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Applying for a Visa: Almost there!

February 5, 2014

passportFinally! You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is your beautiful child that you soon will be bringing home. But you have to get through this final step: an immigrant visa for your child.

This can be a scary and daunting process, much like the other paperwork you have already completed. Just remember, you do not have to go through this step alone. You can get help from your adoption agency or your immigration attorney.

So, you have completed the I800a or I600a and the I800 or I600 forms, now all that is left is to apply for a visa. It is important to remember that the child’s ability to qualify for an immigrant visa is determined by United States law. A foreign adoption or custody decree does not automatically qualify a child for an immigrant visa for entry into the US.

Why do I need THIS form?

By applying for a visa, you will be able to safely and legally bring your child into the United States to live with you. Also, depending on which visa your child is approved for, he or she will receive automatic citizenship or become a permanent resident. This step protects your child and his or her future.

What do I need to file this form?

Although it seems like a simple interaction, you need many documents to apply for your child’s visa, and after the initial application, the Consular Officer performs several steps before approving or denying a visa to your child. Here is a list of the necessary documents for visa application (these need to be filed before the interview).

  • Proof of US citizenship (like a passport)

  • Marriage certificate

  • Verification of a favorably recommended home study

  • Notification by USCIS of I600A or I800A approval

  • Final adoption decree or official proof of custody from country of origin

  • Child’s birth certificate

  • Child’s passport from the child’s country of origin

  • Child’s completed and signed medical examination report

  • Any police, military, or prison records

  • Three (3) frontal photos of the child’s face

  • The visa application (Form DS-230)

  • Completed I600 or I800 petition

What’s the difference in the forms and which one do I need?

Unless parents can live with their children in the country of origin for two years, the US does not grant visas. The only ways around this is for the child to be declared an orphan or adopt through a Hague Convention country. In this case, your child can receive one of four Visas.

  • IH-3 Visa: issued for children with full and final adoption from a Hague Convention country. These children receive US citizenship immediately upon entry into the US.

  • IH-4 Visa: issued for children coming to the United States from a Hague Convention country to be adopted in the US. For children with this visa, they do not receive automatic citizenship, but do become permanent residents until the adoption is finalized.

  • IR-3 Visa: Issued when a full and final adoption is completed abroad from a non-Hague Convention country. This requires the parent(s) physically see the child prior to or during the adoption proceedings. These children receive US citizen upon entering the US.

  • IR-4 Visa: Issued to a child that

    • Is coming from a non-Hague Convention country to the United States to be adopted.

    • Was adopted abroad from a non-Hague Convention country by only one parent (if married).

    • Was not seen by the parent or parents prior to or during the adoption from a non-Hague Convention country.

    • Citizenship must be applied for once in the US, like the IH-4 visa.

It is completely okay to be confused when dealing with all this paperwork. That is why you have people to help you. But just remember this is the last step that stand between you and bringing your child home! Congratulations!

If you want a more complete view of the international adoption process, visit the USCIS website.