What to Know about Visas for Foreign Adoptions
If you are adopting a child from another country, you must be prepared to take a few extra steps when it comes to securing a United States birth certificate. No matter what country you adopt from, most foreign adoption agencies just want to make sure that the child is going to a safe, loving, and appropriate home, but the rules about bringing that child home to the United States differs depending on how much of the adoption was completed overseas. To get a quick overview of the types of Visas required to bring the new member of your family home, read on.
Complete the adoption proceedings before leaving the child's birthplace country:
The type of Visa required depends on whether or not the country where the child was adopted from was a Hague Convention country.
- If the adoption was from a Hague Convention country, you will apply for and be issued an IH-3 Visa.
- If the adoption was from a non-Hague Convention country you will apply for and be issued an IR-3 Visa.
The benefit of this type of Visa situation is that your child will automatically become a United States citizen upon entering the country (once you clear customs at the airport or boat terminal or once you cross the border if entering by car). You will be sent a document in the mail a few weeks later that will allow you to apply for a birth certificate.
Complete the adoption process once you arrive in the United States:
If the child is from a Hague Convention country, you will apply for and be issued an IH-4 Visa.
If the child is from a non-Hague Convention country, you will apply for an be issued an IR-4 Visa.
These types of Visas require you to complete the adoption in the United States through the courts. You must also apply fro a Certificate of Citizenship.
Complete the adoption through court
For parents who don't want to take any chances on their adoption being legally recognized by all 50 states, it's advised that you formally address the adoption through the courts. Not all states recognize adoptions from certain countries, so taking the time to officially legalize the adoption is recommended, no matter where your had the adoption processed. If a state fails to recognize that a child is legally adopted and, thus, a U.S. citizen, it could mean complications with everything from inheritances to how a felony crime is addressed in those states.
To learn more about adoption requirements for foreign countries, contact a family lawyer.