Immigrant Visa Requirements for Adopted Children
USCIS Requirements to Satisfy Before Adopting a Foreign Child
Over the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children adopted from abroad by US citizens and brought into the United States. The immigration process for an adopted child can be a tricky process so make sure to consult with an immigration attorney to make sure that you do not make any mistakes now that could lead to problems down the road.
First, before you go to Hoyer Law Firm, you must make sure that the following requirements are met in order to gain permanent residence for an adopted foreign child:
- The home country of the child must permit adoptions by foreigners.
- Check with the home country’s rules regarding the adoption of children from that country and comply with all regulations.
- The child must be under the age of 16 and meet the US definition of an orphan.
- The adoptive parent(s) must be US Citizens. If the adoptive parents are married, then only one parent is required to be a US Citizen. Single adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old.
- In order for the adoption to be finalized in the US, the child must be adopted in the country of origin OR the adoptive parents must gain custody of the child.
- An agency must determine that the adoptive family and the home are suitable for the adoption of a child.
Family Evaluation Prior to the Adoption of a Foreign Child
USCIS authorizes organizations to conduct evaluations of families who are looking to adopt a foreign child. It is suggested that you go through this process before looking for a child for your family because this is a timely process. This procedure is called “Advance Processing” and allows a family to be preapproved for an adoption.
The evaluation will generally include the following:
- An interview of each adult living in the home
- A visit to the home
- A report describing the physical, mental and emotional abilities of the prospective parents
- A report on the financial situation of the prospective parents
- Background checks of the prospective parents which will include any past adoption history, criminal background checks, etc. They will use CRB Direct, to preform the background checks.
- Parental training including a specialized focus on the parenting of an adopted child and the cultural challenges that may arise in the adopting of a foreign child
- Reference check
- Autobiographical statements written by prospective parent(s)
Visas for Adopted Children from Outside of the US
Once the adoption process is completed, the parents can apply for an immigrant visa at the US consular office abroad that has jurisdiction over the area from which the child was adopted. The consular office will require an approved I-600 or I-600A from USCIS and specific documentation to conduct an interview and issue a visa. It is recommended that you contact the consular office prior to scheduling an interview to make sure that you have all of the required documentation.
Keep in mind that the issuance of a visa will not guarantee entrance to the US. This determination is made by the officer at the port of entry.
The Consular Office is required to conduct an investigation called the I-604 Orphan Investigation in order to verify that the child being adopted is an orphan and to make sure that the child does not suffer from a medical condition that the parents do not already know about and are prepared to handle. Part of this investigation will include an examination by a foreign physician who is approved by the US.
There are two types of visas available to internationally adopted children. The first is called the IR-3 and it is for children who have been adopted abroad prior to the issuance of the visa. If a child enters the country on an IR-3 visa, he or she will be automatically granted US citizenship. A Certificate of Citizenship will be mailed to the child within 45 days without the parents needing to complete a separate application.
The other visa is the IR-4. This visa is given to children who will undergo the adoption process in the US as opposed to in his or her home country. This type of visa is available for children whose home country will only allow the foreign parents to gain custody of the child and will not allow children to be adopted by foreign parents OR if the parents have not met and observed the child prior to the adoption process.
In order for the IR-4 visa to be issued, the following requirements must be met:
- The parents (or an agent of the parents) must have legal custody of the child according to the laws in the child’s home country.
- The parent(s) must receive an irrevocable release for adoption and immigration from the person that last had legal custody of the child.
- All requirements for the adoption process in the child’s home country must be followed.
- The state in the US in which the adoptive parent(s) and child will live must allow re-adoption or provide for judicial recognition of a foreign adoption that was invalid for immigration purposes.
In order for a child who is admitted to the US with an IR-4 visa to become a US citizen, he or she must be re-adopted in the US.
The Definition of an Orphan According to the US Government
The foreign child must qualify as an orphan under US law in order to be eligible to be adopted by US citizen parents and brought back into the US.
The legal definition of "orphan" is:
"...a child under the age of sixteen who is an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents, or for whom the sole surviving parent is incapable of providing the proper care (according to the standards of adoptee's country) and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for immigration and adoption."
Adopting a Foreign Child as a Non US Citizen
In order to gain derivative status for a foreign child who you have adopted as a non US Citizen, you must meet all of the requirements associated with derivatives. The most important requirement for most non-US citizens is that you must have resided with the child for at least 2 years and have had legal custody of the child during that time. As a result, you cannot enter the US and then try to adopt a foreign child and bring them with you to the US.
Generally, it is easiest for legal permanent residents in the US to naturalize before adopting foreign children or to return to their home countries before adopting.
Adopting a Foreign Child as a US Citizen Living Abroad
In order to bring a foreign born child into the US after adopting them abroad, you may have the child enter with a B-2 visa and then complete the naturalization process once they are present in the US. Set an appointment with the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over the area where the child is from and start the procedure abroad.
The B-2 visa will be awarded only if the parents can qualify under the 2 year legal custody plus physical custody requirement or have an approved I-600. If the adoptive parents intend to stay living abroad, they must present a USCIS General Call-in Letter, Form G-56.
Immigration Attorney Assistance with Immigration Visa Requirements for Adopted Children
To learn more about the process of adopting foreign born children, please contact immigration attorney direct line (949)228-3922 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org receive a free consultation with immigration attorney. Office hours are Monday to Saturday from 9:00AM to 9:00PM, and email consultation is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Immigration law office located at 2975 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 352 in Los Angeles, California. Free immigration consultation and advice within 24 hours guaranteed.