There are two ways to bring an adopted child to the United States through the immigration process. You can petition a child either as an orphan or as a non-orphan.

 

First, you can bring a child to the United States if the child is a Non-Orphan Adopted Child. The criteria for this process are as follows:

  1. The legal adoption order must be from a court or other governmental entity and that the adoption process must be finalized before the child’s sixteenth birthday.
  2. You must have lived with your adopted child outside of the United States, and the child must have been in your legal custody, for at least two years.

 

If you meet the requirements, you can file a Petition for Alien Relative Petition (I-130 Petition). You may receive a notice to appear to your nearest USCIS office to submit additional documents or information. If the petition is approved, then the U.S. embassy or consulate can issue an immigrant visa on behalf of your adopted child.

 

Second, you can bring a child to the United States if the child is an Orphan Adopted Child. There are slight differences from countries that participate in The Hague Convention and to those countries that does not participate in The Hague Convention. The Hague Convention is an international treaty intended to protect internationally adopted children. If a country belongs to The Hague Convention, then the country must establish laws to oversee international adoption and adhere to the treaty. The criteria for this process are as follows:

 

Bringing an Adopted Child to the U.S. From a Hague Convention Country

  1. You must be a United States Citizen;
  2. If you are not married, you must be at least 25 years old;
  3. If you are married, then you and your spouse must go through both the adoption and the immigration proceedings jointly;
  4. Also, if the child lives in a country that follows The Hague Convention, then you must follow additional rules; and
  5. You and all member in the household must undergo a background check for criminal history and there will be a “home study” perform by an authorized adoption service provider. All members of the household must be fingerprinted and their biometrics performed.

 

If you want to bring an adopted orphan child to the U.S. from a Hague Convention Country, you must first submit a Form I-800A, with the home study. If USCIS approves your I-800A and if you meet the requirements, then you can file a Petition (Form I-800) for Alien Relative. The filing of the I-800 must be done before the child turns 16 (with some exceptions). If the petition is approved, the U.S. embassy or consulate can issue an immigrant visa to your adopted child.

 

Bringing an Adopted Orphan to the U.S. from a Non-Hague Convention Country

  1. You must be a United States Citizen;
  2. If you are not married, you must be at least 25 years old;
  3. If you are married, then you and your spouse must go through both the adoption and the immigration proceedings together; and
  4. You and all member in the household must undergo a background check for criminal history and there will be a “home study” perform by an authorized adoption service provider. All members of the household must be fingerprinted and their biometrics performed.

 

If you want to bring an adopted orphan to the U.S. from a Non-Hague Convention country, you must first submit a Form I-600A, with the home study. If USCIS approves your I-600A and if you meet the requirements, then you can file a Petition (Form I-600) for Alien Relative. The filing of the I-600 must be done before the child turns 16 (with some exceptions). You may receive a notice to appear to your nearest USCIS office to submit additional document or provide additional information. If the petition is approved, the U.S. embassy or consulate can issue an immigrant visa on behalf of your adopted child.

In both cases of the orphan adoption, once USCIS approves your petition, USCIS will notify the U.S. Embassy or consulate so the State Department can issue the child a visa to come to the United States. You have an option either to complete the adoption overseas or in United States.

 

Due to the complexity of the immigration adoption process, you should always seek an advice of an experienced immigration attorney. Feel free to call us at (718) 625-0800 to schedule an appointment.