The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is an international adoption agreement between participating countries on best adoption procedures. These procedures have two goals in mind, the best interest of children are considered with each international adoption; and the prevention of abduction, exploitation, sale, or trafficking of children.
The Hague Convention of Intercountry Adoption applies to approximately 75 countries. If you are choosing to complete an international adoption from one of these countries, please see the following international adoption process.
The first step in completing an international adoption from a Hague Convention country is to choose an accredited adoption service provider or (ASP)
In order to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country, you must be found eligible to adopt within the United States. The form, I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, needs to be completed and properly filed.
The child referral is probably one of the most exciting moments in the international adoption journey. Once found eligible to adopt, your ASP will send your I-800A along with your adoption home study to the foreign country's central adoption authority. They will then review the information and determine if you are eligible to adopt under their country's law.
If found eligible, the country will send an Article 16 report, which is an official report on a child's psychological, social, and medical history.
Once you have accepted the adoption referral, you must apply for the approval to adopt the child via form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.
Once this is submitted, your ASP or you must submit a visa application to a Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The form I-800 will also be reviewed again by the foreign country.
Convention country international adoptions must not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody of the child for the purpose of adoption until the Department issues the Hague Adoption Convention Article 5 letter.
The above steps must be completed before moving forward with the finalization of the international adoption. This process will vary from country to country.
Submit visa application form DS-230 to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Check with your ASP if form DS-156 is required for a non immigrant visa application instead. Also, check with your ASP for the required documents needed.
Once the international adoption is complete or you have obtained legal custody of the child for adoption or emigration, it is time apply for a few more documents needed before travel:
- birth certificate if applicable
- child's passport (the child is not a U.S. citizen so it will be a passport from his or her country of origin)
- immigrant visa
After review of the visa application, the consular officer will send the convention country's Central Authority notification or Article 5 letter that states you are suitable adoptive parents and the child is able to enter and live in the United States.
Once you have the Article 5 letter you may complete the international adoption of the child.
The Convention country will issue an Article 23 Certificate. It may be an adoption or custody decree and may be sent directly to the consular officer at the Embassy or Consulate.
The Embassy or Consulate will schedule the final visa interview. The child must appear before the officer if the child did not do so at the initial visa application review. Be prepared to present the valid adoption or custody decree.
At this final interview the consular officer issues you a Hague Certificate to certify that the international adoption meets the Convention requirements, as well as final approval of the I-800 petition and will issue your new child a IH-3 or IH-4 visa.