- What is the IR3 Visa?
- What are the Requirements for an IR-3 Visa?
- What is the Hague Adoption Convention?
- Hague Country Convention Application Process
- Petition Stage for adoption in a Hague Convention Country
- Non-Hague Convention Application Process
- What are the fees for an IR-3 Visa?
- Processing time for an IR-3 Visa
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 U.S. citizens who were adopted from a country abroad. After the adoption procedure has been completed, U.S. parents can then begin the application for the IR-3 visa which will allow children to travel to the U.S. 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.
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 U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act
- The U.S. citizen parent(s) must plan to bring the child to the U.S. to reside with them
- The U.S. citizen(s) must have a valid U.S. address
- The parent must consent to an eligibility test by the U.S. 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 2 years outside of the U.S., may be eligible to apply for the IR-2 Visa (Children’s Green Card).
What is the Hague Adoption Convention?
The U.S. 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 U.S. citizen adopts from a Hague convention country or from a Non-Hague convention country.
Hague Country Convention Application Process
If a U.S. 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 United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval. In addition to filing this form, you will be asked to complete a background and fingerprint check as well as a home study.
USCIS will use this information to determine the number of children you can adopt, the age range of the children that you can adopt within, and if you can adopt a child with special needs. If approved, you will then 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 will need to submit documents such as the child’s birth certificate, passport, and any other relevant supporting documents. After these documents have been submitted, you will then need to attend an immigration interview at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. At this interview, you will be asked to submit a variety of documents including your final adoption or guardianship order.
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 U.S. 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) who 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 U.S. 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.
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.
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|Albania||Cote d’Ivoire||Guyana||Malta||San Marino|
|Bolivia||El Salvador||Kazakhstan||New Zealand||Swaziland|
|Chile||Greece||Macedonia||Republic of the Congo||Venezuela|
|China and Hong Kong||Guatemala||Madagascar||Romania||Vietnam|
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.