In the course of our adoption work at International Family Services we often speak with families who want to adopt a child internationally only to find that they are not U.S. citizens and therefore are not eligible to immigrate a newly adopted child back into the U.S. But, there is hope for adoption for such families.

You May be Eligible to Adopt a Child from the United States

You may be eligible to adopt a U.S.-born child while residing as non-citizens in the U.S.

From the U.S. State Department website (see link below): “In most cases, U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who adopt children in the United States do so under domestic state adoption laws. The adopted children are generally U.S.-born, U.S. citizen children or U.S. LPRs who live in the United States.”

This means that if you are a lawful permanent resident(s) who habitually resides in the U.S. the U.S. federal government will allow you to adopt a child from the U.S. as long as there are no local State adoption laws that prohibit this kind of adoption. IFS works with birthmothers in States that are favorable to non-U.S.-citizen adoptions.

Bottom line: It is still possible for non-U.S. citizens to adopt.

Disclaimer: None of the IFS staff are attorneys, immigration or otherwise, nor do we speak for the U.S. government in these matters. You should seek legal counsel concerning the particulars of your case. If you are a non-U.S. citizen seeking to immigrate a child adopted from the U.S. back to your country of citizenship, you should seek further legal guidance from an immigration attorney from the country of your citizenship.

For more information about IFS Domestic Adoptions visit https://ifservices.org/united-states/ or contact us at https://ifservices.org/contact-us/.

Foreign-Born Child Adoptions by Non-U.S. Citizens Living in the U.S.

According to the U.S. State Department, “. . . an LPR [lawful permanent resident] may bring an adopted foreign-born child to the United States based on an approved Form I-130 immigrant visa petition in the immigrant category ‘F2A’ if the adopted child meets the definition of ‘child’ in Section 101(b)(1)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). That section of law requires: 1) the child be adopted while under the age of 16, 2) that the child has been in the legal custody of at least one adoptive parent for at least two years, and 3) that the child has resided with the same adoptive parent(s) for at least two years.[*] These requirements must be satisfied before the LPR adoptive parent(s) may file an immigrant visa petition for the child. This type of visa is known as a ‘family preference immigrant visa.’” [* Emphasis added]

The State Department website goes on to say, “Family preference immigrant visas are subject to numerical limitations, so even after the adoption and the two year physical and legal custody requirements have been met, there is likely to be an additional waiting period before a visa number becomes available.”

For further reading see: http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/adoption-process/who-can-adopt/adoptions-by-non-us-citizens-living-in-the-us.html

Bottom line: if you are not a U.S. citizen and you wish to adopt internationally (perhaps from your country of origin), you will be required to meet the legal requirements of that country and, should you be allowed to adopt, you will be required to live with the adopted child for a minimum two years before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider your petition to immigrate the child into the U.S. It is important to understand that just because another country allows you to legally adopt a child in their country it does not mean that you will be permitted to immigrate the child into the U.S. It is U.S. immigration law that you must follow. The above-mentioned website is a good place to start to gather information.

Disclaimer: None of the IFS staff are immigration attorneys nor do we speak for the U.S. government in these matters. If you are a non-U.S.Citizen seeking to immigrate an adopted child into the U.S. you should seek further legal guidance from an immigration attorney or consult with the USCIS before you consider immigrating an internationally-adopted child into the U.S.

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