How to Qualify

Adopted children have many of the same rights as biological children when it comes to U.S. immigration. However, qualifying for a green card through adoption has some limitations.

Quota Restrictions

Some adopted children will fall into preference relative categories, which are limited by quotas. Others, including orphans, will be considered Immediate Relatives.

The forecasts for the Preference Relative category quotas are:

• Family First Preference. Four-year waiting periods for natives of all countries except the Philippines and
Mexico. Filipinos can expect quota waiting periods of at least 13 years. Mexicans can expect to wait about ten years.

• Family Second Preference. Waiting periods of five years can be expected for natives of all countries for spouses and minor children unless they’re from Mexico, where the wait is seven years. Unmarried adult children (over 21) can expect to wait nine years or more, eleven if they’re from Mexico.

• Family Third Preference. Waiting periods of at least six years can be expected for natives of all countries except Mexico, where the wait is about ten years, and the Philippines, where the wait is at least 14 years.

Petition approval usually takes at least six months. After petition approval and once a green card becomes available under the quota, it will take an additional three to 12 months for visa application approval.

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