To complete an inter-country adoption and bring a child to the United States, you have to fulfill the requirements set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) and the foreign country in which you wish to adopt. Some foreign countries’ regulations may include meeting a minimum income requirement, being of a certain marital status, living in the country in question for a time and, sometimes, even religious belief.

It is extremely important that you always keep several copies of every document you either fill out or receive in the event they are needed to meet any of the requirements. You should always keep in mind that the process is designed to protect the child, you, and the birth parent(s).

Necessary Documentation

The following documents are generally required for presentation in international adoption cases undertaken by citizens of the United States. It may also be necessary for these documents to be translated, and then certified. Documents may also require authentication by the US Department of State. Legal Language Services can assist you with any translation and certification needs.

  • Birth Certificate of Adoptive Child (if available)
  • Birth Certificate of Prospective Parents
  • Child Abuse Clearance
  • Death Certificate(s) of the Orphan’s Parents (if applicable)
  • Divorce Certificate (if applicable)
  • FD-258: Fingerprint Chart of the Prospective Parents and Adult Members of Their Household, to be reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”)
  • Financial Statement of the Prospective Parents
  • Final Adoption Decree from Foreign Country
  • Foreign Custody Decree
  • Foreign Passport for the Child
  • Form I-600, “Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative”
  • Form I-600A (if applicable) “Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition”
  • Form I-864 – Immigration Affidavit of Support for Adopted Child
  • Form N-400 – Application for Naturalization of Adopted Child
  • Form N-643 – Application for Certification of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adoptive Child
  • Form N-600 – Application for Certification of Citizenship of Adopted Child
  • Home Study of Prospective Adoptive Parents and All Adult Members of Their Household
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Photographs of the Family
  • Photographs of the Child
  • Physician’s Report of the Prospective Parents
  • Physician’s Report of the Child
  • Police Certificate
  • Power of Attorney
  • Proof of Adoptive Parent’s Citizenship
  • Proof of Child’s Age
  • Proof of Child’s Citizenship
  • Proof of Child’s Orphan Status
  • Proof of Overseas Orphan Investigation
  • Proof of Legal Custody
  • Verification of Employment

Individuals and couples presenting these documents for international adoption will also be charged a filing fee.

When to File

The USCIS recommends that prospective parents choose to file their documents in advance. Through “Advance Processing,” prospective parents complete all the necessary requirements pertaining to them, leaving them to deal only with the processing of the child’s papers once he/she is identified.

The USCIS advises that Advance Processing is the fastest way to start international adoption proceedings.