IR-3 Visa (Children Adopted Abroad)

The IR-3 Visa is for children of US citizens who have been adopted abroad and settling in the United States with their families. This visa is a Family-Based Green Card that benefits from having no yearly cap to the amount issued per year.

If you are a US Citizen who is interested in adopting a child abroad, contact us at +1 844 290 6312 for immediate help & assistance with the IR-3 Visa/Green Card. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone or online.

    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    What is the IR3 Visa?

    The IR3 Visa is a family-based green card that falls into the immediate preference category. Due to this classification, green cards are not subject to a yearly visa cap and can therefore be processed upon application approval. They do not have to wait for a priority date to become current.

    The IR-3 Visa is specifically for children of US citizens who were adopted from a country abroad. After the adoption procedure has been completed, US parents can then begin the application for the IR-3 visa which will allow children to travel to the US under a green card where they will live with their new families. Furthermore, this green card will allow the children to live, study and eventually work in the United States.

    EXCELLENT
    Immigration Advice Service 4.7 rating 414 reviews
    Reviews.io Logo

    What are the Requirements for an IR-3 Visa?

    The U.S. government recognizes adoptions from Hague Convention countries and Non-Hague convention countries. For both types of adoption, there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled in order to receive an IR-3 Visa. These include the following:

    • The child must be less than 21 years of age
    • The child must be from a Hague convention country or Non-Hague convention country
    • The child must be eligible for adoption based on the US Immigration and Nationality Act
    • The US citizen parent(s) must plan to bring the child to the US to reside with them
    • The US citizen(s) must have a valid US address
    • The parent must consent to an eligibility test by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

    It should be noted that the IR-3 Visa is best suited for those families who have recently adopted children from abroad. Families who have adopted a child and lived with them for at least two years outside of the US may be eligible to apply for the IR-2 Visa (Children’s Green Card).

    What is the Hague Adoption Convention?

    The US government recognizes two types of foreign adoption which are Hague country convention adoptions and Non-Hague country adoptions. These types of adoptions will depend on what country the child was adopted from.

    The Hague Adoption Convention was created in 1993 and specifies the rules and regulations about adoption from one country to another. As a result of this convention, adoption procedures will differ if a US citizen adopts from a Hague convention country or from a Non-Hague convention country.

    toddler sleeping

    Hague Country Convention Application Process

    If a US citizen chooses to adopt a child from abroad, they must first research and choose their preferred Adoption Service Provider. This provider must be approved and accredited by U.S. authorities in order to ensure that both your and the adoption provider are within the applicable laws and regulations.

    After you have chosen an Adoption Service Provider, you must then complete Form I-800A (Determination on Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country) and send it to the  USCIS for approval. In addition to filing this form, you will be asked to complete a background and fingerprint check and a home study.

    USCIS will use this information to determine the number of children you can adopt, the age range of the children you can adopt within, and if you can adopt a child with special needs. If approved, you will be eligible to adopt a child abroad from a Hague Convention Country.

    After you have been approved to adopt from abroad, the prospective parent(s) will then need to apply to adopt a child from their preferred Hague Convention Country. Authorities in the preferred adoption country will review the documents you have submitted along with USCIS’s approval to adopt and try to find an eligible child to adopt.

    Normally this is done by adoption authorities of that particular country sending prospective parent(s) referral documents about the child. These documents will detail the background of the child, their family history, medical history, and any other special needs that are deemed important. The files on each child should also contain documents that provide the signed consent by the necessary parties such as the adoption center, biological parent(s), etc.

    It should be noted that this process and the requirements for adoption are different in each country. Therefore, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the process, procedures, and necessary requirements of the particular country from which you are looking to adopt.

    Petition Stage for adoption in a Hague Convention Country

    When you have found a child that you wish to adopt, the USS Citizen parent will then need to complete Form I-800 (Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee and an Immediate Relative).

    Once this petition is approved, you will then be asked to complete Form DS-260 (Online Immigrant Visa Application) and submit it to the US Embassy or Consulate in the country from which you are applying. This form is completed and submitted online, so it is important that you print out the confirmation page upon completion and save it because you will be asked to include it in your visa portfolio of evidence.

    After Form DS-260 has been submitted, the country from which you are adopting will then issue the Article 5/17 Letter. This letter establishes that the child is eligible to immigrate to the US. When the letter has been received, you will then be able to obtain an adoption or guardianship order.

    After you have been granted an adoption or guardianship order, you can then continue with the IR3 visa application. To do this, you must submit documents such as the child’s birth certificate, passport, and other relevant supporting documents. After these documents have been submitted, you must attend an immigration interview at your local US Embassy or Consulate. At this interview, you will be asked to submit various documents, including your final adoption or guardianship order.

    little hand in big hand

    Non-Hague Convention Application Process

    If you are looking to adopt a child from a Non-Hague Convention country, the procedures will be different.  First, the prospective parent(s) must choose their preferred adoption center in the country from which they want to adopt. Once they have chosen an adoption center, they will then need to complete Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition) and submit it to the USCIS.

    In addition to filing this form, you will be asked to complete a background and fingerprint check as well as a home study to determine if you are a suitable candidate to adopt a child.

    If the application is approved, you can then obtain an adoption or guardianship order from the country from which you are planning to adopt. After you have received the order and matched with a child that you wish to adopt, you will then need to complete Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) and submit it to USCIS.

    This form will determine whether or not the child is eligible for adoption under US law. In order to do this, you will need to attach supporting documents which may include the following:

    • Child’s birth certificate or a written explanation concerning the child’s date of birth and age
    • Evidence that the child does not have 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

    After Form I-600 and all of the supporting documents have been submitted, USCIS or the consular officer in the country from which you are applying will complete Form I-604. If this form is approved, your application will then be transferred over to the National Visa Center (NVC) which will then send information to you on what the next steps will be.

    Usually, these next steps will include asking you to complete Form DS-260 (Online Immigrant Visa Application) and later attend an immigration interview which will take place at your local US Embassy or Consulate. At the interview, it is important to make sure that you bring the necessary required documents for both the visa application and information regarding the child’s adoption.

    What are the fees for an IR-3 Visa?

    The cost of fees associated with the IR-3 Visa will vary and depend on a number of factors such as what country you are adopting out of and if your adoption is through a Hague Convention Country or Non-Hague Convention. Overall, you will most likely encounter the following application fees:

    • Form I-800A and Form I-800 filing fees (for Hague Convention countries): $775
    • Form DS-260 processing fees: $445
    • Form I-600A and Form I-600 filing fees (For Non-Hague Convention countries): $775
    • Translation fees: costs will vary
    • Fees to obtain supporting documents: costs will vary
    • Medical exam and required vaccinations: costs will vary

    It should be noted that children who enter the United States under the Orphan (Non-Hague) or Hague adoption programs do not need to pay the USCIS immigrant fee.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for a Children's Visa. Contact us

      Request a call back from our immigration experts

      parent throwing child into air

      Processing time for an IR-3 Visa

      The processing time for an IR-3 visa will vary depending on what the process and procedures of adopting a child are in the country you are looking to adopt from. Overall, the process usually takes anywhere from 6 months to a year. Consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who can give you a better idea of how much time to expect in adopting a child from abroad.

      Advice Package icon

      Advice Package

      Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.

      Application Package icon

      Application Package

      Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.

      Fast Track Package icon

      Fast Track Package

      Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.

      Appeal Package icon

      Appeal Package

      Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.

      Advice Package image

      The Advice Package

      During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

        Request a call back from our immigration experts

        Request the Advice Package
        Application Package image

        The Application Package

        With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

          Request a call back from our immigration experts

          Request the Application Package
          Fast Track Package image

          The Fast Track Package

          Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.

            Request a call back from our immigration experts

            Request the Fast Track Package
            Appeal Package image

            The Appeal Package

            By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

              Request a call back from our immigration experts

              Request the Appeal Package

              If you wish to find out how you can settle in the US with your family, our team is happy to assist. Learn more

                Request a call back from our immigration experts

                Related pages for your continued reading.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                Albania Cote d’Ivoire Guyana Malta San Marino
                Andorra Costa Rica Haiti Mauritius Senegal
                Armenia Croatia Honduras Mexico Serbia
                Australia Cuba Hungary Moldova Seychelles
                Austria Cyprus Iceland Monaco Slovakia
                Azerbaijan Czech Republic India Mongolia Slovenia
                Belarus Denmark Ireland Montenegro South Africa
                Belgium Dominican Republic Israel Namibia Spain
                Belize Ecuador Italy Netherlands Sri Lanka
                Bolivia El Salvador Kazakhstan New Zealand Swaziland
                Brazil Estonia

                Eswatini

                Kenya Norway Sweden
                Bulgaria Fiji Kyrgyzstan Panama Switzerland
                Burkina Faso Finland Latvia Paraguay Thailand
                Burundi France Lesotho Peru Togo
                Cambodia Georgia Liechtenstein Philippines Turkey
                Canada Germany Lithuania Poland United Kingdom
                Cape Verde Ghana Luxembourg Portugal Uruguay
                Chile Greece Macedonia Republic of the Congo Venezuela
                China and Hong Kong Guatemala Madagascar Romania Vietnam
                Colombia Guinea Mali Rwanda Zambia

                It should be noted that some countries will not adopt to the United States for political reasons. To find out if you are eligible to adopt from a certain country, please consult with an immigration lawyer.

                Children who enter the United States under an IR3 visa will automatically gain citizenship if they enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident prior to their 18th birthday and live in the United States in the legal and physical custody of their American citizen parent.

                If you have been living abroad with your child for at least 2 years, your child will now be eligible for an IR-2 (Children’s Green Card). This is a much easier process and provides the child with automatic U.S. citizenship when they enter the country.

                Children are expected to be able to sit still enough to take a picture but other than that, no other biometric data will be needed including fingerprints. However, the petitioner(s) of the child will need to provide biometrics.