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Home International Adoptions
International Adoptions - Lawyer
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International Adoptions
Department of Homeland Security Approval
Foreign Adoption Process
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International Adoptions

AdoptionAdoption law creates the legal relationship of parent and child between persons who are not each other's biological parent or child. It is largely a product of state law. Adoption laws vary from state to state. There are also different types of a legal adoption. But whether you decide go through an adoption agency or to adopt from a private person, a decree of adoption usually means that the legal relationship of the adopted child is completely severed with its biological parents and family.

To complete an international adoption and bring a child to the United States, prospective adoptive parent(s) must fulfill the requirements set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS), the foreign country in which the child resides and sometimes the state of residence of the adoptive parent(s).

These requirements may appear daunting but at the Law Offices of Bita Hamidi we will help you in every step and provide you with expert legal advice to unite your family.

There are two legal ways to bring an adopted child into the county.
  • Immigration/Adoption of child based on 2 years residence through submitting Form I-130: If you adopt a child before the child turns 16, and you live with the child for two years as the child's primary caregivers, then you may file an I-130petition for an alien relative., The petition may be filed after the 16th birthday, and the two years may cumulate after the 16th birthday.
  • Immigration /Adoption of an orphan through submitting Form I-600: If you adopt or intend to adopt a child who meets the legal definition of an orphan, you may petition for that child at any time prior to the child's 16th birthday, even if the adoption takes place subsequently (and in certain cases, the adoption does not occur until the child comes to the U.S.)

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security Approval

Adoptive and prospective adoptive parent(s) must comply with U.S. immigration procedures, initiated through the USCIS in the United States in order to bring an adoptive child to the U.S. Simply locating a child in a foreign country and going to the U.S. Embassy to obtain a visa for the child will not meet these requirements. An orphan cannot be brought to the United States without a visa, which is based upon an USCIS approved petition (form I-600).

The Orphan Petition form has two parts: I-600 and I-600A. The I-600 is used when the adoptive parents have identified a specific child. The I-600 is filed with the appropriate office of the USCIS in the United States . The USCIS adjudicates all aspects of the I-600 petition - including the suitability of the adoptive parent(s), compliance with any state pre-adoption requirements (if the child is to be adopted after entry into the United States), and the qualifications of the child as an orphan within the meaning of section 101(b)(1)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. When the petition has been approved, the USCIS notifies the U.S. embassy or consulate that processes visas for residents of the child's country. At the same time, the approved I-600 petition and supporting documents are sent to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire , where the petition is assigned a computer tracking code and then mailed to the appropriate U.S. consular office abroad.

The I-600A form should be filed if the prospective adoptive parent(s) have not yet identified a child or intend to go abroad to locate a child for adoption. Like the I-600, this application is filed at the local USCIS office in the United States with jurisdiction over the place of residence of the adoptive parent(s). USCIS evaluates the suitability of the prospective adoptive parent(s). When the application is approved, notification is sent to the adoptive parents and to the appropriate U.S. mission in the country where the parents have indicated they would like to adopt. Once the parents have located a specific child, they must file an I-600 Petition. The parents may file the I-600 petition either with their local USCIS office in the United States or with the U.S. consular office overseas. Although only one parent must be physically present to file the I-600 petition overseas, that parent must be a U.S. citizen. A third party may not file the petition on the parents' behalf, even with a valid Power of Attorney. In addition, if only one of the two parents travels, the petition must nevertheless be properly executed (signed) by both parents after it has been completely filled out. This means one parent cannot sign for the other parent and neither parent may sign the petition until all the details about the child have been entered on the form.

The Foreign Adoption Process

Although adoption procedures vary from country to country, most countries require that prior to any court action, a child placed for adoption be legally recognized as an orphan or, in the case where a parent is living, be legally and irrevocably released for adoption in a manner provided for under local foreign law. In addition, the adoption laws in most countries require the full adoption of the child in the foreign court after the child has been declared an orphan or released by the living parent to an appropriate foreign authority. Some countries do allow simple adoption, which means that the adopting parent(s) can be granted guardianship of the child by the foreign court. This will permit the child to leave the foreign country to be adopted in the country of the adopting parent(s). A few countries do allow adoptive parents to adopt through a third party without actually traveling to that country. It is important to note that a foreign country's determination that the child is an orphan does not guarantee that the child will be considered an orphan under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, since the foreign country may use different standards. Questions, which involve interpretation of specific foreign laws, should be addressed to a foreign attorney operating in the country where the adoption will take place.

Some countries accept the properly authenticated home study of the prospective adoptive parent(s) at face value, while other countries also require a personal appearance by the adoptive parent(s) before the foreign court. Sometimes, countries require a period of residence by one or both adoptive parents. In these cases, prospective adoptive parents may find it necessary to spend an extended period in the foreign country awaiting the completion of the foreign adoption documents. Additionally, several countries require a post-adoption follow-up conducted by the adoption agency or the foreign country's consul in the United States .

Immigrant Visas

When the foreign adoption (or guardianship process in those countries that allow guardianship) is completed, the adoptive parent(s) can apply for an immigrant visa (IR-3 for a child adopted abroad or IR-4 for a child to be adopted in the United States ) at the appropriate U.S. consular office abroad. In addition to the notification of the approved I-600 or I-600A petition from the USCIS, the consular officer also requires specific documentation to conduct a visa interview and to approve visa issuance.