The Petition

If you are an American Citizen and wish to adopt a child abroad, the child will need a special visa in order to enter the U.S. (your legal adoption of the child abroad does not automatically make the child an American Citizen and does not automatically entitle the child to enter the U.S.).

The part of the U.S. Government that handles the initial paperwork necessary for your adoptive child to enter and live in the U.S. is Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS). This used to be known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), but is now part of the Department of Homeland Security. Regardless of how much help you will get from the adoption agency and others at home and/or abroad, you'll need to eventually work directly with the USCIS.

Luckily, they've put together a pretty detailed guide on adoption.

An important point to remember is that no matter how much assistance you receive from an agency, attorney or other person, you are ultimately responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the information you provide. It makes sense then to understand what the USCIS is requesting before you begin to work with others to prepare the petition.

The rules and procedures about adopting overseas vary significantly depending on whether your child is or is not an “orphan” as the USCIS defines “orphan”.

A key step toward expediting the paperwork/visa side of an international adoption is filing Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition).

Understand that the petition and visa process allow for the adjudication of you and your child's “request” to become a family; it is very important to know at the onset that the process is not an entitlement.

Not to pour more chilly water on you, but the USCIS warns that

”...adoption of a foreign-born child does not guarantee the child's eligibility to immigrate to the United States. If the orphan petition is approved, the child is considered to be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen and the child can get an immigrant visa right away without being put on a visa waiting list. The child still must qualify for an immigrant visa just like any other foreign-born person. For example, the child may be inadmissible if he or she has a contagious disease of public health significance.”

User Feedback

Related Adoption Articles