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Immigration Law Blog

Exploring the ins and outs of immigration.
international adoption

International Adoption and Petitioning for Your Child

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If you are a U.S. citizen and you adopt a child who is not, you most likely want to petition for your child’s citizenship or to immigrate with you to the United States.  This post gives an overview of three manners in which you can petition for your child via international adoption: the N-600K Process, the Hague Process, and the Orphan Process.

International Adoption and the N-600K Process

The N-600K process is for when you have completed an international adoption abroad and you intend to continue residing outside the United States.  Generally, you must prove that you intend to continue residing abroad, and that you were continuously present in the United States for five years prior to the birth of your child, two of which were after you turned 14 years old.  However, if you cannot meet the physical presence requirement, a U.S. citizen grandparent’s physical presence can be used.  We’ve written a blog post with more detail about the N-600K process.

International Adoption and the Hague Process

If you live in the United States and want to adopt a child from abroad, the initial question for immigration purposes is whether your child is the citizen of a Hague country or a non-Hague country. Countries are differentiated by whether they are participants in the Hague Adoption Convention, which is an international treaty that provides safeguards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in intercountry adoptions.  The Department of State publishes a list of Hague countries.

From an immigration perspective there are two separate petitions that must be filed with USCIS in order to adopt your child.  First, you must file an I-800A after you complete your home study and ask USCIS to determine you are suitable for inter country adoption.  Then, once your child has been identified but before the actual adoption, you must file an I-800 to USCIS and ask that your child be found eligible to immigrate to the United States.

International Adoption and the Orphan Process

If you are planning an international adoption from a non-Hague country, you most likely will use the “orphan process.”  If you have already identified the child whom you wish to adopt, you can file the I-600 and request that USCIS find that you are suitable to adopt and that your child is an eligible orphan at the same time.  If you have not yet identified a child, you can file an I-600A to petition that USCIS find you suitable to adopt, and then you would file an I-600 once you have identified your child, without having to address the issue of your suitability again.

Depending on what type of visa your child enters the U.S. with, you may also need to file an N-600 to receive their Certificate of Citizenship.