International Adoption

The U.S. immigration laws provide for three methods for passing status to a child adopted from overseas. The first two methods of international adoption apply only to U.S. citizens over the age of 25.

International Adoption

First there is the Hague Process wherein a U.S. citizen parent or parents may adopt a child from an overseas country that is a party to the Hague Convention through the rules provided for by the Convention. The second process is called the Orphan Process. In general, a U.S. citizen will use the orphan process to adopt a child from overseas who is determined to be an orphan and who is not being adopted from a country that is a party to the Hague Convention. For the Hague Convention process, the adoptive parent must work with a Hague Accredited Adoption Service Provider to satisfy various requirements. The relevant forms are the Form I-800A and Form I-800. The adoptive parent must present evidence to USCIS that the child is an “orphan” as defined in the immigration laws. The adoptive parents’ household must undergo a home study completed by someone authorized to conduct such home studies in the adoptive parent’s state. Children can be adopted while overseas (IR3/IH3) or may be admitted into the United States in order for the adoption to be completed (IR4/IH4). Under both processes, the child will be able to acquire U.S. citizenship through one or both of his or her parents as the child of a U.S. citizen after residing for at least two years with the adoptive parent.

The third process for according status through international adoption is the immediate relative petition. This process is available to lawful permanent residents as well as U.S. citizens. Provided that a legal adoption has taken place and the child meets the requirements for qualifying as an adopted child under the immigration laws, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent may file an immigrant visa petition on behalf of the child after the child resides for two years with the adoptive parent.

In order to qualify as an adoptive child for U.S. immigration purposes, the child must have been adopted before his or her 16th birthday (or 18th birthday if the child is the natural born sibling of a child who was adopted before his or her 16th birthday by the same parent(s)). Furthermore, the child must reside for at least 2 years with the adoptive parent(s). However, the 2-year requirement is waived if the child is subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or LPR by the adopting parent or by a family member of the adopting parent resided in the same household.

International adoptions are often quite complicated, and as such, it is well advised that prospective adoptive parents looking to adopt a child from overseas consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, PLLC, we have extensive experience in working with parents who are looking to make a new home with an adopted child.

List of Hague Convention Countries

If eligible U.S. citizen parents seek to adopt a child from abroad from a country that is a member of the Hague Convention, the adoption must be done through the Hague Process. The Hague Process requires the applicant(s) to follow the requirements of the Hague Convention as implemented through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of State (DOS) regulations. If U.S. citizen parents seek to adopt a child from a non-convention country, the adoption must follow the rules in the implementation regulations for orphan adoptions instead. This article contains the list Hague Convention countries for which the Hague Process must be followed for international adoptions.

Post-Adoption Reporting Requirements for Kazakhstan

Under Kazakhstani family law, adoptive parents of children from Kazakhstan are required to submit post-adoption reports every six months for the first three years after the adoption was finalized, and annually until the child reaches 18 years of age. These reports must be submitted to the Adoption Committee at the Ministry of Education and Science. The DOS notice explains that Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science is requesting the submission of all outstanding post-adoption reports for Kazakhstani children adopted by U.S. families. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science has found 220 post-adoption reports that have not been submitted in accord with Kazakh law.

China Changes Requirements for Adoption Dossiers Submitted by Foreigners

The DOS explains that the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) changed the requirements for adoption dossiers submitted by foreigners. The full list of changes and requirements can be found on the CCCWA website. In this post, we examine some of the key changes.

Delays in Processing of Intercountry Adoptions from Haiti

On August 4, 2017, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a notice regarding intercountry adoption from Haiti titled “Court Clerk Strike Delays Processing of Intercountry Adoptions.” The notice explains that there are delays in processing time for completing an intercountry adoption from Haiti due to a strike initiated by court clerks and bailiffs throughout Haiti. Due to the strike, courts in all 18 of Haiti’s jurisdictional districts have been closed since July 3, 2017.

Investigation and Convictions in Adoption Fraud Scheme

On August 14, 2017, the Department of Justice announced that three individuals were sentenced in connection with adoption fraud schemes. In this article, we will examine the facts of the investigation and the underlying fraud.

Rwanda Lifts Temporary Suspension of Intercountry Adoptions

On November 13, 2017, the Department of State published a notice on the decision of the Government of Rwanda to lift its long-standing temporary suspension of intercountry adoptions. The Rwandan Government made the announcement that it would lift the temporary suspension of intercountry adoptions on September 12, 2017. The temporary suspension of intercountry adoptions in Rwanda had been in place since August 31, 2010.

Continued Delays in Intercountry Adoption from Ethiopia

On April 21, 2017, the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office suspended intercountry adoptions. Although intercountry adoptions have resumed, prospective adoptive parents have been reporting substantial process delays. In this post, we provide a series of updates on the intercountry adoption situation for Ethiopia.

New Guidance for Intercountry Adoptions of Japanese Children

On May 15, 2018, the DOS published an updated Japan adoption notice explaining that the Japanese Government has made clear that, under Japanese law, “the intercountry adoption of Japanese children requires authorization by Japanese courts.” In light of the Japanese Government’s clarifying its policy, the DOS advised prospective adoptive parents “that it is not possible under Japanese law to transfer custody for purposes of intercountry adoption to the United States until a Japanese court has granted a special adoption.”

Increased Waiting Period for Adoption Approvals in Ukraine

On December 15, 2017, the new Civil Code of Ukraine took effect. The new Civil Code of Ukraine extends the appeal period for all civil cases from 10 days to 30 days. This extension includes Ukrainian adoption decrees, making it important to note for U.S. parents seeking to adopt from Ukraine.

Effect of USCIS Seoul Field Office Closure on South Korea Adoption Cases

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will close its Seoul (South Korea) Field Office to the public on August 17, 2019. Thus, beginning on August 17, 2019, the USCIS Seoul Field Office will no longer accept or process new Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, or Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative petitions.