Citizenship & Immigration
USCIS is responsible for determining the qualifications and suitability of adoptive parents,
and for evaluating a child's eligibility to immigrate to the United States.
For a full list of Hague countries, click here.
Several steps must be completed to obtain immigration approval for an adoption:
- Begin the home study process with a licensed social worker and/or agency. If you are adopting from a Hague country, the agency must be Hague-accredited.
- Apply to USCIS. You will complete Form I-600A, the Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition (for non-Hague countries), or I-800A, the Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country (for Hague countries). Do not forget to include the necessary payment, as well as other supporting documents! We recommend that you send the application through Certified Mail, UPS, FedEx, etc.
- You will be alerted that USCIS received your application. They will provide you with an appointment date and time to be fingerprinted. If you do not get an official confirmation, follow up with them to avoid delays in the application's processing.
- After you have been fingerprinted, you will be sent a formal approval (Form I-171 H or I-797). It is important that you send a copy of the approval to your placing agency, to store in a safe place. USCIS will automatically send your approval to the National Visa Center.
- A cable will be sent to the U.S. Embassy of the country you are adopting from. Confirm with the embassy that the National Visa Center sent your cable - this helps prevent any possible delays in the adoption.
- Before traveling, print Form I600 or I800, and ask your agency to assist you in completing the form. Later, you will submit it to the U.S. Embassy in your country of operation. They will give you two envelopes: a copy of your documents for personal use, and one that you are to give to Customs.