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What visas are needed for kids adopted internationally?

The process of international adoption is intricately complex, because prospective parents must satisfy not just the laws of the United States but also the laws of the child's country of origin. But one thing is certain — to bring an adopted child to America from another country requires meticulous documentation.

Simply to enter the country, the child will need to have an immigrant visa issued by the State Department. This must be obtained either at the Consulate or Embassy in your child's home country. This is the first step in the citizenship process for your adopted youngster, so it's important that all paperwork is promptly and properly filed.

There are different types of visas that are required depending upon the geographical origins of the child's home country.

Below are the types of visas needed for Hague Adoptions:

-- IH-3 visas: These visas are obtained for children whose adoptions have been fully finalized from countries that are members of The Hague Convention.

-- IH-4 visa: Adoptive children will need this kind of visa if they are arriving from any country that is a member of The Hague Convention, but the adoptions have not yet been finalized.

When the adoptions involve orphans who originate from non-Hague countries, they require different types of visas:

-- IR-3 visa: These are issued to children from non-Hague countries only if the adoptions have already been finalized abroad. The unmarried adoptive parent, or at least one of the parents in a two-parent adoption, must have already physically seen the child at some point for her or him to qualify for an IR-3 visa.

-- IR-4 visa: Issued to a child that: is coming to the United States to be adopted, was adopted abroad by only one parent (if married), or was not seen by the parent(s) prior to or during the adoption.

Visa types for Other Adopted Children:

IR-2 visa: These are issued when children are adopted and emigrates to America before they turn 21 or marry; or if they have already turned 21, but come under the provisions of the Child Status Protection Act.

Because this is a matter that requires great diplomacy and finesse, it is advisable to seek professional guidance from those with experience dealing with international adoptions.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Before Your Child Immigrates to the United States," accessed Oct. 28, 2016

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