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How to Get a Visa for International Adoption

If you are at the point where you need to obtain a visa for your child, then your international adoption is almost complete. Once you’ve completed this step, you will be ready to take your child home and begin your life as a new family.
To receive your child’s visa, you will need to follow procedures to gain approval from the United States and from the child’s country of birth. Each of these procedures, along with the order in which you must complete them, can be found in the information below.

Apply to USCIS

Before travelling to your child’s country, you will have already applied to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A or Form I-600A). At this point in the adoption, you will apply for the child to be eligible to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800 or Form I-600). Depending on where you adopt, you may also need to include other documents when you send in this form.

Submit Immigrant Visa Application

After you’ve been approved by USCIS, you will need to apply for an immigrant visa in your child’s country of birth. This is done through the DS-260 form. As long as you have completed all the necessary previous steps (home study, etc.) and your child is eligible for adoption by the country’s standards, then everything should proceed normally.

Gain Custody of the Child

When you arrive in the country, you will at some point go through the adoption process of that country. Depending on the country you adopt from and whether or not both parents were there to meet the child, you will either complete your adoption in the country or gain legal custody and complete the adoption when you return home.

Visa Interview

Before you obtain your visa, you will need to meet with the embassy or consulate in the child’s country of birth to have a visa interview. This is the final step to make sure that the child is eligible for adoption and that the process was completed correctly.

Hague vs. Non-Hague Process

While the process of obtaining a visa for your child is fairly similar in a Hague and non-Hague adoption, there are some differences in when you will take certain steps. Below, you can see the order of the process in Hague and non-Hague adoptions:

Hague Adoption:

  1. Submit an I-800 form to USCIS
  2. Submit Form DS-260 to the child’s birth country
  3. Obtain legal custody of child
  4. Have visa interview
  5. Receive visa

Non-Hague Adoption:

  1. Obtain legal custody of child
  2. Submit I-600 to USCIS – Also include child’s original birth certificate and evidence of the adoption or intent to adopt
  3. Complete Form DS-260
  4. Have visa interview – submit form DS-260 at this interview
  5. Receive visa

Once you have received your child’s visa, you will be ready to bring your child home and take the final steps to growing your family. As you prepare for this stage of your adoption, you can learn more about the visa process or speak to your adoption professional about specific questions.