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IR-3 Visa for Children Adopted Abroad

The IR-3 Visa is a Family Based Green Card which falls under the Immediate Relative category.

The IR-3 Visa differs to the IR-4 Visa in that it is specifically for children who were adopted outside of the U.S..

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    What do I Need to Know About the IR3 Visa?

    The IR-3 Visa is available to adopted children of U.S. citizens who were adopted in the child’s home country. This Immediate Relative visa enables the adopted child to live in the United States as a Green Card holder.

    As an IR-3 visa holder, the child will be able to live in the U.S. and attend school. They will also be able to enter into higher education and obtain employment.

    The U.S. government recognises two forms of adoption: Hague country convention adoptions and Non-Hague country adoptions.

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    What are the Requirements for an IR-3 Visa?

    For both forms of adoption, there are certain requirements which must be fulfilled. These requirements are as follows:

    • The child must be less than 21-years-old
    • The child must be eligible for adoption based on the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act
    • The U.S. citizen parent must plan to bring the child to the U.S. to reside with them
    • The U.S. citizen must have a valid U.S. address
    • The parent must consent to an eligibility test by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

    If the child has already been adopted by the U.S. citizen and they have lived together for at least two years in a foreign country, they will be eligible to go down the less complicated route of the IR-2 Visa, rather than the IR-3.

    What is the Hague Adoption Convention?

    The Hague Adoption Convention specifies the rules and regulations around intercountry adoption. The adoption procedure can differ depending on whether the U.S. citizen adopts from a Hague convention country or from a non-Hague convention country.

    Hague Country Convention Application Process

    The U.S. prospective parent first begins the process by choosing their preferred Adoption Service Provider, which must be approved by U.S. authorities.

    The next step is to complete Form I-800A (Determination on Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country).  This will need to be sent to the USCIS for approval.

    The I-800A form is comprehensive and includes a full background check in which fingerprints will need to be provided.

    The prospective parent needs to then apply to adopt a child in their preferred Hague Convention Country. The authorities in the adoption country will consider the application and find a child who is suitable for the U.S. citizen to adopt.

    Keep in mind that each Hague country will have different requirements regarding the adoption of a child. Therefore, it is crucial that you establish the requirements particular to the country from which the child is being adopted from.

    Once this has been done, referral documents will be sent to the U.S. citizen which detail the background, family and medical history of the child as well as other important information.

    Petition Stage

    When this information has been received, the U.S. citizen will need to petition for permission for their child to be given immigration permission.

    For this, the U.S. citizen will need to complete Form I-800 (Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative). One of the key elements of this petition is proving that you have not already received permission to adopt a child.

    If the petition is accepted, the next step is to complete Form DS-260 (Online Immigrant Visa Application). This form needs to be submitted to a U.S. embassy or consulate in the country from which you are adopting the child.

    A letter which confirms the submission of Form DS-260 will need to be obtained as it will form part of your portfolio of evidence.

    Once all of these steps have been completed, the country from which you are adopting will issue the Article 5/17 Letter. When this letter has been received, you will be able to obtain an adoption or guardianship order.

    You will then need to submit supporting documents once all the steps above have been completed. Some of the documents which need to be provided include the birth certificate and passport of the child.

    The final stage of the process is the interview, which is a part of every U.S. immigration application. The interviewer will ask a series of questions about the application. It is vital that you provide all the key documents which formed the application, including the final adoption or guardianship order.

    Whether the child is permitted entry into the United States or not is purely at the discretion of the interviewer.

    Non-Hague Convention Application

    A Non-Hague Convention adoption follows a slightly different procedure.

    To begin with, the U.S. citizen needs to choose their preferred adoption center in the country in which they want to adopt the child. They will need to complete Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition) and submit it to USCIS.

    The USCIS will conduct a background check and a home study of the U.S. citizen to determine whether they qualify as a suitable candidate to adopt children.

    If the application is approved, you can then obtain an adoption or guardianship order from the country which you are adopting the child from.

    Once you have received the order, you must then complete Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) to the USCIS.

    You will need to attach certain documents to the petition, including:

    • Child’s birth certificate or a written explanation concerning the child’s date of birth and age
    • Evidence that the child does not parents, or that the biological parents are incapable of providing proper care and have consented for their child to be adopted
    • Evidence of your intention to adopt the child

    Once you have submitted the application, you will have to wait for the USCIS or a consular officer in the country you are applying from to complete Form I-604. If this form is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will send you information regarding the next steps you need to take.

    You will need to complete Form DS-260 (Online Immigrant Visa Application) at this stage. Once this has been submitted, you will need to attend an immigration interview which will take place at a U.S. embassy.

    For full information and guidance on the IR-3 Visa application process, please get in touch now Contact Us

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                A key part of the whole application process for any immigration application is the portfolio of evidence. In any U.S. immigration application, you need to provide certain documents to prove that you meet the requirements.

                The specific documents which you need to provide will depend on your particular circumstances.

                Still, the following documents will need to be provided in the majority of IR-3 Visa applications:

                • Child’s birth certificate or a written explanation concerning the child’s date of birth and age
                • Evidence that the child does not parents, or that the biological parents are incapable of providing proper care and have consented for their child to be adopted
                • Evidence of your intention to adopt the child

                Any IR-3 Visa applicant needs to take into account many costs, including:

                • Form I-800A
                • Form I-800
                • Form DS-260
                • Form I-600A
                • Form I-600
                • Cost of any translation of documents
                • Fees to obtain supporting documents

                Albania Cote d’Ivoire Haiti Mexico Seychelles
                Andorra Costa Rica Hungary Moldova Slovakia
                Armenia Croatia Iceland Monaco Slovenia
                Australia Cuba India Mongolia South Africa
                Austria Cyprus Ireland Montenegro Spain
                Azerbaijan Czech Republic Israel Namibia Sri Lanka
                Belarus Denmark Italy Netherlands Swaziland
                Belgium Dominican Republic Kazakhstan New Zealand Sweden
                Belize Ecuador Kenya Norway Switzerland
                Bolivia El Salvador Kyrgyzstan Panama Thailand
                Brazil Estonia Latvia Paraguay Togo
                Bulgaria Fiji Lesotho Peru Turkey
                Burkina Faso Finland Liechtenstein Philippines United Kingdom
                Burundi France Lithuania Poland Uruguay
                Cambodia Georgia Luxembourg Portugal Venezuela
                Canada Germany North Macedonia Romania Vietnam
                Cape Verde Ghana Madagascar Rwanda Zambia
                Chile Greece Mali San Marino
                China Guatemala Malta Senegal
                Colombia Guinea Mauritius Serbia

                American citizens are not able to adopt children from the countries in bold.