- What is the IR4 Visa?
- What are the requirements for the IR4 Visa?
- How to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country?
- How to bring a child from a Hague Convention country to the US?
- How to adopt a child from a Non-Hague Convention country?
- Documents Required for Non-Hague Convention Country Adoption
- Getting help from IAS
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the IR4 Visa?
There are many US citizens who wish to adopt children from foreign countries. While they certainly have the right to do it, in order for the child to be able to come live in the US, they need to hold a valid immigrant visa. The IR4 Visa allows US citizens to obtain guardianship of the child in a foreign country and then complete the adoption application in the US.
The IR4 Visa is a Family Based Green Card that belongs to the Immediate Relative category. Visas that fall into this group are always available, no matter how many people apply for them each year. The processing of IR4 Visa applications is also much quicker than the processing times of visas belonging to the Preference Relative category.
If your IR4 Visa application is accepted, your adopted child will be able to remain in the US permanently and enjoy all the rights that Green Card holders have. That means that they will be able to study and work in the US without any restrictions. After they have been in the US on the IR4 Visa for more than five years, they will be able to apply for US citizenship.
What are the requirements for the IR4 Visa?
If you want to receive the IR4 Visa for your adopted child, you and the child need to meet the following criteria:
● The child has to be unmarried and younger than 21 years old
● The child has to be from a Hague or Non-Hague convention country
● The child has to meet the adoption criteria outlined in the US Immigration and Nationality Act
● The US parent/s has to be willing to obtain guardianship of the child abroad and then adopt them in the US
● The US parent/s need to have a valid US address
● The US parent/s intend to bring the child to the US to live with them
● The US parent/s have to pass an eligibility test developed by USCIS
If you are not sure if you and the child meet the eligibility criteria for the IR4 Visa, talk to our immigration lawyers. They will tell not only tell you whether you can apply for the visa, but they will also advise on which application route you should follow. Depending on whether the child comes from a Hague or Non-Hague country, there are two separate procedures to adopting a child from a foreign country.
How to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country?
The Hague Adoption Convention was established in 1993 to safeguard children and their adoptive parents from the dangers of irregular adoptions abroad. The Convention put a system designed to regulate intercountry adoptions in place.
For adoptions of children from a Hague country, the authorities in both countries need to express their agreement to proceed with the adoption. Private adoptions in the child’s country of origin are not allowed. That means that if a US citizen wants to adopt a child through this route, they have to contact a US Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider in the country where the child they want to adopt is based.
After the US citizen chooses the Adoption Service Provider, they want to get assistance from, they have to complete Form I-800A, Determination on Suitability to Adopt a Child from Convention Country so that USCIS can do a background check and assess whether they are fitted to adopt a child.
Once USCIS decides that you are suitable to start the adoption process, you have to apply to be matched with a child located in a Hague Convention country of your choice. When the authorities in this country receive USCIS approval for adoption, you will receive details of children that you can adopt.
Then, you will have to complete Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. Once the Petition is approved by USCIS, your adopted child will become eligible for the IR4 Visa.
Finally, you will have to submit Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application to the US Embassy or Consulate in your child’s home country.
How to bring a child from a Hague Convention country to the US?
If you have properly completed all the required forms, the US Embassy or Consulate in your child’s home country will issue a letter known as Article 5/17 Letter. This document will allow you to get a guardianship order for the child and bring them to the US. Without the Letter, you will not have guardianship over the child and so you will not be able to take them to the US with you.
If you want to get the IR4 Visa for your child, you need to bring the child to the US to adopt them. If you would rather finalise the adoption process in the child’s home country, you should apply for the IR3 Visa instead.
After you receive the letter, you will have to submit several supporting documents to the US Embassy or Consulate. Some of the documents you need to prepare include the child’s valid passport, the child’s birth certificate, and all the medical documents.
You will also have to schedule an interview at a US Embassy. During the interview, you will be able to submit the guardianship order to immigration officials to complete the application. Then, the US Embassy will decide whether your child can receive the IR4 Visa.
How to adopt a child from a Non-Hague Convention country?
The application process for children coming from Non-Hague Convention countries is slightly different.
First, the US citizen wanting to adopt the child needs to choose an adoption centre located in the child’s country of origin. As the country is a non-Hague country, there are no US-Accredited Adoption Service Providers so will have to compare the available adoption centres and choose one yourself.
Then, you will have to file Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, and submit it to USCIS. Based on the information in the form, the background check, and your fingerprint check, USCIS will determine whether you are eligible to adopt a child from a foreign country.
Once USCIS decides that you are suitable to continue the adoption process, you will need to obtain a guardianship order from your child’s home country. To be eligible for it you will need to meet requirements that vary depending on where your child comes from. The procedures you will need to follow also differ so make sure to check country-specific information.
After you receive the guardianship order, you will have to file Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, and send it to USCIS. Then, the office will assess whether the child you intend to adopt is eligible to immigrate to the US.
What documents do I need to submit to adopt during adoption from a Non-Hague Convention country?
If you want to adopt a child from a non-Hague Country, you will need to include the following documents with your Form I-600:
● Child’s birth certificate
● If the birth certificate is not available another explanation about the child’s identity and age
● Evidence that the child has lost their parents or that their parents cannot take care of them
● Proof that the child’s biological parents have given them up for adoption
● Evidence confirming your guardianship of the child
● Proof that you intend to complete the adoption process once the child joins you in the US.
Once your petition and all the documents are accepted, USCIS or a Consular Officer in your child’s home country will file Form I-604. If the form is approved, you will receive information from the US National Visa Centre (NVC) on what your next steps should be.
After receiving approval from NVC, you will have to complete Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa. You will also have to schedule an interview during which an official will decide whether the child can get the IR4 Visa.
How can IAS help?
At IAS, we understand the importance of family. Adopting a child from a foreign country and applying for a US visa for them can be stressful, especially if you are doing it without the help of an immigration expert. Luckily, our immigration lawyers are here to make this process as straightforward as possible.
If you hire one of our immigration lawyers, they will explain to you what the adoption procedure entails, depending on your child’s country of origin. Our lawyers will also tell you what visas you can get for your child and they will help you prepare a portfolio of evidence with all the required documents. Failure to include some of the required documents or mistakes in the forms that need to be submitted can result in your visa application being rejected. Fortunately, this is something that can be avoided with the help of an immigration lawyer.
Our lawyers will guide you through each step of the IR4 visa application, offering expert advice and helping you avoid mistakes that could cause a delay in bringing your child to the US. Thanks to the help of our immigration lawyers, your child will join you in the US as soon as possible.
For more information about how our lawyers can help, contact us today on +1 844 290 6312.
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IR4 Visa is an international adoption visa category that allows US citizens to bring the children they adopted abroad to the US and finalise the adoption process in the country. There are two adoption routes that US parents can follow, depending on whether the child comes from a Hague Convention or Non-Hague Convention country.
If you want to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country, you need to contact one of US Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers located in your child’s country of origin. If, however, you intend to adopt a child from a Non-Hague Convention country, you will have to choose an adoption agency yourself.
The final cost of the IR4 Visa depends on your child’s country of origin. Nevertheless, when applying for the IR4 Visa you have to be ready to pay the following fees:
- Form I-800 fee
- Form I-800a fee
- Form DS-260 fee
- Form I-600A fee
- Form I-600 fee
- Translation fees if applicable
- Fees associated with obtaining required documents.
How long you will have to wait for your IR4 Visa application to be processed depends on the country from which your child comes. There is no specific timeframe around the processing of the IR4 Visa. Nevertheless, most applications are processed within 6-12 months.
It is worth noting that the IR4 Visa belongs to the Immediate Relative category so the waiting time for it is much shorter than those applying for a Preference Relative Green Card.
Once your child receives the IR4 Visa, they will get the right to reside in the US as a Green Card holder. They will enjoy all the rights that permanent residents in the US have and they will be protected by all laws of the country. They will be able to attend a public school, work, own property, or leave and re-enters the US as many times as they want without losing their status.
After receiving the IR4 Visa, your child will not automatically receive US citizenship, however. They will become eligible to apply for it after living in the US for five years.