South Florida Attorney Handling International Adoptions
Adoption can be a long, exhausting, and costly process, especially when the child you want to adopt is a foreign national. However, when it’s done right with the help of a competent immigration lawyer in South Florida, it can be a very rewarding experience. If you’re a U.S. citizen who’s interested in adopting a child from abroad to bring to the United States to reside, then you need to first obtain an immigrant visa for the child. In order to obtain that visa, the child must be found eligible to immigrate to the United States under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A child eligible for a visa under the INA is one who is adopted abroad under the age of 16, who has been in the legal custody of, and who has resided with, his or her adoptive parent(s) for at least two years.
Since most U.S. citizens cannot reside abroad to satisfy the two-year requirement, they can obtain an immigrant visa for their adoptive child in one of two ways:
Adopted child is from a member country of the Hague Adoption Convention: A child residing in a Convention country and eligible for adoption is called a “Convention adoptee.” In order for a child to qualify as a Convention adoptee, the following elements must be met:
1. must be under the age of 16 at the time his or her immigration visa petition (Form I-800) is filed; or
2. aged 16-17 and the biological sibling of a child already adopted or to be adopted by the same prospective adoptive parents; or
3. aged 18 on or after April 1, 2008, the biological sibling of a child already adopted or to be adopted by the same prospective adoptive parents, and having Form I-800 filed on his or her behalf by November 30, 2012; and
4. must be unmarried; and
5. must live in a Convention country; and
6. has been or will be adopted in the United States, or in the Convention country prior to coming to the United States.
The adoptive parents:
1. married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or unmarried U.S. citizen who is at least 25-years-old;
2. must be habitually resident in the United States; and
3. must have been found by USCIS suitable and eligible to adopt with the intent of creating a legal parent-child relationship (Must have Form I-800A approved by USCIS).
The child’s birth parent(s):
A child’s birth parent(s) must have freely given a written and irrevocable consent for terminating the relationship with their child and for the adoption.
IH-3 OR IH-4 VISA
A convention adoptee is qualified for one of two types of visas:
- IH-3 VISA: This type of visa is issued to children adopted in a Convention Country. Children under 18 years of age receive U.S. citizenship automatically upon entering the United States.
- IH-4 VISA: This type of visa is issued to children coming from a convention country to be adopted in the United States. These children acquire lawful permanent residence in the United States until their adoption process is complete.
Adopted child is from a non-Convention Country: A child residing in a non-Convention country must qualify as an “orphan” as defined by U.S. law before he or she can be adopted and brought to the United States. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines an orphan as a child:
- who has no parents, or has one surviving parent who can’t care for the child and who irrevocably, and in writing, releases the child for immigration and adoption;
- who is under the age of 16 when his or her I-600 Petition is filed with USCIS or consular officer (a child who is 16 or 17 years of age can also qualify if he or she is a birth sibling of a child who is under the age of 16, who is adopted or will be adopted by the same adopting parents);
- whose adopting parents have competed a full and final adoption or have legal custody for the purposes of immigration and adoption in the United States; and
- whose adopting parent(s) are married U.S. citizens or an unmarried U.S. citizen who is at least 25 years of age, who have/has the intent of forming a bona fide parent/child relationship
IR-3 OR IR-4 VISA
A non-convention adoptee is qualified for one of two types of visas:
- IR-3: This type of visa is issued to children whose adoption process is completed abroad, whose physically seen by both parents before or during the local adoption proceedings, and whose country does not require re-adoption in the United States. Children under 18 years of age receive U.S. citizenship automatically upon entering the United States.
- IR-4: This type of visa is issued to children whose adoption will be completed in the United States. These children acquire lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Immigration Attorney Serving Clients in Coconut Creek & Throughout South Florida
There are many children overseas who are in dire need of a parent. Have you ever considered being that parent? If so, let us help you achieve that goal. Call The Law Offices of Jonny Kousa, P.L. in Coconut Creek at 954-617-8161, in Boca Raton at 561-869-4463, or in Miami at 786-369-8866. Whether you live in West Palm Beach, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Hollywood, or Miami Beach, we have an office location close to you. Our firm serves all counties in South Florida, including Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County.
Contact us today for a FREE consultation.