Not all orphaned children are eligible for foreign adoptions. U.S. immigration law states that a child is an orphan if he or she meets several of the following qualifications:
- The child has no parents because of disappearance, abandonment, separation from, or death of both parents.
- If the child's surviving parent is incapable of providing care for the child, and has given up the child for emigration and adoption in writing.
- The orphan petition for immigration must be filed before the child turns 16, unless the child is the sibling of a child under 16. In that case, the petition must be filed before the child turns 18 if the child and his or her siblings are going to be adopted by the same parents.
If the child is eligible to be adopted, then the adoptive parents need to file an orphan petition. The petition must be filed by a U.S. citizen. If one spouse is not a citizen, he or she must be living legally in the US.
Applying to Bring a Foreign-Born Ophran to the United States: First, you must file USCIS Form 1-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) before choosing a child to adopt. This allows the USCIS to show that you are eligible to adopt and able to provide a good home for a child. Once you are approved and you find a child to adopt, file USCIS Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative). Always do the advance processing.
You will need to provide the following documents to the USCIS:
- The birth certificate, if possible, or some other evidence of the child's age and identity
- Proof of the child being an eligible orphan
- Final adoption decree, if needed
- Proof of custody of child for emigration and adoption
- Proof that you have complied with pre-adoption requirements, if there were any