International Adoptions and the Visas you Need

From time to time we feature guest writers on this Blog. This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of the criminal justice schools. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.

Every year, thousands of children are being adopted from other countries by citizens of the USA. The law of the land allows married couples and single individuals who are above the age of 25 and who can prove that they are able to support a child (through the home study) to adopt children from foreign nations. When you bring back your child to the United States, he/she needs a visa to be allowed into the country.

The Consular Office of the Department of State allocates a visa after conducting an I-604 investigation which verifies that the child you’re going to adopt is an orphan (as defined by the laws that govern US adoption) and that he/she does not suffer from a medical condition that you do not know about. Once the investigation is done, there are two kinds of visas that are offered for internationally adopted children:
• The IR-3 Visa: The Immediate Relative category 3 visa is given to children who are adopted by couples or individuals who have seen and interacted with the children before the adoption and if the adoption is completed according to the laws of the country the child belongs to. These children are made citizens of the United States as soon as they arrive on US soil. Parents do not have to register for citizenship and the necessary documents are sent to the child within 45 days of their arrival in the United States. While there is no need to perform a re-adoption process in the USA according to federal laws, some states do require that you carry out the procedure again on US soil.

• The IR-4 Visa: The Immediate Relative category 4 visa is awarded to children who are not adopted in the country of their birth by their prospective US parents/parent. The adults only act as guardians for the child during the trip back home. An IR-4 visa is also provided when the prospective parents have not seen or interacted with the child prior to the adoption procedure. These children must be adopted again once they are in the United States for them to legally become your children. Citizenship is automatically granted on completion of the adoption procedure, but parents are required to apply for the necessary documents – a certificate of citizenship from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) or a passport from the Department of State – once they’ve completed all the formalities.