Children who are adopted in foreign countries do not gain automatic entry into the U.S. Instead, the adopting parents are required to comply with specific immigration rules before their adopted children can legally join them in the U.S. The exact rules you will need to comply with depends on the country you are adopting from and whether the child in question is orphaned or not.
There are two options for bringing an adopted child to the U.S. While facilitating the migration, you can process the child either as an orphan or a non-orphan adopted child.
Bringing an adopted child to the United States through the Orphan Process
The Orphan Process, as the name indicates, allows U.S. citizens to adopt orphaned children from other countries. Legally, an orphan is a child that does not have either parent due to death, disappearance or loss from both parents. An orphaned child may be immigrated through the Orphan Process if:
- You are a citizen of the U.S. and at least 25 years old if not married. If you are married, your spouse or legal partner must sign form 1-600 and also adopt the child in question.
- You provide proof that you will be able to provide proper parental care to the child
- You provide proof that the child you are planning to adopt meets the definition of “orphan” as defined in the U.S. immigration law.
Bringing an adopted child to the U.S. through the Hague Process
The Hague Process is an international treaty that protects the interests of children as well as birth and adoptive parents. This process specifically applies to U.S. citizens looking to adopt children from qualified countries that are considered eligible for inter-country adoption. To be eligible, you must:
- Be an American citizen
- Be a habitual resident of the U.S.
- If married, your spouse must sign form I-800A and be ready to adopt the child in question
- If you are not married, you must be at least 25 years of age and sign form I-800.
Children from other countries who are adopted by U.S. citizens can be eligible for U.S. citizenship. However, you must meet specific requirements before your adopted child can migrate to the U.S. and become a citizen.