Application for Adoption Based Greencard

Documents
  • I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition

    OR

    I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative

    as appropriate.

  • Application fee must be sent with the application.
    Fee details

    In addition to the fee for the application, you must pay a biometric services fee for fingerprinting every adult person living in the household in the U.S. where the child will reside.

    When more than one petition is submitted by the same petitioner on behalf of orphans who are siblings, only one Form I-600 petition and fee for biometric services is required, unless re-fingerprinting is ordered. If the orphans are not siblings, a separate filing fee must be submitted for each additional Form I-600 petition.

    If there has been an unfavorable decision in an advance processing case (I-600A) and the grounds for the unfavorable decision are not overcome, but the prospective adoptive parent(s) files an orphan petition anyway, a filing fee is required. In such cases, the orphan petition will be denied unless the prospective adoptive parent(s) can prove that the grounds for the unfavorable decision no longer apply and that they can take care of a child or children properly.

  • Proof of US citizenship of the petitioner.

  • Proof of the lawful immigration status of the petitioner's spouse, if applicable. If the spouse is not a U.S. citizen, proof the spouse's lawful immigration status, such as Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card; Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record; or a copy of the biographic pages of the spouse's passport and the nonimmigrant visa pages showing an admission stamp may be submitted.

  • Proof of marriage of petitioner and spouse.
    The married petitioner must submit a copy of the certificate of marriage and proof of termination of all prior marriages of himself or herself and spouse. In the case of an unmarried petitioner who was previously married, submit proof of termination of all prior marriages.

    NOTE: If any change occurs in the petitioner's marital status while the case is pending, immediately notify the USCIS office where the petition was filed.

  • Home Study.
    The home study must include a statement or attachment recommending or approving the adoption or proposed adoption and be signed by an official of the responsible State agency in the State of the proposed residence or of an agency authorized by that State.

    In the case of a child adopted abroad by parent(s) living abroad, the home study must be prepared by an individual or agency that is licensed or authorized to prepare a home study under the laws of any state of the United States or any party licensed or otherwise authorized by the foreign country. Before submission to the USCIS, a home study prepared abroad must be reviewed by and receive a favorable recommendation by an appropriate public or private adoption agency licensed, or otherwise authorized, by any state of the United States to place children for adoption.

    The home study must be prepared by an entity (individual or organization) licensed or otherwise authorized under the law of the State of the orphan's proposed residence to conduct research and preparation for a home study, including the required personal interviews. If any agency is licensed, the home study must include the state in which it is licensed, the license number, if any, and the period of validity of its license or authorization.

    If the recommending entity is licensed, the recommendation must state that it is licensed, where it is licensed, its license number, if any, and the period of validity of the license.

    However, the research, including the interview and the preparation of the home study, may be done by an individual or group in the United States or abroad that is satisfactory to the recommending entity.

    A responsible State agency or licensed agency may accept a home study made by an unlicensed or foreign agency and use that home study as a basis for a favorable recommendation.

    The home study must provide an assessment of the capabilities of the prospective adoptive parent(s) to properly parent the orphan and must cover the following:
    • An in-person interview and home visit with the prospective adoptive parent(s). All other adult members of the prospective parents' household must also be interviewed.

    • An explanation regarding any history of abuse or violence or any complaints, charges, citations, arrests, convictions, prison terms, pardons rehabilitation decrees for breaking or violating any law or ordinance by the petitioner(s) or any additional adult member of the household over age 18.

      A criminal history of each adult in the prospective parents' household, including expungements and juvenile arrests.

      NOTE: Having committed any crime of moral turpitude or a drug-related offense does not necessarily mean that a petitioner or petitioner's spouse will be found ineligible to adopt an orphan. However, failure to disclose such information may result in denial of this application and/or any subsequent petition for an orphan.

    • A detailed description of the finances of the prospective adoptive parent(s), including but not limited to, income, debts, expenses and the costs of supporting other members of the family.

    • A detailed description of the living accommodations where the petitioner and petitioner's spouse currently reside(s).

    • If the petitioner and petitioner's spouse are residing abroad at the time of the home study, a description of the living accommodations where the child will reside in the United States with the petitioner and petitioner's spouse, if known.

    • An assessment of the physical, mental and emotional capabilities of the petitioner and petitioner's spouse as well as other adult members of the household in relation to rearing and educating the child.

    • If applicable, a detailed description of the prospective adoptive parent(s)' ability to provide proper care for a disabled orphan.

    • A description of counseling provided to the prospective adoptive parent(s) or plans for post-placement counseling.

    • Specific assessment of how the above factors would affect the prospective adoptive parent(s)' ability to care for an adopted child, the number of orphans that the parent(s) may adopt, and any restrictions on the children that should be placed with the parent(s).

    • If there were any previous rejections for adoptions or if an unfavorable home study was ever prepared regarding any adult member of the prospective parents' household, explanations must be obtained.

    Prospective adoptive parent(s) and all adult household members over the age of 18, whose "principal or only residence" is the prospective adoptive parents' home must disclose any history of arrest and and/or conviction. Court certified copies of the indictment or information and judgment of all criminal court actions for the prospective adoptive parent(s) and each adult household member; along with a signed statement by the prospective adoptive parent(s) and/or adult household member relative to any mitigating circumstances, must be included in the home study.

    Prospective adoptive parent(s) should know that even if there is a criminal or abuse history, a favorable recommendation may be made in the home study if "appropriate rehabilitation" has been demonstrated.

    USCIS will not accept a home study that is more than six months old unless it is accompanied by an update that is less than six months old. Once the home study has been submitted, updates must be made if something significant occurs, including changes in marital status, finances, change in residence, arrests, convictions, etc.

  • Form Specific
    • I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
      • Proof of age of orphan.
        The petitioner should submit a copy of the orphan's birth certificate if obtainable; if not obtainable, submit an explanation together with the best available evidence of birth.

        As it is usually difficult, if not impossible, to locate a birth certificate for an orphan, proof of birth is generally submitted in the form of a final Guardianship order giving the date of birth and an affidavit/certificate executed by

      • A certified copy of adoption decree together with certified translation, if the orphan has been lawfully adopted abroad

      • Following evidences, as appropriate:
        • Copies of the death certificate(s) of the child's parent(s), if applicable.

        • Evidence that the sole or surviving parent is incapable of providing for the orphan's care, consistent with the local standards of the foreign sending country and has in writing irrevocably released the orphan for immigration and adoption, if the orphan has only one parent.

        • Evidence that the orphan was abandoned by or deserted by, separated or lost from, both parents, or that both parents have disappeared, if applicable.

        • Proof that the child was unconditionally abandoned to an orphanage, if the child is in an orphanage.

      • All proof relating to the petitioner as described towards the top of this list must be submitted unless this proof was submitted with a pending advance processing application or unless it is within 18 months after a favorable decision in a completed advance processing case.

      • Evidence that the preadoption requirements, if any, of the state of the orphan's proposed residence have been met, if the child is to be adopted in the United States.

        If it's not possible to submit this evidence upon initial filing of the petition under the laws of the State of proposed residence, it may be submitted later. The petition, however, will not be approved without it.

      • If the petitioner is married, the Form I-600 must also be signed by the petitioner's spouse.

      • If there was no adoption abroad, proof that the preadoption requirements, if any, of the state of the child's proposed residence have been met. This is also required if the child has been adopted abroad, but the adoption is not full and final, or if the unmarried adoptive parent, or both married adoptive parents, did not personally see the child prior to or during the adoption proceeding. The petitioner must check the block on the Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, which shows the intent to adopt the child in the United States.

      • If there was no adoption abroad, proof that the prospective parent(s) have, or a person or entity working on behalf of the parent(s) has, legal custody of the child for emigration and adoption in the U.S.

      • If the child has been adopted abroad, a final decree of adoption must be submitted. For an adoption to be recognized as full and final, evidence must be submitted that the unmarried adoptive parent, or both married adoptive parents, saw the child prior to or during the adoption proceeding. If only one married adoptive parent or no adoptive parent saw the child prior to or during the adoption, proof must be submitted showing that the prospective adoptive parent(s) has, or a person or entity working on their behalf has, secured custody of the child in accordance with the laws of the foreign-sending country.

    • I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition
      • The "Certification of Prospective Adoptive Parent" block of Form I-600A must be executed by the prospective adoptive parent. The spouse, if applicable, must execute the "Certification of Married Prospective Adoptive Parent Spouse" block on Page 2 of the form. Failure to do so will result in the rejection of the Form I-600A.

      • Proof of compliance with preadoption requirements, if any, of the state of the child's proposed residence.

Biometric Services
As part of the USCIS biometric services requirements, the following persons must be fingerprinted in connection with this petition:
  • The petitioner and petitioner's spouse, if applicable, and

  • Each additional adult member in the petitioner's household, 18 years of age or older. NOTE: Submit a copy of the birth certificate of each household member over 18.

If necessary, USCIS may also take a photograph and signature of those named above as part of the biometric services.
  1. Petitioners residing in the United States. After filing this petition, USCIS will notify each person in writing of the time and location where they must go to be fingerprinted. Failure to appear to be fingerprinted or for other biometric services may result in denial of the petition.

  2. Petitioners residing abroad. Completed fingerprint cards (Forms FD-258) must be submitted with the petition. Do not bend, fold or crease completed fingerprint cards. Fingerprint cards must be prepared by a U.S. embassy or consulate, USCIS office or military installation.

    NOTE: If the prospective adoptive parent(s) and any other adult members of the household are residing abroad at the time of filing, they are exempt from paying the biometric service fees for fingerprinting. However, they may have to pay fingerprinting fees charged by the U.S. Department of State or military installation.
Filing The Application
Application filing instructions

A prospective adoptive parent residing in the United States should send the completed application to the USCIS office having jurisdiction over his or her place of residence. A prospective adoptive parent residing outside the United States should consult the nearest American consulate for the overseas or stateside USCIS office designated to act on the application.

Filing I-600 subsequent to I-600A
I-600A is filed by a U.S. citizen who plans to adopt a foreign-born orphan but does not have a specific child in mind.

After the child or children are located and/or identified, a separate Form I-600 must be filed for each child.

A separate Form I-600 must be filed for each child. If only one Form I-600 is filed, a new fee is not required, provided the form is filed while the advance processing application (Form I-600A) is pending or within 18 months of the approval of the advance processing application.

If approved in the home study for more than one orphan, the prospective adoptive parent(s) may file a petition for each of the additional children to the maximum number approved. If the orphans are siblings, no additional filing fee is required. However, if the orphans are not siblings, an additional filing fee is required for each orphan beyond the first orphan.

Generally, Form I-600 should be submitted at the USCIS office where the advance processing application, Form I-600A, was filed. Form I-600 must be accompanied by all the evidence required by the instructions of that form, except where provided previously with Form I-600A.

If a prospective petitioner goes abroad to adopt or locate a child in one of the countries noted below, he or she should file Form I-600 at the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the place where the child is residing or will be located, unless the case is retained at the stateside office.

USCIS has offices in the following countries: Austria, China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.

Although only one parent must be physically present to file the I-600 petition overseas, that parent must be a U.S. citizen. A third party may not file the petition on the parents' behalf, even with a valid Power of Attorney. In addition, if only one of the two parents travels, the petition must nevertheless be properly executed (signed) by both parents after it has been completely filled out. This means one parent cannot sign for the other parent and neither parent may assign the petition until all the details about the child have been entered on the form. The traveling parent can, however, use express mail service to obtain the other parent's signature.

If a prospective petitioner goes abroad to any country not listed above to adopt or locate a child he or she should file Form I-600 at the American embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over the place where the child is residing or will be located, unless the case is retained at the Stateside office.

Filing Petition for Known Child Without Full Documentation on Child or Home Study
When a child has been identified but the documentary evidence relating to the child or the home study is not yet available, an orphan petition may be filed without that evidence or home study.

Proof of petitioner's U.S. citizenship and documentation of marriage of petitioner and spouse, however, must be submitted.

If the necessary evidence relating to the child or the home study is not submitted within one year from the date of submission of the petition, the petition will be considered abandoned and the fee will not be refunded. Any further proceeding will require the filing of a new petition.

Decision
I-600A Advance Processing
USCIS must decide whether the prospective adoptive parent(s) are able to take care of one or more orphans properly, depending on the number of children they want to adopt. Form I-171H, Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, is sent to the prospective petitioner if the prospective adoptive parent(s) appears to qualify for further processing. This decision, however, does not guarantee that the orphan petition(s) to be filed will be approved. An orphan petition may still be denied because the child does not qualify as an orphan or for other proper cause.

I-600 Orphan petition
USCIS must decided whether the adoptive or prospective parent(s) are able to care for the child properly, whether the child is an orphan as defined in U.S. immigration law, and whether all other legal requirements have been met. If the petition is approved, Form I-171, Notice of Approval of Relative Immigration Visa Petition, or an I-797, Notice of Action, is sent to the petitioner.

If the petition is denied, the petitioner is notified accordingly in writing. The petitioner may appeal that decision. Instructions on how to appeal are included in the notice of denial.

Abandonment
If an orphan petition is not filed within 18 months after the date of the approval of an advance processing application, the application is considered abandoned, and the prospective petition is notified accordingly in writing. After an advance processing application is abandoned, the prospective petitioner must file either a new advance processing application or an orphan petition, if the petitioner later decides to petition for an orphan. In that case a new fee is necessary.

Denial
An orphan petition may be denied if:
  • USCIS determines that the prospective adoptive parent(s) does not have the physical, mental and/or emotional capabilities to properly parent a child;

  • USCIS finds that the prospective adoptive parent(s) does not have the financial capabilities to care for a child;

  • A USCIS investigation or the home study reveals a history of abuse and/or violence and/or a criminal history;

  • A USCIS investigation reveals unsuitable living conditions; and/or

  • USCIS determines that the child does not fit the legal definition of "orphan".

When there is unfavorable information about the prospective adoptive parent(s) or about an adult member of the prospective adoptive parent(s)' household, and USCIS concludes that proper care could not be given to a child or children, USCIS will make an unfavorable decision. As a result, USCIS will advise the applicant of the action in writing and provide instruction on how to appeal an unfavorable decision.

Illness or disability
If it is found that the child has an illness or disability that is not described in the petition, the petitioner and spouse, if married, are provided with details about the medical condition by either USCIS or the American embassy or consulate, depending on where the orphan petition was filed. The petitioner and spouse, if married, may then decide whether they still want to bring the child to the United States as an immigrant.

If the prospective adoptive parent(s) decide to bring such a child to the United States, the parent(s) should be advised that the child must still be admissible to the United States. Some illnesses will make the child inadmissible. For example, if the child has a communicable disease of public health significance, that child may be inadmissible. Most such grounds of inadmissibility may be waived if certain conditions are met. The prospective adoptive parent(s) should verify with USCIS that a child's illness or disability does not make him or her inadmissible. If grounds of inadmissibility apply, the parent(s) will be told what requirements must be met before the child may legally enter the United States.

Fraudulent Practices
Prospective adoptive parent(s) are cautioned to avoid fraudulent adoption practices and agencies or individuals who engage in such activities. They should deal only with reputable sources of children for adoption and make sure that all proceedings in which they engage are real.

If the answers to your questions appear to be contradictory, vague, or unrealistic, be wary. The consular section in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country of planned adoption can provide accurate information concerning local legal practices. If you have problems with agencies or intermediaries in the United States, you should report these concerns immediately to the appropriate state authorities, i.e., your state social services office, District Attorney, Better Business Bureau, or state Attorney General's office. The UCCIS should be notified of these concerns as well.

USCIS has found that foreign children are sometimes stolen from their parents for adoption in the United States. There is also a market for fraudulent documents for children who could be beneficiaries of orphan petitions. Unscrupulous individuals or arrangers entice clients by boasting that theirs is a faster, cheaper and easier way to adopt children. Adoptive parents are exploited by paying exorbitant fees and never receiving the children, or getting unhealthy children, or being made parties to fraudulent acts.

When USCIS has reason to believe that an orphan petition may involve fraudulent adoption practices, the overseas orphan investigation is completed before the petition is approved. While the investigation is always done as quickly as possible, this may delay the completion of the case. USCIS makes every effort to ensure that an orphan petition does not involve fraudulent adoption practices. In addition, the investigation is done as a service to the adoptive parent(s). It protects the parent(s) from a potentially heartbreaking situation that may occur when an adoption is not legal.

The lack of state regulatory requirements for international adoption agencies in some states has permitted some individuals, inexperienced in the area of foreign adoptions, to set up businesses. Some prospective adoptive parents are charged exorbitant fees. Two common abuses are 1) knowingly offering a supposedly healthy child for adoption who is later found to be seriously ill, and 2) obtaining prepayment for adoption of a nonexistent or ineligible child. In some countries, it is advisable to have the child examined by a physician before completing adoption procedures. This examination is separate from the routine medical examination required after completion of the adoption for visa purposes. Some states have moved to revoke licenses or prosecute the individuals connected with these fraudulent activities after receiving complaints. However, it should be noted that most adoption practitioners in the United States are legitimate professionals with experience in domestic and international adoptions.

In the international area, the Department of State consistently takes a strong stand against fraudulent adoption procedures. This policy flows from our general obligation to respect host country laws, to discourage any illegal activities and to avoid the possibility that a country may prohibit international adoptions entirely. The Department of State has unfailingly expressed its support for measures taken by foreign states to reduce adoption abuses.