How To Bring an Adopted Child to the US: Immigration Through Adoption

By Ella Bergquist August 21, 2018 (Updated August 2, 2021) 5 min. read
Immigration Through Adoption

Thousands of US citizens adopt children from other countries but many people don’t understand the process. Intercountry adoption is defined as the adoption of a child born in one country by an adoptive parent living in another country. US Immigration plays a huge role in the intercountry adoption process better known as immigration through adoption. Although there is not an adoption visa, the US offers three different processes by which someone may bring a child to the US through intercountry adoption. An individual may immigrate under one of these provisions only if the individual’s adoption meets all the requirements of that specific process.

The Hague Process

The Hague Process is an international treaty that provides important safeguards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents in intercountry adoptions. This process is specifically for US citizens looking to adopt a child from Hague qualified countries who are deemed eligible for intercountry adoption.

Steps of the Process

  1. Choose a Hague Accredited ASP (and perhaps also an immigration attorney).
  2. Obtain a home study from someone authorized to complete a Hague adoption home study.
  3. Apply to USCIS before adopting a child or accepting a placement for a determination that one is suitable for intercountry adoption.
  4. Once USCIS approves the application, work with the adoption service provider to obtain a proposed adoption placement.
  5. File a “petition” with USCIS, before adopting the child, to have the child be found eligible to immigrate to the United States based on the proposed adoption.
  6. Adopt the child or obtain custody of the child in order to adopt the child in the United States.
  7. Obtain an immigrant visa for the child.
  8. Bring the child to the United States for admission with the visa.

Eligibility to Adopt

Once you have obtained a favorable home study, file Form I-800A with USCIS. To be eligible to file Form I-800A, you must meet the following requirements:

The Orphan Process

The Orphan Process is simply allowing those to adopt an orphan from another country. An “orphan” is classified as a child that does not have any parents because of death, disappearance, or loss from both parents. Secondly, an orphan can be a child who has a  single surviving parent who is unable to care for the child, consistent with the local standards of the foreign sending country, and who released the child for adoption. You may immigrate an adopted child through the Orphan Process if:

Who is an Orphan?

An orphan is a foreign-born child who:

You must file an orphan petition before the child’s 16th birthday, or before the child’s 18th birthday if the child is a birth sibling of another child whom you have also adopted and who immigrated (or will immigrate) as:

Family-Based Petitions

Lastly, the family-based petition process provides a third option through which an adopted individual is considered the son or daughter of their adopting parent(s) for immigration purposes. You are also able to use this process to bring your adopted sibling to the United States.

There are differences between the Hague/Orphan processes and the family-based petition process:

International Adoptions Agencies

To get you started, we provided a shortlist of international adoption agencies to check out:

Are You Interested in US Immigration by Adoption?

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