While petitioning for family members to immigrate to the US is not always a challenging process, it becomes more so with children who have been adopted. There are many rules and requirements for them to be considered the petitioner’s child, and even more requirements for those who are not US citizens. For lawful permanent residents, they must use the Family-Based Petition process, as opposed to the Hague or Orphan processes. 

This process can be confusing, but our Immigration Lawyers can help fix that. We want to help you get your child back as quickly as possible, without a headache. If you have specific questions about your situation, or concerns, don’t hesitate to call or make an appointment with our team.

What is the Family-Based Petition Process?

The petition itself allows for US citizens or permanent residents to sponsor a family member, spouse, relative, etc. to immigrate to the United States. This process applied to adoptive children as well, as long as the adoption meets certain requirements under the petition. The adoptive child is then considered the petitioner’s child for immigration purposes.

To begin this process, you must file Form I-130, the petition for an alien resident. This form allows citizens and lawful permanent residents to establish their relationship to an alien relative so they can be allowed into the United States. After that, your adoptive child must be established as so under the Family-Based Petition.

Who is an Adopted Child Under the Family-Based Petition Process?

Your adoptive child will be considered your child for the length of the immigration process given certain stipulations:

  • That you adopted your child before their 16th birthday, and provide proof of their full adoption
  • That you have legal custody and have resided with your child for at least two years while they were under the age of 21 (this period may precede the adoption, and does not need to be continuous)
  • That you gain legal custody from a court order or a government body
  • If your child was adopted from a Hague country, you must prove that the Hague Adoption Convention does not apply to them.

If they are over 16, but under 18, your child may still be considered to be adopted under the process if they are the biological sibling of another adopted child in your family who is under the age of 16 during the petition process.

What is the Hague Adoption Conventions?

The Hague convention was created in 2008 to protect children and their families from illegal or premature international adoption, and over 90 countries have become members since then. But what does this have to do with your adopted child?

Well, For US citizens who are looking to have their adopted child immigrate to the United States, they are required to use the Hague Process if the adoption occurred in a Hague country. However, lawful permanent residents are not permitted to use this process. But, if it is established that the Hague Adoption Convention does not apply to the adoption, then your Form I-130 can be approved anyway. The convention does not apply if:

  • The adoption of your child occurred before their country of birth became a Hague country
  • If you were not a US citizen at the time of the adoption and therefore could not use the Hague process

How Do I Complete the Family-Based Petition Process?

So, what’s next? You now have to finish filing Form I-130. This document will require all your adoption related information and evidence listed above, as well as proof of your own lawful permanent residence within the country.

To do this you must file your petition with a copy of Form I-551, your permanent residence card. If you have not yet received your card, send copies of your passport’s biographic page, and the page showing your admission as a lawful permanent resident into the country, instead. You may also submit any other evidence of permanent residency issued by the USCIS.

Along with this proof, your petition will be to be accompanied by a filing fee– if you need a fee waiver, see How to request a Fee Waiver before the USCIS?. The USCIS may also request that you appear for an interview or any other identity verification and background checks.

This process may be complex and confusing, but with the help of our immigration lawyer, we will make it as simple as possible. We understand how important your child is to you, and that every step is worth it to get them back. So call today to schedule your appointment with us, and begin the process of reuniting your family.

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