U.S. citizens wishing to adopt an orphan from a foreign country may do so after meeting certain requirements. The child must first meet the definition of orphan. A child, who is under the age of 16, is an orphan due to the death or disappearance, abandonment, separation or loss of both parents, or if only one parent, then the one parent is unable to provide the proper care and in writing irrevocably releases the child for adoption. INA Section 101(b)(1)(F).

To begin the process of adopting an orphan, the U.S. citizen parents must first file I-600A, which is the advanced processing application that permits adopting parents to file the orphan application. Essentially, this application will determine whether the prospective adoptive parents will provide a proper home environment, and will determine whether they are suitable as parents. The process consists of home study and fingerprint checks. Home study includes an analysis of the prospective parents’ capabilities and living conditions.

Once the advanced processing application is approved, Form I-600 is filed with the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). Form I-600 is the form filed for the classification of an orphan and is accompanied with the approval of the advanced processing application, the orphan’s birth certificate, and evidence that the child is an orphan. Once CIS approves the I-600 Application, the application is then forwarded to the U.S. embassy in the country where the child resides. For orphan petitions, the U.S. citizen parents need only establish that the orphan is going to be adopted abroad, or coming to the U.S. for adoption. Once the child has been residing with his or her adoptive parents for two years, the parents may petition their child as an immediate relative so long as the child was adopted before his or her 16th birthday.

To learn more about the orphan petition process, please contact us.