Immigration Concerns Re: Adopted Children
For potential applicants of immigration benefits that require further assistance about adopted children.
GenerallyThere are three processes for adopting a child internationally. USCIS must determine the child's eligibility and the suitability of prospective adoptive parents looking to adopt. Children may only immigrate under one of the three processes and they must meet all of the requirements for the selected process.
Hague ConventionThe Hague Adoption Convention is an international treaty that provides important safeguards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in intercountry adoptions. All cases filed on or after April 1, 2008, seeking to adopt a child who habitually resides in any country outside of the United States that is a party to the Convention must follow the Hague process.
To be eligible, the following conditions must be met:
Obtain a favorable home study from a Hague authorized individual
Be a U.S. citizen
Habitually reside in the United States
If you are married, your spouse must intend to adopt the child
If you are not married, you must be at least 25 years of age
Orphan ProcessIf the Hague Adoption Convention does not apply, you may bring an adopted child as an immigrant if the following conditions are met:
You are a U.S. citizen.
You establish that you will provide proper parental care to the child
You establish that the child whom you have adopted or plan to adopt is an "orphan" as defined in U.S. immigration law
You establish that either you (and your spouse, if married) have adopted the child abroad, and that each of you saw the child in person before or during the adoption proceeding OR you will adopt the child in the United States after the child arrives in the United States (you must have permission to bring the child out of his or her own country and to the United States for adoption).
Immediate Relative ProcessUnder this process, an adopted child is considered, for immigration purposes, to be the child (or adult son or daughter) of the adopting parent if:
The parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or before the 18th birthday under certain circumstances as described below). You submit evidence of a full and final adoption
The parent had legal and physical custody of the child for at least two years while the child was a minor.