Adoptions and Green Cards

Immigration laws can get confusing. Many times U.S. Citizens and persons with Green Cards find themselves facing conflicting legal issues when trying to adopt a foreign child. While adoption laws vary by state, federal regulations controlling adoption of foreign citizens are essentially uniform throughout the county. In fact, the system that has been implemented by the federal government is in place to assist not only U.S. Citizens and Green Card holders, but the USCIS and the consulates that are involved in it.

For adoptions, as with other immigration benefits, U.S. Citizens and Green Card holders (Permanent Residents) must first file what is called an immigrant petition also known as an Alien. The process differs significantly when the adoptive child is a citizen of country that is part of Hague Convention. In this situation, the adoption for a green card must follow the guidelines outlined in the Hague convention. The benefits of these adoptions are many; one essential advantage is that Children with IR-3 and IH-3 visas automatically acquire citizenship if they enter the U.S. prior to their 18th birthday. Alternatively, the adopted child who is under the age of 18 may automatically become a U.S. Citizen and not have to go through the green card process.

Another requirement for adoptions under the Hague Process is the Accredited Adoption Service Provider that must be authorized to facilitate the adoption under the Convention. This is essentially where immigration lawyers come in as these Providers are not allowed to provide legal advice or represent the adoptive parents before the USCIS. Simply enough these providers are not immigration attorneys and will not be able to guide parents on how to get green cards for their children.

Adoption Process Through the Galstyan Firm

Free consultation with an immigration attorney to go over the whole process;

Run down of the Hague Accredited Adoption Service Provider;

Designating a home study program by an authorized provider;

USCIS application is made for determination of intercompany suitability for an adoption;

Upon approval of the application the placement process is initiated;

The immigrant petition process is initiated to ensure that the child is suitable and eligible for immigration to the U.S. based on the adoption;

Adoption is finalized and custody matters formalized;

Immigrant visa is granted and the child can apply for admission to the U.S.

Issues arising during adoptions and green card applications

While complex, the adoption process itself is pretty straight forward and with the help of an experienced immigration attorney all issues to get resolved fairly quickly. However, a common issue that our firm encounters during this petitions, is an issue of inadmissibility for the child. These issues present additional requirements upon the parents to overcome the inadmissibility grounds for the adopted child through applications to the USCIS for hardship waivers and others. Because the subject of adoptions and green cards is so voluminous and virtually no adoption is alike another, it is best to prepare and plan early in order to ensure that all the matters are properly handled with the help of an immigration attorney specializing in adoptions and green cards. Consultations are always free at out firm so feel free to give us a call.  

Eligibility to Adoptions and Green Cards with immigration laweyr

To determine the eligibility after a qualified and favorable homestudy has been obtained, the applications are made to the USCIS. The requirements in this part of the case are fairly simple:

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen;

Maintain permanent resident in the United States;

If the applicant is married, his or her spouse my accompany and also sign the actual application and demonstrate intent to adopt with the spouse;

And in the even of a single parent, age of 24 must be attained at the time of application in order to meet the 25 year old requirement at the next step.

Petitioning for Your Adoptive Child

Upon receipt of the preliminary eligibility to qualify for an adoption, the adopting parents proceed to the next step of the actual adoption by applying to the Central Authority of the foreign country for an adoption placement. Timing of this application is critical to the overall success of the case as it must be filed after the placement has been completed and before the adoption. The qualifications for filing at this point with the USCIS for a child to be classified as a Hague Adoptee are:

The child must be under the age of 16 at the time of filing;

Be a resident and reside in a Convention Country

Consent must be granted by the Central Authority of that country;

Same requirements remain in effect for the spouse; and

Age limitations.


• The adopted child may live anywhere in the U.S. and stay as long as he or she wants.
• The adopted child may work at any job, for any company, anywhere in the U.S., or may choose not to work at all.
• The adopted child may travel in and out of the U.S. whenever he or she wishes.
• The adopted child may become an American citizen immediately after obtaining his or her green card.


• The adopted child’s place of actual residence must be in the U.S. He or she cannot use a green card just for work or travel purposes.
• The adopted child will never be able to confer U.S. immigration benefits on his or her natural (biological) parents.
• The adopted child cannot remain outside the U.S. for more than one year at a time without special permission, or the child will risk losing his or her green card. We recommend that he or she return before being gone for six months.
• If the adopted child commits a crime or participates in politically subversive or other proscribed activities, his or her green card can be taken away and removal proceedings begun.

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