National Judicial Network Peer-to-Peer Forum – What Judges Need to Know: Adoption of Foreign-Born Children (June 6, 2023)

*Per a request from USCIS representatives, this peer-to-peer forum was not recorded. However, NIWAP will be hosting a webinar on this topic with USCIS which will allow for a broader audience and will be recorded.

Description: Representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided information on intercountry adoption and immigration in a peer-to-peer session for state court judicial officers to help courts ensure just outcomes and prevent unintended consequences for adopted children. Foreign-born children in the United States who are adopted in a U.S. court may face immigration-related implications. Adoption alone does not give a child lawful immigration status. When a U.S. citizen adopts a foreign-born child in the United States without properly considering U.S. immigration law and the Hague Adoption Convention (when applicable), this may delay, prevent, or complicate the child’s ability to obtain lawful U.S. immigration status or to become a U.S. citizen. A U.S. citizen generally cannot bypass the requirements of the Convention by identifying a foreign-born child from a Convention country who is already in the United States and then completing an adoption in the United States. U.S. state courts generally must not enter an order finalizing an adoption in a case subject to the Convention unless the Department of State has certified compliance with the Convention procedures.  USCIS panel members provided an overview of adoption-based immigration with a focus on the Hague Adoption Convention, certain restrictions on the family-based adoption process for children from Convention countries, and tips for state court orders if Hague restrictions apply.

USCIS Materials:

Fact Sheet: Adoption in U.S. Courts of Children from Hague Adoption Convention Countries

Intercountry Adoption Process: Flow Chart of Key Steps

USCIS Adoption Webpage (with link to sign up for updates)

Complete Policy Manual

Family-Based Petition Process

Intercountry Act of 2000

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

Code of Federal Regulations Title 8 CFR 204.2

Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative

Annual State Department Reports on Intercountry Adoption

Hague Status Table

Hague Convention Countries List