Obtaining a Lawful Permanent Residency through adoption has become a complex field of law, which requires adoptive parents to follow certain international treaties and procedures. Different sets of rules and procedures apply to obtaining an immigrant visa abroad depending whether the child is a habitual resident of a Hague Adoption Convention country or a Non-Hague Adoption Convention country. Further, Hague Adoption Convention applies only to adoption by a U.S. Citizen and it does not apply to adoption by a Lawful Permanent Resident.

Hague Convention Adoption

The Hague Adoption Convention is an international treaty entered into by over 70 countries with a common goal—to safeguard and unify the standards of international adoption while prioritizing the best interests of the child. For prospective adoptive parents in the United States, understanding the Hague Adoption Convention is crucial when considering intercountry adoption.

The rules and procedures outlined in the Hague Adoption Convention are mandatory when the intercountry adoption takes place between the United States and one of the Hague Adoption Convention countries. Additionally, these procedures apply in every “orphan” adoption case involving Hague Adoption Convention countries.

To determine which countries are part of the Hague Adoption Convention, you can visit the Department of State’s website for the current list of member countries. This information is essential for prospective adoptive parents to ensure compliance with the Convention. It’s important to note that the Hague Adoption Convention applies exclusively to adoptions by U.S. citizens. Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders) are not subject to the Hague Convention in their adoption processes. Even if a Lawful Permanent Resident later becomes a U.S. citizen, the child’s adoption and immigration are not regulated by the Hague Convention.

If you are considering a Hague adoption, here’s what you need to know:

  • Prospective adoptive parents must meet specific eligibility criteria outlined by their home country and the country from which they plan to adopt.
  • A home study is a crucial step in the process. It involves an assessment of your home, background checks, interviews, and references to determine your suitability as adoptive parents.
  • Adoption agencies involved in Hague adoptions must be accredited or approved by the competent authority in their home country.
  • Once approved, you will be matched with a child whose needs and characteristics align with your family’s capabilities.
  • After the match, the child will be placed with you, often through an interim care facility or foster care, depending on the child’s country of origin.
  • You will be required to provide post-placement reports to ensure the well-being of the adopted child in their new environment.
  • The adoption process is finalized in both the child’s home country and your home country to grant legal and permanent custody.

Orphan Intercountry Adoption

Orphan intercountry adoption involves adopting a child who has been deemed an orphan under the immigration laws of your home country. Here are the key steps:

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements set by your home country, which may include age, marital status, and income.
  • A home study is typically required to assess your suitability as adoptive parents.
  • You can identify a child through an adoption agency, an orphanage, or a child welfare authority in the child’s home country.
  • The child must meet the definition of an orphan under your country’s immigration laws, which usually means they have no parents able to provide for them.
  • Once you are matched with a child, you’ll proceed with placement and obtaining the necessary immigration visa for the child.
  • The adoption process is finalized in your home country, granting you legal and permanent custody.

To learn more about the process chart of Hague and Orphan intercountry adoption process, USCIS website can be accessed here.

Non-Hague Convention Adoption

Certain countries are not members of the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore, Inter-country adoption between the United States and the non-Hague Adoption Convention countries must follow non-Hague Adoption Convention rules and procedures.

Adopting a Relative Abroad

Foreign-born relatives can be adopted by the extended family members, if the child qualifies for adoption under U.S. law and their country’s laws. Foreign-born children may qualify to immigrate to the United States if the following requirements are met:

  • The adoption of the child must occur before their 16th birthday
  • The adoptive parents must have legal custody of the child
  • The adoptive parents must have resided with the child for at least two years at the time of filing an immigrant visa petition

A child who lives in a country that is a member of the Hague Adoption Convention must meet the Convention standard of an adoptee. The Department of State’s website can be accessed for more information about adopting a relative at: Adoption State

Foreign Born Orphans

To qualify for an immigrant visa, a child in Hague Adoption Convention countries must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee. A foreign-born child in non-Hague Adoption Convention countries must meet the U.S. definition of an orphan. A foreign-born child may qualify to immigrate to the United States as an orphan if the following requirements are met:

  • Both of the child parents have died, or the child has a sole or surviving parent who is unable to care for the child and has released the child for emigration and adoption
  • The immigrant visa petition must be filed with the USCIS before the child’s 16th birthday

At The Ahluwalia Firm, Our Emphasis is on

  • Providing careful review of your personal circumstances
  • Providing dependable advice and assistance on how to present yourself at the U.S. Consulate interview
  • Providing careful coordination of all correspondence with government agencies
  • Ensuring a service-delivery model that meets and exceeds your satisfaction

For additional information about our ability to assist you in obtaining green card through adoption, contact us for reliable advice.


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