TN 11 (04-17)

PR 01325.182 Japan

A. PR 17-072 Did Number Holder Legally Adopt Claimant in Japan and is CL Eligible for CIB?

Date: March 28, 2017

1. Syllabus

The issuance of an IR-2 visa to the claimant establishes that he was legally adopted by the NH in Japan. To receive an IR-2 immigrant visa for an adopted child, the adoptive parent(s) must submit a copy of the adoption decree. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS, USCIS) and the Department of State must determine that the child has been fully and finally adopted in compliance with the laws of the country where the adoption took place. Absent any evidence that raises questions about the validity of a child’s adoption decree or immigrant visa, SSA may accept the child’s IR-2 status as evidence that the child was fully and finally adopted in the foreign country.

2. Opinion

QUESTION

You asked whether K~ was legally adopted in Japan by Number Holder R~, for purposes of determining his eligibility for child’s benefits on the Number Holder’s account. For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that the issuance of an IR-2 visa to K~ establishes that his adoption was valid according to Japanese law.

BACKGROUND

In April 2016, B~ filed for auxiliary child’s benefits on behalf of K~, under the record of R~. In support, she submitted copies of the following documents: (1) an adoption certificate issued by the Japanese Embassy in Switzerland stating that R~, a U.S. citizen, and B~, a Swiss citizen, adopted K~ (born March XX, 1982 in Japan) on February XX, 1983; (2) Japanese passports for K~ issued on June XX, 1982; February XX, 1984; May XX, 1989; and June XX, 1994; and (3) a Certificate of Citizenship issued by the Commissioner of Immigration and Nationalization stating that K~, born on March XX, 1982 in Japan, became a U.S. citizen on September XX, 1998. Although an original adoption decree was requested, the parents no longer have the foreign adoption papers.

At our request, the Regional Office also provided a copy of K~’s 1987 application for a Social Security Number Card. The bottom portion of the application, completed by an SSA employee, listed the following evidence that was submitted: a “Japanese passport” and “Class IR-2,” which refers to an Immediate Relative-2 (IR-2) immigrant visa classification code.

DISCUSSION

The Social Security Act provides for the payment of child’s insurance benefits to a disabled adult child of an insured individual who is entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits. 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1). To receive child’s insurance benefits, a claimant must qualify as the insured individual’s child. Id. The term “child” includes a legally adopted child. 42 U.S.C. § 416(e). To determine whether a claimant was legally adopted, the Commissioner of Social Security applies the adoption laws of the State or foreign country where the adoption took place. 20 C.F.R. § 404.356; see also POMS GN 00306.135. Therefore, we must determine whether K~ was legally adopted under Japanese law.

Before a child who is adopted abroad can move to the United States, the adoptive parent(s) must file a petition with the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS, USCIS), to have an immigrant visa issued to the child. POMS GN 00306.155D. An IR-2 immigrant visa is issued to a child who was adopted abroad under the age of 16 and has been in the legal custody of his adoptive parents for at least two years. 8 C.F.R. § 204.2(d)(2)(vii); 22 C.F.R. § 42.11 (defining IR2 classification as “Child of U.S. Citizen”); U.S. Dep’t of State, Immigrant Visa Process, https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/us-visa-for-your-child/immigrant-visa-process.html (last visited March 27, 2017). To receive an IR-2 immigrant visa for an adopted child, the adoptive parent(s) must submit a copy of the adoption decree. 8 C.F.R. § 204.2(d)(2)(vii). In addition, DHS, USCIS and the Department of State must determine that the child has been fully and finally adopted in compliance with the laws of the country where the adoption took place. POMS GN 00306.155D. Thus, absent any evidence that raises questions about the validity of a child’s adoption decree or immigrant visa, SSA may accept the child’s IR-2 status as evidence that the child was fully and finally adopted in the foreign country. POMS GN 00306.155E.

Here, SSA records indicate that, in support of K~’s 1987 SSN card application, his adoptive father submitted evidence of K~’s IR-2 immigrant visa classification code. And there does not appear to be any evidence that would suggest that either his adoption decree or his immigrant visa was invalid. Since DHS, USCIS and the Department of State determine that a foreign adoption is valid prior to granting a child an IR-2 immigrant visa, we conclude that SSA may consider K~’s IR-2 status as evidence that he was legally adopted in Japan, for purposes of his eligibility for child’s insurance benefits.

CONCLUSION

The IR-2 immigration visa issued to K~ establishes that he was legally adopted by R~ and B~ under Japanese law.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1501325182
PR 01325.182 - Japan - 04/20/2017
Batch run: 04/20/2017
Rev:04/20/2017