IMMIGRATION THROUGH INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION
What is Immigration through Adoption?
Immigration through adoption is the process of adopting a child born in a country by an adoptive parent living in the U.S.
What are the different ways in which someone can immigration to the U.S. on the basis of adoption?
U.S. laws provide for three different ways through which someone may immigrate on the basis of adoption.
1. The Hague Process - if the child habitually resides in a country that is a party to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention
2. The Orphan Process - only for an orphan child, applicable generally when the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention does not apply
What are the requirements to adopt a child under the Hague Process?
In order to be eligible to file the Form I-800A, which is the Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, an applicant, or the adopting parent must meet the following criteria:
1. Be a U.S. citizen
2. Habitually reside in the United States
3. If the parent is married, the parent's spouse must also sign Form I-800A and intend to adopt the child
4. If the adopting parent is not married, he or she must be at least 24 years of age when filing Form I-800A, and must be 25 years of age when filing Form I-800 (Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative).
Additionally, in order for a child to be classified as a Hague Convention Adoptee, the child must meet the following criteria:
1. Be under the age of 16 at the time of filing Form I-800
2. Habitually reside in a Convention Country
3. Determined to be eligible for intercountry adoption by the Central Authority of that country and have obtained all necessary consents for adoption
4. If the adopting parent is married, the spouse must also sign Form I-800 and adopt the child
5. If the adopting parent is not married, he or she must be at least 25 years of age when filing Form I-800
In addition to the above listed requirements, there are other processes which must be completed before a child can immigrate to the U.S. through adoption. Please consult an immigration attorney who is knowledgeable of these complex processes before you start the immigration through adoption process.
What are the requirements to adopt a child under the Orphan Process?
The Orphan Process is exclusively for foreign born children classified as an orphan under U.S. immigration laws. Additionally, the adopting parent may use the Orphan Process only if:
1. He or she is a U.S. citizen
a. If married, the spouse must also sign Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an
Immediate Relative and must also adopt the child
b. If not married, the applicant must be at least 25 years old when filing Form I-600
2. Establishes that he or she will provide proper parental care to the child
3. Establishes that the child who has been adopted or who is planned to be adopted is an "orphan" as defined under U.S. immigration laws
4. Establish that either:
a. the adopting parent (and the spouse, if married) have adopted the child abroad, and that each person saw the child in person before or during the adoption proceeding
b. the adopting parent will adopt the child in the U.S. after the child arrives here. The applicant must have permission to bring the child out of his or her own country AND to the U.S. for adoption
How does U.S. immigration law define an "orphan"?
Under U.S. immigration law, an orphan is a foreign-born child who:
a. does not have any parents because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents
b. has a sole or surviving parent who is unable to care for the child, consistent with the local standards of the foreign sending country, and who has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption
The applicant 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 the applicant has also adopted and who immigrated (or will immigrate) as:
a. an orphan based on a Form I-600 petition filed before the sibling’s 16th birthday
b. an “adopted child” as defined in Section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provided the actual adoption took place before that sibling’s 16th birthday