Requirements for Eligibility:
Only US citizens can adopt a child in the United States. In case of married couples, at least one of them needs to be the citizen of US in order to adopt a foreign born child. It is also important that the child must be lawfully available for adoption. U.S. immigration law makes a distinction between the adoption of foreign born children and the adoption of orphans.
The procedures for processing green card through adoption are different for a non-orphan child and an orphan child. The adoption of foreign born children involves a three step procedure, which is similar to that of family-based petitions.
An orphan is able to obtain a green card only if he/she is adopted by a citizen of United States. Here, it is not enough that the adopting parents hold the permanent residency status.
If a U.S. citizen wishes to sponsor his adopted foreign born child for green card and citizenship, he must recognize the followings:
- the child was adopted before his/her 16th birthday;
- the adoptive parents have had lawful custody of the adopted children for two years; and
- the adopted child has been staying with the petitioner for at least two years.
The petitioner must submit the following documents to the USCIS for processing green card through adoption:
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship. If the petitioner is married and residing in the US, he or she must provide proof of his or her spouse’s US citizenship or legal immigration status, as well as evidence that he or she is married and that any previous marriages ended lawfully;
- A full and recent home study within prescribed time limits;
- Confirmation that the petitioner complies with the pre-adoption requirements existing in the laws of the US state where they live;
- And the necessary filing fee.
The petitioner must provide the following information about an orphan child:
- The child’s birth certificate or other evidences of child’s age and identity;
- Evidence that that the child is an orphan as defined by the INA; A final decree of adoption (if applicable);
- Evidence of lawful custody of the child for immigration and adoption (if applicable); and
- Evidence of conformity with the pre-adoption requirements (if applicable).
The quickest way to bring a foreign born orphan into the US:
The quickest way is to apply for “advance processing”. This process involves filing Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) with the USCIS office, before the applicant actually finds a foreign born orphan to adopt. This process also enables the USCIS to first process the application that relates to the applicant’s capability for providing a proper home atmosphere and his suitability as a parent. Then, when the applicant finds a child who satisfies all the INA definitions of a foreign born orphan, then the applicant must file the I-600 Form (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) in behalf of the child.
Grounds of inadmissibility:
Similar to all green card candidates, children are subject to the grounds of inadmissibility. For example, children who have been caught for certain crimes or suffered severe illness (physical or mental) may inadmissible from obtaining a green card. Exceptions and waivers may be available in some cases and under certain circumstances.