U.S. citizens and green card holders who wish to adopt a child from a foreign country need to know how to find and adopt a child, how the legal process works in the foreign country, and how to obtain learn more about obtaining a green card through adoption.
A good place to start is at the government’s adoption page on the State Departmetnt website.
The State Department (DOS) has established a special website in which they answer frequently asked questions about the role of the U.S. government; provide general guidelines; explain the foreign adoption process; detail the naturalization and US immigration requirements; and provide links to useful public and private organizations.
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United States immigration law provides three different processes through which someone may immigrate on the basis of an intercountry adoption. An individual may immigrate under one of these provisions only if the individual’s adoption meets all the requirements of that specific process.
Two separate processes apply only to children adopted by U.S. citizens. The child may immigrate immediately after the adoption or may immigrate to the U.S. to be adopted here.
(1) The Hague Process: if the child habitually resides in a country that is a party to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention.
(2) The Orphan Process: (non-Hague): if the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention does not apply.
Many aspects of the Hague and Orphan requirements are similar. To learn details about each adoption process, see the links to the specific process under the “Immigration through Adoption” to the left.
(3) Another process applies to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who may petition for his or her adoptive child through an Immediate Relative Petition.
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Green Card Through Adoption: Additional Resources
- Green Card Through Adoption (USCIS)
- Adoptions from the U.S. (State Department)
- Adoption by Non-U.S. Citizens Living in the U.S. (State Department)
- Understanding the Hague Convention (State Department)
- AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on Application for Certificate of Naturalization of Adopted Children
- AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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