We stand with the women of Iran!​

Adoption and Immigration: Orphan Adoption Process

Adoption and Immigration: Orphan Adoption Process


With globalization intercountry, adoption is also increasing. Thousands of US citizens have adopted children overseas in the last few decades. The process is not that simple, and sometimes the US citizens face difficulties in adopting an overseas child. Before adopting, you must be aware of the process, whether you are suitable and eligible to be an adoptive parent, or whether the overseas child is eligible to immigrate to the US. All these questions must be answered before, as USCIS will determine the eligibility of the parents and the child. In this article, we will look at the adoption aspect of US immigration laws. 

What are the processes to immigrate my adopted child?

In the United States, there are three different processes to immigrate your adopted child. 

  • Hague Adoption 
  • Orphan Adoption (Non-Hague)
  • Immigrating other adopted children 

All three processes are different and have different eligibility requirements. This article will explain the process under Orphan adoption and what are the eligibility requirements under the process. 

Orphan Adoption

How can I apply for an overseas adoption under the Orphan Adoption process?

If you wish to adopt an overseas child under the Orphan Adoption process, you have to file Form I-600A (Application for advance processing of an orphan petition)and Form I-600(Petition to classify orphan as an immediate relative)

There are two ways to apply for adoption under this process- 

File Form I-600A and Form I-600 separately.

There is something called processing requirements that you have to fulfill as a precondition for this process. The processing requirements are designed to protect you, the child, and the birth family.

Firstly, you have to file Form I-600A. This form is to check the suitability and eligibility of you as an adoptive parent. The USCIS will not approve your Form I-600A if you do not submit a home study. Once you have filed your Form I-600A, you have a year to submit the home study. So what is a home study? A home study is typically an evaluation of your life, including background checks, criminal record checks, your finances, and sometimes your personal relationships.

The basic aim is to assess if a suitable environment exists for a child. Unless you are exempted, you should have your home study prepared by someone authorized under DOS regulations and local law to conduct home studies. After you submit your home study, USCIS will assess it. If USCIS feels everything is fine, it will approve your Form I-600A. The next steps are to identify the child you are to adopt and then file Form I-600.

The second step is to file Form I-600 to check whether the child qualifies as an orphan under the US immigration law. You can find the eligibility criteria below. You must be working with a primary provider unless you are exempted, and evidence of the same must be submitted along with Form I-600. The USCIS conducts a child determination to check the child’s orphan status. After the child is determined as an orphan and the USCIS approves your Form I-600, you can apply for an immigrant visa with DOS to permit your child to travel to the United States.

File Form I-600 together with evidence for Form I-600A:

Suppose you think that you have identified the child you want to adopt before filing your I-600A petition. In that case, you may request that USCIS make both determinations – your suitability and eligibility as an adoptive parent and whether the child qualifies as an orphan at the same time. You have to file Form I-600 and all the supporting documents required for I-600 and I-600A. This is called combo filing. If USCIS approves your combo filing petition, you can apply for an immigrant visa to take permission of the child to travel to the United Nations. 

Adoption and Immigration: Orphan Adoption Process 1

What is the eligibility of the child to be considered an orphan?

To adopt an overseas child under this process, the child must be an orphan. An orphan, as defined by the USCIS for this process, is a child who is born in a foreign country and has- 

  • No legal parents – It means that each child’s parent has either died or has abandoned or deserted the child or disappeared and cannot be found.
  • Incapable Single Parent – If one parent of the overseas child is surviving but is incapable of meeting the child’s basic needs that is consistent with the standards of the overseas country where the child is and who has irrevocably released the child for either emigration or adoption purposes. The release agreement must be in writing signed by the single parent.  

What is the eligibility of the US citizen to be an adoptive parent?

If you wish to adopt an overseas child and you are not married, you must have completed an age of 24 when you file Form I-600A and must be at least 25 when you file Form I-600. 

If you are married, you have to ensure that your spouse has a lawful US immigration status. You and your spouse have to go through the immigration and adoption process on behalf of the adopted child.  

What to do after my I-600 petition is approved? 

After your I-600 petition is approved and orphan determination is completed, you can apply for an immigrant visa to allow your child to travel to the United States. Your child will get an IR-3 visa or IR-4 visa. He will be eligible to become a US citizen if the child resides in the United States in adoptive parents’ legal and physical custody before reaching 18.


Becoming a parent is a blessing. At Sethi and Mazaheri law firm, we want to make sure that nobody’s adoption petition will get rejected if they want to adopt a child. I hope you are cleared with the adoption procedure under the Orphan adoption process. 

However, if you are still confused or need an expert to help with your application, drop a message to us and our immigration attorneys will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Let us work on your case

Or simply fill out the form and one of our attorneys will get back to you pretty shortly.

We're Here
To Assist You

Subscribe to Sethi & Mazaheri’s monthly newsletter and receive important immigration-related  updates.

Skip to content