IR4 Visa for Children Adopted in the U.S

The IR4 Visa is designed for children who are in the midst of a foreign adoption process. This IR-4 Visa is similar to the IR-3 Visa but allows the child to enter and live in the United States before the adoption process has been completed.

Call us on +1 844 290 6312 for immediate help & assistance with the IR-4 Visa/Green Card. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone or via live chat.

    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    What is the IR-4 Visa?

    If a US citizen wants to go abroad to adopt a child but returns to the United States before the adoption application is finalized and completed, they can apply for an IR-4 Visa. Under this visa, the U.S. citizen will need to complete the adoption process of the child in a foreign country and obtain guardianship of the child. After that, they can then bring the child to the United States where they will await the formal approval of the adoption.

    If the adoption is approved, the child will remain in the United States as a green cardholder. They are free to live with their new family, attend school and one day, work without needing an Employment Authorization Document. After five years of continuous living in the United States, the child will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

    Unlike the IR-3 visa, which allows children to complete the foreign adoption process abroad before coming to the U.S., children under an IR-4 visa are allowed entry to the U.S. while awaiting the lengthy process of their foreign adoption to be formally approved.

    The IR-4 Visa is a family-based green card that falls under the Immediate Relative category meaning that there are no yearly limits to the number of visas issued and therefore are quicker to process than Preference Relative visas.

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

    What are the Requirements for an IR-4 Visa?

    In order to apply for an IR-4 Visa, both the prospective parent and child must meet the following requirements to be eligible:

    • 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)
    • The U.S. citizens must have plans to bring the child to live in the U.S.

    If the U.S. citizen has completed the adoption process and would like to return home to the U.S. with their child, they can apply for an IR-3 visa (Green card for children adopted abroad). If the U.S. citizen has adopted a child and lived with them for at least 2 years abroad, they can apply for an IR-2 visa (Children’s Green Card). The IR-2 Visa will automatically grant U.S. citizenship to the child once they enter the United States.

    What is the Hague Adoption Convention?

    The two types of foreign adoptions recognized by the U.S. government are Hague country convention adoptions and non-Hague country convention adoptions. The type of foreign adoption process a prospective parent will have to undergo will depend on the foreign country they are adopting from.

    The Hague Adoption Convention was signed in 1993 and specifies the rules and regulations about child adoptions from one country to another.

    children playing with blocks on the floor

    What is the Application Process for Adopting from a Hague Convention Country?

    If you are adopting from a Hague Convention country, you must first choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider in the foreign country from which you are seeking to adopt.

    Once you have chosen an approved adoption provider, the U.S. citizen must then complete Form I-800A (Determination on Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country). This form must be submitted to the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS). The USCIS will then perform a background check, a fingerprint check, and a home study on the U.S. citizen prospective parent and determine if they are a suitable candidate to adopt a child. If you are found to be suitable, the USCIS will send you recommendations on the age range of the child you should adopt, the number of children you are allowed to adopt, and whether or not you are eligible to adopt a child with special needs.

    After you are approved by the USCIS, you can then start to match with a child from your preferred Hague Convention country. To do this, 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.

    Once the prospective parent has matched with a child, 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. This form is used to make sure that the child is eligible to immigrate to the United States. If approved, the child will then be eligible to apply for an IR-4 Visa.

    After all of the forms have been approved, you will then be instructed to complete Form DS-260 (Online Immigrant Visa Application). This form is completed online and requires you to provide background information as well as other detail about the child. After you complete the form, you will then need to submit it to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country from which the child is adopted. Make sure to print out the confirmation page and number of the DS-260 online form as you will need to provide it in your IR-4 visa application later.

    When the U.S. Embassy or Consulate has received all of your documents, they will then issue an 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 IR4 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.

    Once you have received your IR-4 visa, you can then travel to the U.S. with your child and continue the adoption process from within the United States.

    What is the Application Process for Adopting from a Non-Hague Convention Country?

    If a U.S. citizen wants to adopt from a non-Hague Convention country, the adoption application process will be different.

    First, the prospective parent(s) must choose their preferred adoption center in the country from which they want to adopt. You can choose whichever adoption center you are most comfortable with but it is recommended to choose an adoption center from a list of centers approved by the United States.

    Once an adoption center is chosen, the U.S. citizen 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. To do this, the prospective parent must meet the particular requirements around adoption for that country.

    After you have received the guardianship order and have 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 (if a birth certificate is not available)
    • 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 and complete the adoption procedures once the child arrives in the United States

    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 U.S. Embassy or Consulate. At the interview, it is important to ensure you bring the necessary documents for both the visa application and information regarding the child’s adoption.

    Once you have received your IR-4 visa, you can travel to the U.S. with your child and continue the adoption process from within the United States.

    What are the Fees for an IR-4 Visa Green Card?

    The cost of fees associated with the IR-4 Visa is once again similar to the cost of fees for an IR-3 visa. Of course, the cost associated with this 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.

    What is the IR-4 visa processing time?

    The time it takes to receive an IR-4 Visa will usually depend on the length of time it takes for the prospective parent to gain guardianship of the child from the foreign country. Of course, this will vary depending on the country from which the child is adopted.

    It is estimated that the IR-4 Visa will take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year to process. Once the parent and child are in the United States, the U.S. citizen parent must follow other procedures to complete the adoption as per U.S. laws and regulations.

    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

      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 U.S. with your child, 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

                Currently, there are 101 countries listed on the Hague Adoption Convention which are listed on the travel.state.gov website.

                It should be noted that there are some countries that do not allow foreign adoption to the United States for political reasons. To find out if you are eligible as an American citizen to adopt from a certain country, consult an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in foreign adoption.

                Children who enter the U.S. under an IR-4 visa will be granted a green card which will allow them to live, study and enjoy all the other privileges of having permanent residence status.

                After 5 years of continuous residence in the United States, they are eligible to apply for citizenship and can begin the naturalization process if they choose.

                If you are adopting a child from a Non-Hague Convention country, you will need to do thorough research to determine if the adoption center is approved by the U.S. and consult an immigration attorney who is experienced in handling foreign adoptions.

                For more information about how to research foreign adoption centers, go to the travel.state.gov webpage about Working with an Adoption Service Providers.