Adopting a child from overseas can be a complex, exciting and rewarding journey. Each year, thousands of U.S. citizens adopt children from overseas. This is known as an intercountry adoption.
What You Need to Know
When children are adopted from outside the United States, they must go through an immigration process. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines the eligibility and suitability of prospective adoptive parents (individuals) looking to adopt and the eligibility of children to immigrate to the United States.
U.S. immigration law provides three different processes for children to immigrate to the United States based on their intercountry adoption. Children may only immigrate under one of the three processes and they must meet all of the requirements for the selected process.
- If you are a U.S. citizen adopting children internationally, you may use either the Hague or the Orphan (non Hague) process. Under these processes, a child may immigrate immediately after the adoption or may immigrate to the U.S. to be adopted here. The adoption process that may be available will depend in part on whether a child is from country that is party to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Depending on what country you choose to adopt from will determine which process you will adopt by.
- The third process applies to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who may petition for their adoptive children through a Family-Based Petition.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website is the best place to start learning about intercountry adoption.
Visit these webpages:
- Before You Start webpage introduces the intercountry adoption process
- Immigration through Adoption webpage describes the intercountry adoption-related immigration processes
Additionally, visit the U.S. Department of State Intercountry Adoption website for more information about individual country requirements, alerts and information about adoption service providers.
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) has a Call Center to assist you during your adoption process.
- Call 877-424-8374 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Become as familiar as you can with the intercountry adoption laws, processes, resources and contacts.
An adoption service provider will be able to help you arrange an international adoption placement, but cannot represent you before USCIS or advise you on the legal aspects of a child's immigration. An attorney can provide legal advice or representation for adoption proceedings.