Green card temporary stamp on U.S. passports – don’t believe what they say!
Our two adopted children clients from Angola were approved for their green cards yesterday. This was a very happy event given how difficult it had been to assemble all of the correct documents from Africa. We immediately made an INFOPASS appointment with the San Francisco office of CIS to obtain temporary green card stamps in the children’s Angolan passports. The plan was to immediately walk over to the U.S. passport office and apply for U.S. passports for the children. Under the Child Citizenship Act, children who are granted green card status acquire U.S. citizenship automatically if they have at least one U.S. citizen parent, are under age 18, and reside with the U.S. citizen parent in the U.S. who has full legal and physical custody of the child.
After looking up the children’s A numbers in the computer, the CIS officer behind the counter indicated that the green cards had been mailed out and that it was not CIS policy to issue the temporary green card stamp in these circumstances. We should wait to receive the actual cards. We explained the urgency of the situation and got the stamps. Then the CIS officer warned us that the children would not qualify for U.S. passports on the basis of the stamp and that they needed the actual green cards. Wrong!! We walked over to the U.S. passport office and no-one questioned the stamp at all. Although we had other issues to deal with, the temporary stamp was considered prima facie evidence of green card status. It bears repeating: In these circumstances a biological or adopted child who achieves green card status is automatically entitled to a U.S. passport as a bona fide U.S. citizen and is entitled to apply for a U.S. passport on the basis of the temporary green card stamp. Bon voyage!!