Intercountry Adoption

Intercountry Adoption, adoption lawyer los angelesThere are a lot of immigration issues to consider for U.S. citizens adopting children from outside of the United States.

Hague versus Orphan Process

The first step is to determine whether the adoption will fall under the Hague or Orphan process.

  • The Hague Process: if the child habitually resides in a country that is a party to the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention.
  • The Orphan Process: (non-Hague): if the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention does not apply.

Immediate Relative Process

Under this process, an adopted child is considered, for immigration purposes, to be the child (or adult son or daughter) of the adopting parent if: The parent adopted the child before his or her 16th birthday (or before the 18th birthday under certain circumstances as described below). You submit evidence of a full and final adoption and:  The parent had legal and physical custody of the child for at least two years while the child was a minor.  The legal custody must have been the result of a formal grant of custody from a court or other governmental entity, the custody and residence requirement may be met by custody and residence that preceded the adoption, and the two years custody and residence requirements are waived for certain abused children.

A child is still considered to be an adopted child if they were adopted after his or her 16th birthday but before his or her 18th birthday, and:  The child is the birth sibling of another child who was adopted by the same parent(s) before the other child’s 16th birthday and immigrated through the Immediate Relative Process, OR, The child is the birth sibling of another child who was adopted by the same parent(s) before the other child’s 16th birthday and who immigrated as an orphan based on an adoption by the same parent(s).

Who Can Petition Under this Process for a Relative by Adoption?

A U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder) may file a petition under this process.  U.S. citizens may file a petition for an adoption child (unmarried and under 21); unmarried son/daughter over 21; or a married sondaughter.

A permanent resident may file a petition for an adopted child (unmarried and under 21); unmarried son/daughter over 21; or a married son/daughter.