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IR3 Visa

If you are a US citizen planning to adopt a child from a foreign country, you may wish to apply for the IR3 Visa.

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    What is the IR3 Visa?

    The IR3 is a US permanent (immigrant) visa available to children of US citizens adopted from foreign countries. With the IR3 Visa, an adopted child can become a green card holder with permanent resident status or even obtain citizenship of the United States.

    They can attend school and work without needing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This visa class has no cap, so you can apply and process it at any time.

    IR3 visas are normally issued in cases where:

    • At least one of the adoptive parents personally saw and observed the child before or during the adoption proceedings abroad, and
    • The parent (and their spouse, if they are married) obtained a final adoption abroad, meaning that the adoption is seen as final in the original country and the US.

    In cases of international adoption where neither of these apply, another visa may be issued, such as the IH3, IR4 or IH4.

    Who is eligible for an IR3 Visa?

    To be eligible for IR3, the adopted child must meet the following requirements:

    • The child must not be over 21 years
    • The child must meet the United States Immigration and Nationality Act adoption standards.
    • The US citizen sponsoring the visa must have a valid US address
    • The child must live with their US citizen parents in the United States.
    • The parent must give their consent for the USCIS eligibility test.

    For US citizens who have lived in foreign countries with their adopted child for more than two years, the child can apply for the IR2 visa.

    The US government recognizes two forms of adoption:

    • Hague country convention adoptions
    • Non-Hague country convention adoptions

    Hague country convention adoptions refer to the children adopted abroad from a Hague convention country.

    On the other hand, non-Hague country convention adoptions refer to the children adopted from a non-Hague Convention country.

    Application procedures for a Hague Convention adoption and Non-Hague Convention adoption are different.

    IR3 Visa Required Documents

    You’ll have to provide the following documents if your child is applying for the IR3 Visa:

    • Child’s birth certificate. Alternatively, you can provide a written explanation about the child’s date of birth and age
    • Proof of adoption or intention to adopt
    • Proof that the child has no parents or their biological parents are incapable of taking care of the child. For the latter, you will provide proof of consent from the biological parents.

    The above documents are the standard documents you have to provide. The USCIS may still require several other documents exclusive to your case for your portfolio of evidence.

    IR3 Visa Application Process

    Hague Country Convention Adoption

    This is based on the Hague country Convention in 1993. You can check the Travel State website for the list of US-allowed Hague Convention countries. For political reasons, the US government doesn’t allow citizens to adopt from a few Hague Convention countries.

    Form I-800A

    The first step of the application is choosing a US-approved Adoption Service Provider. Then, you have to file Form I-800A – Determination on Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. You’ll file this with the USCIS and wait for the approval.

    The USCIS will thoroughly process Form I-800A. Notably, they will perform a full background check and collect fingerprints. You can apply to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country once they approve the form.

    Take the first step. Request a Fact Finding + Expert Consultation

    Applying With the Hague Convention Country

    The Hague Convention Country will examine your application and present a child who best meets the adoption requirements. Such requirements are different for each Hague Convention Country. You must consider the requirements of your preferred Hague Convention Country even before filing Form I-800A.

    You’ll receive all information you need to know about the child, including their history, family background, medical history, and more.

    Form I-800

    If you’ve decided to adopt the child from The Hague Convention Country, you have to file Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. Basically, you’re petitioning for the child to get immigration permission.

    You mainly have to prove that you’ve not already received approval to admit a child.

    Form DS-260

    Form DS-260 is the US online immigrant visa application. Simply complete the form with details of the child and print out the confirmation page.

    After completing the above steps, the Hague Convention Country will send you the Article 5/17 letter. The letter proves that you’re eligible and suited to adopt a child from a foreign country. You can then receive a final adoption or guardianship order.


    The interview is the last stage of your application. You have to gather and submit all supporting documents that apply to your application. The documents proving that you’re eligible to adopt the child are the most important.

    The interviewer will determine if your child can enter the United States or not. Hence, it’s important that you provide genuine answers to all questions at the interview.

    Non-Hague Country Convention Adoption

    Form I-600A

    The first step for non-Hague country convention adoption is choosing a preferred adoption center in the child’s resident country. Then, you have to file Form I-600A – Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with the USCIS.

    The USCIS will perform a full background check and collect fingerprints to determine if you’re eligible to adopt. If they approve the petition, you can then receive an adoption order from the child’s country.

    Form I-600

    With the adoption order, you can file Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with USCIS. You’ll file this form along with all required documents.

    Form I-604

    If USCIS approves your Form I-604, a consular office in the child’s resident country will complete Form I-604, Determination, and Immigrant Visa Appointment Scheduling.

    Processing Form I-604 involves interviews, analysis of documents, and field investigation. It consumes time the most when applying for an IR3 Visa via a non-Hague convention country. If the form is approved, you’ll get a packet from the NVC.

    Form DS-260 and Interview

    As with The Hague adoption convention process, the last stage involves submitting Form DS-260 and attending the visa interview.

    IR3 Visa Application Fees

    You’ll have to pay the following fees for your IR3 Visa application:

    • Form I-800A: $775 (for Hague convention country adoption)
    • Form I-800: free for first form along with Form I-800A. $775 for subsequent ones.
    • Form DS-260: $325
    • Form I-600A & Form I-600: $775
    • Biometrics Fee (if applicable): $85

    Aside from the fees listed above, fees for obtaining other supporting documents may apply. In addition, you may have to pay for translations for documents that are not in English.

    IR3 Visa Processing Time

    The IR3 Visa application involves a lot of processes. Therefore, it has an average processing time of 6 months to a year.

    How fast it’s processed may depend on your level of preparedness and thoroughness in evidence gathering, forms completion, the workload at the immigration office, and some other circumstances.

    Citizenship For IR3 Visa

    The IR3 Visa is a green card that gives your adopted child permanent resident status and not US citizenship. However, your adopted child can qualify to be a U.S citizen with an IR3 Visa if they meet two important criteria:

    • They must obtain their IR3 Visa green card before their 18th birthday
    • They reside in the United States in legal and physical custody of US citizen parent

    If the child is up to 14, you may have to file some additional forms and pay fees to apply for US citizenship. Notably, you have to file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and pay the $1,170 filing fee.

    It takes about a year or more to process Form N-600. However, if the child isn’t up to 14, you don’t have to submit any additional form. The USCIS will automatically send your child’s certificate of citizenship to your address.

    How can IAS help?

    Petitions for the IR3 category are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. In other words, you must complete your forms to the highest standard to ensure that your application is successful. If you fail to submit the required documents, your petition may be delayed or rejected.

    To make sure your Green Card for Children is processed quickly, and without mistakes, you should seek the advice of an expert. At IAS, our immigration attorneys are qualified to provide expert guidance and will help you maximize your chances of success.

    Get in touch today to learn more about our citizenship and immigration services. Your dedicated lawyer will:

    • Review your case to assess your eligibility;
    • Liaise with your family living abroad;
    • Check your supporting documentation;
    • Liaise with the USCIS.

    Get in touch with our staff or ask for a free call back from our immigration experts.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    All prospective adoptive parents should be no less than 25 years old for international adoption. At least one parent must be a citizen of the United States. Each adoptive parent must fill out the I-600 or I-800 form.

    The citizen may also need to acquire FBI and state child abuse clearances. Apart from these criteria, each country determines its own requirements, including marital status, income, age, and others.

    Only a few countries support two or more adopted children, related or not, to be adopted at the same time. It may be possible to adopt sibling groups in certain circumstances, although local requirements across different countries will vary.

    Home study starts with you filling out paperwork, followed by an assessment of you and your house, and finally, education about the adoption process.

    The aim of the Home Study is to make sure that you are qualified to be an adoptive parent and that you have a suitable home in which to raise a child.

    All foreign adoptions require a Home Study, which is valid for one year from the date of approval. If a year passes and you’re yet to complete your adoption, your home study will be revised.

    The home study begins immediately when you file your intention to engage with an international adoption agency.

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