USA and the UK
What do I Need to Know About the IR-4 Visa?
The IR-4 Visa enables a U.S. citizen to complete an adoption application in the United States. This makes the IR-4 Visa application process simpler in comparison to the other U.S. adoption visa, the IR-3 Visa.
If the adoption application is accepted, the child can remain in the United States and enjoy the full benefits of being a Green Card holder. They will be able to attend school, and obtain employment without the need to hold an Employment Authorisation Document.
After five years of legal residence in the United States as an IR-4 Green Card holder, the child will be eligible to apply for citizenship.
One of the benefits of the IR-4 Visa is the fact that there aren’t any limits imposed on the number of people who can receive one. This means that IR-4 Visa applicants will enjoy much quicker processing times than those who apply for a Preference Relative visa.
What are the Requirements for an IR-4 Visa?
There are certain requirements which the parent and child need to be able to meet in order to be eligible for the IR-4 Visa Green Card.
These requirements are as follows:
- The child must be unmarried and under 21-years-old
- The child must be from a Hague or Non-Hague convention country
- The child must meet the adoption criteria from the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- The U.S. citizen/s must be willing to obtain guardianship of the child in the foreign country and then adopt in the U.S.
- The U.S. citizen/s must have a valid U.S. address
- The U.S. citizen/s must pass an eligibility test by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
There are two routes towards adopting a child as a U.S. citizen: Hague country convention adoption and Non-Hague country adoption.
What is the Hague Adoption Convention?
The Hague Adoption Convention, established in 1993, specifies the rules and regulations around intercountry adoption.
The adoption procedure is different depending on whether the U.S. citizen adopts from a Hague convention country, or from a non-Hague convention country.
Hague Country Convention Application
If a U.S. citizen wishes to adopt through this route, they must choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider in the foreign country from which they want to adopt.
Once this has been chosen, the U.S. citizen will need to complete Form I-800A (Determination on Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country) and submit it to USCIS. The USICS will perform a background check on the U.S. citizen to determine whether they are suitable to adopt a child.
The next step is for the U.S. citizen to apply to be matched with a child in their preferred Hague Convention country. As part of this process, you will need to submit certain documents to be reviewed.
When the authorities of your chosen country have received USCIS approval for the adoption, your chosen Hague Convention country will send the U.S. citizen details of children to whom they can adopt.
The U.S. citizen will then need to complete form I-800 (Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative) and submit it to the USCIS. If approved, the child will be eligible to be considered for an IR-4 Visa.
The next step is to submit Form DS-260 (Online Immigrant Visa Application) to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country from which the child is being adopted. This form will require you to fill in information about the child’s background as well as certain other details.
How do I Get a Guardianship Order With a Hague Country Adoption?
If all the forms have been completed to the appropriate standard, the U.S. embassy or consulate will issue a letter called Article 5/17 Letter.
Once this letter has been received, you will be permitted to get a guardianship order for the child to immigrate to the United States.
The U.S. citizen will then need to submit a number of supporting documents to the U.S. embassy or consulate, including the child’s passport, birth certificate and medical documents.
You will also need to schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy where you will submit your final guardianship order to officials.
The interviewer will decide whether to give the child the IR-4 Visa Green Card and allow the U.S. citizen to go ahead with the adoption.
Non-Hague Convention Application
The application process is different for U.S. citizens who wish to adopt from a non-Hague country.
First, the U.S. citizen needs to choose an adoption center in the country where they wish to adopt the child.
Once the U.S. citizen has chosen the country, they will need to complete Form I-600A (Application for Advanced Processing of an Orphan Petition) and submit it to the USCIS. A background check will be conducted on the U.S. citizen, just like with form I-800.
When this has been completed, the U.S. citizen will need to obtain a guardianship order from the country from which they hope to adopt the child from. This will require the U.S. citizen to meet the particular requirements around adoption for that country.
Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) will then need to be completed and submitted to the USCIS. The USCIS will determine whether the child that the U.S. citizen wishes to adopt is eligible for immigration the U.S.
What are the Required Documents for a Non-Hague Adoption Application?
Certain documents will need to be provided with the petition, including:
- The child’s birth certificate (or written explanation about the age of the child, if birth certificate not available)
- Evidence that the child does not have biological parents, or that they are unable to provide proper care to the child
- Evidence that you have obtained a guardianship order
If the petition is accepted, the USCIS or consular officer in the country the applicant is adopting from will complete Form I-604. If the form is approved, the NVC will notify the U.S. citizen of the next steps to take.
Form DS-260 (Online Immigrant Visa) will need to be completed after approval from the NVC. This is the standard form which most U.S. immigration applications require.
Once this has been submitted, the applicant will need to schedule an interview to provide all the documents for the child’s adoption. The interviewer will decide whether to permit the child to travel to the United States on an IR-4 Visa.
When the child arrives in the United States, the adoptee’s family must follow other procedures to complete the adoption procedure.
What are the fees for an IR-4 Visa Green Card?
There are a number of costs to bear in mind with any IR-4 Visa application. The overall cost will depend on a number of factors, including the country from which the adoption is taking place.
The fees that will apply include:
- Form I-800 fee
- Form I-800a fee
- Form DS-260 fee
- Form I-600A fee
- Form I-600 fee
- Any translation fees
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The IR-4 Visa is an Immediate Relative category Green Card, which means there are no annual caps imposed on the number of people who can receive an IR-4 Visa in a given year. Consequently, the waiting time for an IR-4 Visa decision will be far less than those applying for a Preference Relative Green Card.
However, there is no specific timeframe around the processing of the IR-4 Visa Green Card.
The processing times will vary depending on the country from which you are adopting, and if there are any problems with your application (including the submission of documents), this will delay the procedure.
The general guidelines are that you should receive a decision within 6-12 months.
|Azerbaijan||Czech Republic||Israel||Namibia||Sri Lanka|
|Belgium||Dominican Republic||Kazakhstan||New Zealand||Sweden|
|Burkina Faso||Finland||Liechtenstein||Philippines||United Kingdom|
American citizens are not able to adopt children from the countries in bold.
The IR-4 Visa grants the adopted child with legal residence in the United States as a Green Card holder. After five years of permanent residence, the adopted child will be eligible to apply for U.S citizenship, provided they can fulfil the full requirements.