US Citizenship

  We used the N600K path to naturalization for two of our children while we lived in the Marshall Islands.  This page was created to share our experience with other going through the same process.  Below are links to documentation, our naturalization time line, and all the posts that were shared on the blog.  Please don't hesitate to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions!

Helpful links to determine if your child qualifies for citizenship through the N600K:

-this website directs you to the INA legislation regarding citizenship for adopted children that reside outside the US that don't have US citizenship

-the specific sections in the INA that refer to adopted children and their qualification for citizenship


Our N600K naturalization time line:

May 2014: Mail in forms for Sky and Fire's naturalization
May 2014: Receive rejection letters for both because the N600K form I used was out of date.  Resubmit forms immediately.
July 10, 2014: Receive email notification that our cases have been accepted
November 2014: Request cases be transferred to Honolulu office; transfer approved
January 5, 2015: Receive notification of interview date through the mail
February 5, 2015: Interview day!  Citizenship is granted with no issues.


Blog posts that specifically relate to our N600K process:

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We're officially in-process for the kids' US citizenship! I was so excited to get these emails:



and to see this withdrawl from my bank account:
The kids' packets had been rejected once before because I had used the wrong versions of the N600K form. To other applicants: be sure to check your forms expiration date! Make sure it will be good through to the time USCIS receives your paperwork. We did received back all the supporting documentation that I'd sent but since it had been checked in it had a ribbon of printing along one edge. I wasn't able to get a clear answer on the phone about if I could resubmit all the same supporting documentation or if I had to provide new ones, so I went ahead and resubmitted the same papers again. Hopefully we'll know more soon.

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I decided to see if I could get an update on the kids' case status from the USCIS website and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use and how much information is available. If you've received your case-receipt email or I-797 form, it will have a receipt number on it (Sky and Fire's started with NBC). All you have to do is go to USCIS.gov and click on "Check Your Case Status".




Enter the receipt number in the box and it will bring up your case status (one of ours is pictured below).




You can also check on processing times for cases like yours. Click on the drop-down boxes (as shown above) to select the type of case you're filing and where you requested your hearing and it will give you the average processing time for similar cases. It was great to find out that we're only looking at a 5-6 month wait, since that's the next time we'll probably be heading off-island. 

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Update: 12-6-14

  USCIS recently changed their website and below is a screen shot of the new results page:




Pros: You get to see the exact date that your case was received.
Cons: You no longer see the processing stage of your case.

I called USCIS to see exactly which local office would be handling our case, since the best option for us is Honolulu. After an hour-long hold, I was able to get our cases transferred to Honolulu and was told that they are currently processing cases submitted in May. For a timeline, that means that it will be another two months before they start working on Sky and Fire's cases. Cases usually take three months to process. Provided the kids are approved, we'll be sent an interview notice with a date about three months in the future. Put all that together and we can estimate that it will be another eight months before we'll be going to Honolulu for citizenship hearings.


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Update: 1-6-15

  We have the kids appointments for their US citizenship interviews!!!  I didn't know what to expect when I opened the envelops from USCIS yesterday but it certainly wasn't that.  As I said in my last update, we didn't expect to hear anything from USCIS for another five months and we estimated that it would be August before we had their interviews. 
  I'm a little worried that there may have been a misunderstanding over our status here and that might be what has caused our case to move so quickly.  When I was on the phone changing our interview location, I said that we worked for the military and that D had been in the Air Force.  I hope she doesn't think that D is still on active duty and that we're not taking someone elses place because of a misunderstanding.  We will apologize profusely when we get there if that is what happened but I'm not going to call USCIS to try to clear anything up and jeopardize this great processing time. 
  We received our notice of an interview by mail but I did check the USCIS website to see if there was any change to their case status' there and I didn't see anything different.  It still says when our cases were received and that they're pending. 
  Although our wallets wish that the appointments weren't happening until August (coming so soon after Water's adoption, Sky birthday, and Christmas) we're moving ahead with plans to spend a week in Honolulu.  We don't expect our applications for Sky and Fire's citizenship to be contested and we've been told that we can apply for their US passports the same day.  I can't believe this is actually happening.  I'm still a little shocked by it all.  Wish us luck!!!


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1-25-15

  We're heading off to Honolulu for Sky and Fire's USCIS interviews!  We don't anticipate any problems so hopefully my next post will be one celebrating two new Americans.  I don't know how much free time I"ll have so this might be a bit of a blogging break as well.  Wish us luck!!




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2-6-15
  I was so nervous about Sky and Fire's citizenship appointment!  I thought for sure they were going to want some paperwork I didn't have or ask question that we couldn't answer.  In the end, we had a harder time finding the building (500 Ala Moana Blvd not 300 where the passport office is!) than we did with the appointment.  We spent more time waiting that morning that we did doing anything official.  Once we found the right building, we checked in and waited.  The interview was less than 10 minutes long and then we went back to the waiting room to wait for their certificates of citizenship. 

The waiting starts out like this:

Eventually even a movie on the phone doesn't cut it


Maybe making faces for daddy's camera will pass the time





No ceremony, no oath, just a nice man in an office building confirming that Sky and Fire are now Americans




We celebrated with cupcakes and everything was right with the world!

30 comments

  1. Dear D and A,
    we've visited your website and thought if we could get in touch directly for a few basic questions about the Marshall Islands. Would you provide your email address for this purpose? We are a couple thinking of transferring there.
    Looking forward to hear from you
    Kind regards.
    Daniele

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    1. Hi Daniele, my email address can be found on my profile page: https://www.blogger.com/profile/03592227803635297874
      I'd love to hear from you and answer any questions I can about the Marshall Islands for you.

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  2. Your post brought tears of joy to my eyes! We are waiting for an interview appointment for my son and I have been googling N600K to try to find some (any!) similar stories. Thanks for encouraging me today!

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    1. I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed the post and congratulations on getting so far in your naturalization process. It can be so confusing and there are so many unknowns- I hope you have your interview soon and that it's a complete success!

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  3. I was adopted from the Marshall Islands by us citizens in 1987. is the n600 all you had to file for your children? I spoke to a lawyer and he said since I was under 18 when the child citizenship act of 2000 was amended.

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    1. We filed the N600K for our kids, since we live outside the US. As I understand it- and PLEASE verify this with a lawyer!- if you're still a Marshallese citizen, you'll need to file for a change of status (I485) to move from the visa waiver status granted by the Compact of Free Association to legal residency. Once you've done that, you should -again verify this with a lawyer!- be able to file the N600 if you meet all the qualifications.
      Good luck!!

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  4. I was adopted from the Marshall Islands by us citizens in 1987. is the n600 all you had to file for your children? I spoke to a lawyer and he said since I was under 18 when the child citizenship act of 2000 was amended.

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  5. Thank you so much for writing this! Like a previous commenter, I am waiting to hear about my son's N600-K and find it so difficult to get information since we can't call the 1-800 number from here. I adopted him from Thailand through the local system here in New Zealand about three years ago. I hadn't known about the USCIS website status check function, so that was great. Although the have a different 'received' date on there to the one I got in the mail. I'm guessing it's lockbox vs. local office, though. Here's my real question to you:) I'd read it took 3 months to get an appointment, but wasn't sure if that meant 'appointment letter' or actual appointment day. If I've got this right from your post, you waited 6 months from application to appointment. Is that correct?

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    1. Yes, we got our appointment letter in early January and had the appointment just a few weeks later. I think part of the reason ours went so quickly is that we called to change our interview location to Honolulu, where they process fewer cases than other sites.
      There's no way for you call in? That makes things a bit harder for you guys :( Good luck and I hope things go quickly for you!

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  6. Hello!

    Thanks for such informative blog
    I am in process of applying for my kid's nationality through N600k
    I tried to get this information from your posts but am not sure if I understand it correctly, please can you let me know about how long did it take:

    1. between the date you sent the application and the date they got back to you with the interview schedule
    2. the time between the date your sent the application and the date you got the cetitficate of nationality
    thanks!

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    1. We applied at the end of June and received the acceptance emails on July 11. The acceptance letters arrived a while later, since we only get mail twice a week. We received our notice of interview date on January 6th and had the interviews at the end of the month. For us, our total process time was about 6 months but I think part of that was because we asked for our case to be transferred to Honolulu, where they have a lighter case load.
      Good luck and please let me know if I can answer any more questions!
      (PS: when I get time, I'll be adding a timeline and more links to the page!)

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  7. I'm an expat considering adoption through this process - were you able to travel to the US with your kids before applying for their citizenship? I haven't been able to find a definitive answer. Thanks!

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    1. Hi there, American Expat. Sorry for the delayed response- our move back to the US has thrown everything out of whack. I don't recall any restrictions on travel in the instructions for the N600K. I'm not an expert but I would think you would just need to get the appropriate visa (if one is required for travel to the US) for your child, since they'll still be a foreign national.
      Did that answer your question? Good luck with your adoption process!

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  9. Hi, can i ask you something? I want to apply for my kids but i have to know if once they told you to go to US to finish everything, if they let you choose a date or if they give you for example 30 days to go. I would like to apply but i can only go to US between december and febraury and i dont know how to organize that. Thanks and sorry for my english

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    1. Hi Marcelo,
      I can only tell you about our process and the experience of some of our friends but we were all assigned dates and took the dates we were given. That being said, I would guess that you can always call the USCIS once you're assigned an interview date and ask to reschedule for a different date that works within your travel schedule. As I've said before, I'm not an immigration lawyer or any kind of expert, so you'll want to call USCIS to verify my answer.
      Good luck!

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  10. Thanks for documenting your journey. Our daughter's N600K appointment is on April 25. You said you applied the same day for your children's passports. How long did it take to actually get them? How many days do we need to stay in the U.S. in order to travel home with passport in hand?

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    1. Hi Becky,
      Because our children still had their Marshallese passports and could travel on them, we arranged to have their US passports mailed. I believe they arrived two weeks later.
      We did have to get an expedited passport for our second son after his adoption and I was able to pick that up two days after we applied. To help that process go smoothly, I had an appointment first thing the morning and I made sure to bring a copy of our travel itinerary, to prove that we needed the passport as quickly as possible.
      Good luck!

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  12. Great blog! Very I formative. Im sitting in Ireland waiting for interview date for my 3 children! 11 months since we filed so itching to get my date. 😊

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad it was helpful to you. Isn't it hard to wait to hear back about something like that?! Here's hoping you get your interview soon :)

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  13. Great blog! Very I formative. Im sitting in Ireland waiting for interview date for my 3 children! 11 months since we filed so itching to get my date. 😊

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    1. Hi Claire, just saw your comment. Have you had your interview? I hope so and that it went well!

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  14. Hi there. I want to file the N600K form for m son through my dad who is also an american citizen and has actually lived there unlike me. So because I cammot show proof that i lived there, my dads lived there for 25 years so he can. My question is..the current form onbrhe USCIS website expires in 2018. But before 2018 itll be dofficult for me to travel to the US due to financial issues. Do you think the rules may change if i wait till after the this form expires?

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    1. Good for you that you noticed the form's expiration date! I accidentally filed on an expired form the first time I did it and it set us back a month or so. I'm not an expert but I think that as long as the form is good when you file it, you'll be fine. I think you just need to submit it to USCIS before it expires and they release a new version.
      Good luck!

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  15. Thank you for this super informative blog. Really helpful. We have two fully adopted Ugandan children and their file is at our field office currently. One question I have been trying to get an answer to is should we wait and head to the states until after we get the ok from the field office and an appointment, or should we apply for their tourist visa and then go and then wait in the US? What did y'all do?
    Thanks!

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    1. Sorry for the delayed response, I just saw your comment now. Would you be moving back to the US or just visiting? If you're going to move back to the US, then there's a different process and you'll have to start over (like we did :( ). If you're just visiting the US and have a valid return ticket to Uganda, then you might be able to wait in the US. In my experience, USCIS is kind of picky about who uses the N600K process and they'll deny your application if you moved to the US during the process. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions (my address is in my profile).

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  16. We submitted our application in January. We received a notice that our cases had been received January 31 and we were given receipt numbers to track our children's cases online. Does this mean the applications were accepted? Or do you get a notice of being received first and then a later one of being accepted?

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    1. Hi Jillian, I'm glad you found our page and I hope it's helpful for you! If you got receipt numbers (like the ones I shared above for our cases) than yes, your cases were accepted and are being processed. Congratulations! Have you used the receipt numbers to check your case status online?

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