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DownloadLearn more about how the immigration process works and help you with your immigration concerns and questions. The Charleston USA Immigration Law Center is here to support you in your goal to become a United States citizen.

International Foreign Adoptions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the USCIS?
An agency of the federal government formally called the Immigration & Naturalization Service dealing primarily with aliens to the U.S. It is now called U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Can I bring a foreign adoptive child to the U.S. without involving the USCIS?
No, all immigration into the U.S. involves the approval of the USCIS.

How many countries are Hague convention members?
Currently, eighty seven countries with more online to ratify the treaty. A list of them is on the Department of State website. However, certain member countries procedures are not approved by the U.S. State Department and therefore adoption is not allowed from them.

Should I avoid countries with war, political upheaval & social unrest?
Yes, beware, the adoption may never be approved within the host country, your money may go to fund a war or a revolution and with so many displaced children it becomes increasing difficult to ascertain who is truly an orphan.

What is the Child Citizen Act?
A law enacted in 2001 that decrees, among other things, that foreign children adopted by U.S. citizens automatically become U.S. citizens when they immigrate.

I have selected an Adoption Service Provider (ASP). May it work in the foreign country of my choice?
No, unless the foreign country has determined that ASP can perform adoption services in its country. Each country will determine which ASP can work in its country.

I want to adopt a relative from a Muslim country which does not recognize adoptions. Any suggestions?
Since Shar'ia law bars adoptions and certain Muslin governments also bar adoption, only a hybrid of The Orphan Process may be available. In such cases the foreign country court, like Pakistan, grant guardianship which would allow leaving that country. In such a case the adoption would be completed in the U.S. similar to a re-adoption. But understand this hybrid is a very fluid aspect of adoption and is constantly changing. Consult your immigration attorney.

I want to adopt a child from India and already have both a son and a daughter. Are there any problems?
Yes, remember you must comply with U.S. law and India law. Since India law does not allow adoption of a child of the same sex as any of your existing children and you have one of each, you are barred unless the current law changes.

Must I use an Adoption Service Provider?
Yes, for The Hague Process & The Orphan Process adoptions.

I am a single U.S. citizen over 25. Can I adopt an orphan for China?
No, China law requires that adoptee parents be married and between 30 and 50 years of age.

Can green card holders adopt a relative from their home country?
Yes, provided the adoption is complete before the relative is 16 and after you have had custody and resided with the child for two years.

We are green card holders (permanent residents) who adopted my husband's sister's daughter, who is 12 and lived with her in England for 5 years. May we immigrate her to the U.S.?
Yes, following The Immediate Relative Process.

Do U.S. citizens have to reside with an adoptee for 2 years to establish custody and residence?
No, these type of adoptions are exempt as Orphan Exemptions.

We are U.S. citizens living overseas and want to adopt. Where do we file our initial paperwork?
File the initial paperwork with the Embassy or Consular Post where you are now living, then follow the responding instructions.

My Advanced Processing form and fee were filed over 18 months ago and I now want to file my Petition for Adoption. Should I pay another fee?
Yes, all fees must again be paid since 18 months have elapsed.

We reside in a foreign country and want to adopt. Who should do our home study and the report?
A home study provider licensed in your foreign country of residence.

Can my wife and I just fly to a foreign country, visit orphanages and find a child then begin the adoption process?
Maybe, but it is strongly not an attempt we recommend. There is no guarantee that child will be available for adoption or that such action will be sanctioned. Better to follow the rules to the letter.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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