenship, children conceived through IVF are not, if you can’t demonstrate that half their DNA came from a U.S. citizen. I don’t know if anyone has tested this the other way: use an American sperm donor to conceive, gestate, and bear a child overseas to two foreign parents and then apply for US citizenship for the child.

We adopted a daughter from Russia, and at the time of adoption they issued a new birth certificate for her, naming my wife and I as parents (and incidentally calling out *our *citizenships). As wombattver notes, your hypothetical doesn’t apply to her (since she’s still a Russian citizen, in addition to being a US citizen), but if other countries also re-issue birth certificates, that would be one bar to acquiring a birth-country passport.

Bingo: it was with the Child Citizenship Act, which took effect in 2001.

Thank you for that information! I was confused. Needless to say I came to this country far before 2001.

AFAIK, the United States does not recognize dual citizenship. When a person becomes a naturalized citizen, the previous passport is surrendered, and a new US passport may be acquired.

Other countries differ, and many DO recognize dual citizenship. I have heard stories of children born abroad of US parents who always considered themselves US citizens…and they have received draft notices from their birth country.

Adoption is the “grafting” of the child from one family to another. Once adoption has occurred, the child is a full member of the adoptive family, with all rights and privileges belonging to the new family.

This is a frequent, but erroneous assumption. I know several people with U.S. and other citizenships simultaneously, including one immigration lawyer who holds US, UK, and Canadian citizenship.

I have two kids from Korea and both automatically became citizens 6 months after arriving in the US. They sent a letter, I think, but it was just a formality.