Before You Start
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with each adoption process as there are important differences. An adoption agency will be able to help you arrange an adoption placement, but cannot represent you before USCIS or advise you on the legal aspects of your child’s immigration. If you want representation with adoption proceedings you may want to consider obtaining an attorney.
The intercountry adoption process is governed by three different sets of laws:
- U.S. federal law
- The laws of the child’s country of birth.
- The laws of where you reside (U.S. state/territory or foreign country).
There are three different processes to immigrate your adopted child:
- Hague Adoptions
- Orphan Adoptions (Non-Hague)
- Immigrating Other Adopted Children
For additional information see the guide A3: I am a U.S. citizen – How do I help my adopted child immigrate to the United States or become a U.S. citizen? (PDF). This guide explains the three different ways a child born abroad can become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or U.S. citizen based on an adoption by a U.S. citizen or LPR. Each process is distinct and has different eligibility requirements. This resource may be helpful for families who are interested in learning more about the intercountry adoption process.
Home studies are very important to the intercountry adoption process. Visit the Home Study Information page to learn:
- What is a home study?
- Who can conduct a home study?
- What are the home study requirements?
When to Contact Us
We are committed to deciding cases as promptly as possible. For information about how long you can expect your case to take please visit the Processing Times page. If your case has not been decided within the regular processing time, you should contact us at the USCIS Adoptions Contact Information page.
After the Adoption
The process does not stop with the adoption. Make sure you understand citizenship requirements and how to obtain documentation of citizenship. For more information please visit the After Approval section.