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Children Adopted by U.S. Citizens

Adoption of a foreign child by a U.S. Citizen can be done by two separate processes depending on the country of the child’s origin:

  1. Hague
  2. Orphan (Non-Hague)
  1. HAGUE

The Hague Adoption Convention is an international treaty that provides important safeguards to protect children, adoptive parents, and birth parents who are involved in an international adoption.

The Hague Convention did not become effective in the U.S. until April 1, 2008. Cases filed prior to the effective date may continue to be processed under the current orphan regulations, provided that the continuation of adoption is legal in the child’s country of origin.

In the United States, the Central Authority that regulates international adoption is the Department of State.

All adoption service providers must be accredited and/or authorized to provide adoptions regulated by the Hague convention. Before you solicit the help of an adoption agency, make sure to inquire whether they’re accredited or authorized to work on Hague adoption cases.

An adoption service provider cannot provide legal advice, services, or represent the adoptive parents before the USCIS. You will need to solicit assistance of a licensed attorney.

In order to be eligible to adopt a child from abroad, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a US Citizen;
  • Reside in the US;
  • If you’re married, your spouse must also intend to adopt the child;
  • If you’re not married, you must be at least 24 years of age when you start the process.

Step-by-Step Process:

1. Choose a Hague Accredited Adoption Service Provider, and perhaps also an immigration attorney.

2. Obtain a home study from someone authorized to complete a Hague adoption home study.

3. Before you accept a placement for suitability determination or adopting a child, you should send an Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country to the USCIS.

4. Once the application is approved by the USCIS, obtain a proposed adoption placement by working with the adoption service provider.

5. Before adopting the child, you need to file a Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative with the USCIS to find out whether the child is eligible to immigrate to the US based on the proposed adoption. If you believe that the child you wish to adopt may be inadmissible to the US, you may file an Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility along with the petition. The child must be under 16 when the petition is filed.

6. Proceed to adopt the child, or obtain custody of the child in order to adopt the child in the US.

7. Obtain an immigrant visa for the child.

8. Bring the child to the US with the immigrant visa.



  1. ORPHAN PROCESS (Non-Hague)


Contact Kristy Qiu, Esq., a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale Immigration Attorney to discuss your immigration matter.


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