Immigration through adoption is the act of adopting a child who is born in a country different from the adoptive parent. This may also be referred to as intercountry adoption. For children being adopted by U.S. citizens, there are two main processes for immigration through adoption, and the individual to be adopted may immigrate if he or she meets all the requirements of one of these processes: The Hague Process or the Orphan Process.
Step for the Hague Process: the child lives in a country that is a party to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention
1. Choose a Hague Accredited ASP (and perhaps also an immigration attorney).
2. Obtain a home study from someone authorized to complete a Hague adoption home study.
3. Apply to USCIS before adopting a child or accepting a placement for a determination that one is suitable for intercountry adoption.
4. Once USCIS approves the application, work with the adoption service provider to obtain a proposed adoption placement.
5. File 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. Adopt the child, or obtain custody of the child in order to adopt the child in the United States.
7. Obtain an immigrant visa for the child.
8. Bring the child to the United States for admission with the visa
For the Orphan Process: (non-Hague) if the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention does not apply
1. You 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 you have also adopted
2. Confirm that the child is an orphan as defined in the U.S. immigration law
3. Verify that you have obtained a valid adoption or grant of custody
4. Determine whether the child has any special needs that were not fully addressed in your home study
5. Determine whether there are any facts showing that the child does not qualify for immigration as your adopted child
There is an additional process for U.S. citizens or permanent residents to petition for an adoptive child through an Immediate Relative Petition.