News Brief: Certificate of Citizenship Fee Increasing

On December 23, 2016, the fee to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship (COC) is more than doubling. Here's how to apply, as well as why every child adopted internationally should have this document.

The fee for a certificate of citizenship (COC) is increasing on December 23, 2016

As urgently reported by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), “On December 23, 2016, the fee for the form to request a U.S Certificate of Citizenship for adopted children (form N-600/N-600K) is [more than] doubling from $550 to $1,170. Anyone who files an adoption application or petition on or after December 23rd will have to pay the new amount.” The fee to replace a lost COC (form N-565) is also rising, from $345 to $555.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) last adjusted their fee schedule in 2010. They described the forthcoming increases as “necessary to fully recover costs and maintain adequate service.”

In his overview of the readoption process for Adoptive Families, Peter Wiernicki, J.D., stresses, “It is critically important that [citizenship] rights be established as soon as possible upon homecoming.”

Even if you miss the December 23 deadline for the fee increase, if you adopted internationally and your child does not have a COC, we urge you to obtain one for him or her. The heartbreaking story of Adam Crapser, deported on November 17, 2016, at age 41, because the parents who adopted him as a toddler from South Korea never completed his citizenship paperwork, brought renewed attention to the importance of securing and being able to document citizenship for all adoptees.

In his blog post titled “Should Your Internationally Adopted Child Have A Certificate of Citizenship?” Peter J. Weisher, Esq., writes, “the answer to the question posed above is a resounding ‘yes!’” The attorney describes the difficulty he encountered in trying to obtain a social security number without a COC for the first child he adopted from South Korea, and points out that, while citizenship can also be documented with a U.S. passport, “a passport expires. A Certificate of Citizenship will not expire, and it can be used to obtain a passport and other documents where proof of citizenship are required.”

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