Call Now for Your Consultation 800.708.4399
Immigration Adoption Basics

Immigration Adoption Basics

Immigration Adoption Basics

With the increasing scarcity of children available for adoption in the United States, there is increasing interest in pursuing the adoption of children from abroad.

The US immigration laws have strict requirements for inter-country adoptions.

Step 1

Calculate the age of the child at the time the adoption can be finalized.

Adoptions must be completed prior to the adopted child’s 16 birthday. There is an exception for siblings who are under 18, whose sibling was adopted under the age of 16. The adoption process can take years to complete.

It is important to take into consideration the length of time the respective process will take in order to approximate the age of the child at the time of final adoption. It can be heartbreaking and expensive to adopt a child, only to have the child reach the 16th birthday prior to the final decree of adoption.

Step 2 – Hague

Determine if the child habitually resides in a country that is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention?

If the child habitually resides in one of the 99 Hague contracting countries, the adoption must satisfy the protocol set forth in the Convention.

The application of the Hague Adoption Convention also determines the procedures and requirements to qualify for US immigration benefits.

The Hague Adoption Convention requires each country to have an officially designated central authority to safeguard the adoption process. The United States Central Authority is the Department of State.

If the adoption will be subject to The Hague Adoption Convention, proceed to Step 3 below. If not, proceed to Step 1 – Non-Hague below.

Step 3 – Hague

Locate and Retain an Adoption Service Provider

An Adoption Service Provider (ASP) must be accredited or otherwise authorized to provide adoption services in connection with a Hague adoption in order for the provider to assist the prospective adoptive parent(s) with a Hague adoption.

Be sure to ask any adoption service provider whether it is authorized to work on Hague adoption cases before hiring or paying any money to the provider.

Step 4 – Hague

Locate and retain an Immigration Attorney

An adoption service provider cannot provide legal advice or legal services to the prospective adoptive parent(s) or represent the prospective adoptive parent(s) before USCIS. Only a licensed immigration attorney can legally enter an appearance before the USCIS.

Summary of the Hague Adoption Process

  1. Selection of a Hague Accredited ASP and a qualified immigration attorney.
  2. Completion of a home study from an agency that is authorized to complete a Hague adoption home study.
  3. Application to USCIS before adopting a child or accepting a placement for a determination that one is suitable for intercountry adoption.
  4. Obtaining from adoption service provider a proposed adoption placement.
  5. Filing of a petition with USCIS, before adopting the child, to have the child to be found eligible to immigrate to the United States based on the proposed adoption.
  6. Adoption of the child, or obtain custody of the child in order to adopt the child in the United States.
  7. Obtaining an immigrant visa for the child.
  8. Bringing the child to the United States for admission with the immigrant visa

If the child does not habitually reside in a country that is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention:

Step 1 – Non-Hague

Calculate the age of the child at the time the adoption can be finalized.

Adoptions must be completed prior to the adopted child’s 16 birthday. There is an exception for siblings who are under 18, whose sibling was adopted under the age of 16. The adoption process can take years to complete.

It is important to take into consideration the length of time the respective process will take in order to approximate the age of the child at the time of final adoption. It can be heartbreaking and expensive to adopt a child, only to have the child reach the 16th birthday prior to the final decree of adoption.

Step 2 – Non-Hague

Determine if the child is an orphan?

According to the USCIS:

A child may be considered an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents.

The child of an unwed mother or surviving parent may be considered an orphan if that parent is unable to care for the child properly and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.

The child of an unwed mother may be considered an orphan, as long as the mother does not marry (which would result in the child’s having a stepfather) and as long as the child’s biological father has not legitimated the child.

If the father legitimates the child or the mother marries, the mother is no longer considered a sole parent. The child of a surviving parent may also be an orphan if the surviving parent has not married since the death of the other parent (which would result in the child’s having a stepfather or stepmother).

Step 3 – Non-Hague

Consider the Residence Requirements for Non-orphans

If the child does not qualify as an orphan (such as an aunt adopting a nephew from the sibling parents who are alive and have not abandoned the child) the adopting parents must have legal and physical custody of the child for two years prior to the filing of the immigrant visa petition. This requirement effectively prohibits intra-family adoptions of convenience.

In summary, the inter-country adoption of a child can be accomplished with proper planning and expert guidance.

Categories:

Contact Our Firm Today

We've Helped Thousands of Individuals Just Like You
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your address.
  • Please enter your city.
  • Please enter your zip code.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a statement of case.