As a Miami immigration lawyer, I oftentimes help clients who are interested in immigrating to the United States on the basis of intercountry adoption. Below are some frequently asked questions about immigration through adoption. I will be covering the different options on immigration through adoption in a three-part series.

What is immigration through adoption?

Immigration through adoption, or “Intercountry adoption,” refers to the adoption of a child born in one country by an adoptive parent living in another country.  If you have any questions in regard to this process, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration attorney.

How does one immigrate through adoption?

United States immigration law provides three different processes through which someone may immigrate on the basis of an intercountry adoption. An individual may immigrate under one of these provisions only if the individual’s adoption meets all the requirements of that specific process.

Two separate processes apply only to children adopted by U.S. citizens. The child may immigrate immediately after the adoption or may immigrate to the U.S. to be adopted here.

  • 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.

Many aspects of the Hague and Orphan requirements are similar. To learn details about each adoption process, see the links to the specific process under the “Immigration through Adoption” to the left.

Another process applies to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who may petition for his or her adoptive child through an Immediate Relative Petition.  Again, if you have any questions in regard to these processes, it may be beneficial for you to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What is the Hague process?

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international treaty that provides important safeguards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in intercountry adoptions.

The Hague Adoption Convention entered into force in the United States on April 1, 2008. All cases filed on or after April 1, 2008, seeking to adopt a child who habitually resides in any country outside of the United States that is a party to the Convention must follow the Hague process.

What happens if I filed before April 1, 2008?

Under U.S. law, prospective adoptive parents who filed the I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, or the I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, before April 1, 2008, may continue to process their adoptions under the current orphan regulations, provided that the laws of the country of the child’s origin allows for continuation under the current orphan regulations.  Again, you should speak with a Miami immigration lawyer if you have any questions about this process.

What is a Central Authority, and how does it relate to the Hague Process?

A country that is a party to the Convention must have an officially designated Central Authority to ensure that the adoption process is safeguarded.  The U.S. Central Authority is the Department of State (DOS).

What is an Adoption Service Provider (ASP)?

An Adoption Service Provider(ASP) must be accredited or otherwise authorized to provide adoption services in connection with a Hague adoption in order for the provider to assist the prospective adoptive parent(s) with a Hague adoption.  Be sure to ask any adoption service provider whether the adoption service provider is authorized to work on Hague adoption cases before hiring or paying any money to the provider. Again, if you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What are the general steps of the Hague Process?

Be advised that every adoption case is different. However, should you and your Miami immigration lawyer choose to embark upon the Hague Process, your process will probably follow a series of steps similar to these:

  1. Choose a Hague Accredited ASP (and perhaps also an immigration attorney).
  2. Obtain a home study from someone authorized to complete a Hague adoption home study.
  3. Apply to USCIS before adopting a child or accepting a placement for a determination that one is suitable for intercountry adoption.
  4. Once USCIS approves the application, work with the adoption service provider to obtain a proposed adoption placement.
  5. File a “petition” with USCIS, before adopting the child, to have the child to be found eligible to immigrate to the United States based on the proposed adoption.
  6. Adopt the child, or obtain custody of the child in order to adopt the child in the United States.
  7. Obtain an immigrant visa for the child.
  8. Bring the child to the United States for admission with the visa.

Is there an eligibility requirement?

Yes, to be eligible to file Form I-800A, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Habitually reside in the United States
  • If you are married, your spouse must also sign your Form I-800A and must also intend to adopt any child whom you adopt
  • If you are not married, you must be at least 24 years of age when you file your Form I-800A, and you must be 25 years of age when you file your Form I-800

What else do I need to know before petitioning for my child?

After the USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, you may apply to the Central Authority of the other country for a specific adoption placement.  Once the Central Authority has proposed placing a child with you for adoption, but before you actually adopt the child, you must file Form I-800 on behalf of the child to be adopted.  For a child to be classified as a Hague Convention Adoptee, the child must meet the following criteria:

  • Be under the age of 16 at the time of filing Form I-800
  • Habitually reside in a Convention Country
  • Determined to be eligible for intercountry adoption by the Central Authority of that country and have obtained all necessary consents for adoption
  • If you are married, your spouse must also sign the Form I-800 and adopt the child
  • If you are not married, you must be at least 25 when you file the Form I-800

NOTE:  The adoption MUST NOT take place prior to filing Form I-800A/I-800, doing so contradicts the Hague Convention agreement.

As you can see, immigration through adoption not a simple process. If you would like more information on immigration through adoption and/or the Hague Process, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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