Official Website of the United States Department of Homeland Security
Share This PageShare This Page PrintPrint

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. USCIS plays a key role in the intercountry adoption process. 

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. For more information go to our Other Adoption Related Immigration page.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/08/2011