Immigration and Nationality Act

The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the U.S. immigration law that covers issuing visas to foreign citizens, including children adopted abroad or coming to the United States for adoption.

Section 101(b)(1)(E)

The basic statutory provision concerning adopted children is in INA Section 101(b)(1)(E), which provides immigrant classification for “a child adopted while under the age of sixteen years if the child has been in the legal custody of, and has resided with, the adopting parent or parents for at least two years.”

The “two-year provision” covers any individual who may be residing abroad temporarily, and who decide to adopt in conjunction with the laws of the foreign state in which they currently live.

Section 101(b)(1)(F)

Like most adoptive parents, you may not be able to spend two years abroad living with the child. Therefore, you can seek benefits under Section 101(b)(1)(F) of the INA, which grants immigrant classification to orphans who have been adopted or will be adopted by U.S. citizens.

Under this section of the law, both you and need to meet a number of requirements established by the INA and the related regulations, but the two-year residency requirement will be eliminated. Only after you can prove both the child and you qualify, can the child be issued a visa to travel to the United States.

Keep in mind, however, Section 101(b)(1)(F) of the INA does not provide exemption if the country in which you are adopting has a residency requirement.